LOS ANGELES (AP) — Flyers reacted with shrugs but largely agreed with a new policy announced by the Transportation Security Administration that airline passengers will be able to carry small knives and previously forbidden sports equipment on planes.
“It’s common sense,” said Pat O’Brien, who stood at Los Angeles International Airport after arriving from Durango, Colo. “You can make anything into a knife so I don’t have a problem with it at all. You can sharpen a credit card to make a sharp implement.”
Aviation security consultant John L. Sullivan agreed with O’Brien, saying a pen or toothbrush can be sharpened like the “shivs” inmates sometimes make in prison.
“There are a lot of things you can use on an airplane if you are intent on hurting someone,” said Sullivan, co-founder of the Welsh-Sullivan Group in Dallas. “Security is never 100 percent.”
The changes announced by the TSA Tuesday take effect April 25. Box cutters, razor blades and knives that don’t fold or that have molded grip handles will still be prohibited.
The new policy also allows for souvenir baseball bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment to be carried on instead of checked, a move that brought a thumbs up from Dean Rhymer, who plays club hockey for the Junior Los Angeles Kings and strode into the terminal at LAX carrying his hockey stick.
“I think it’ll be helpful,” Rhymer said. “It’s easier to carry it on to bring it places.”
Sullivan, speaking as a passenger not a consultant, worried more about the sporting goods than the small knives, saying the “last thing I need is someone getting on a plane taking up valuable space with their pool cues and hockey sticks.”
The new policy conforms U.S. security standards to international standards, and allows TSA to concentrate its energies on more serious safety threats, the agency said in a statement.