I am a flight attendant and this news outrages me: the Transportation Security Administration just announced rollbacks of security rules -- allowing pocket knives to be carried on US planes, starting April 25. This policy would affect the safety and well-being of FLIGHT CREWS and PASSENGERS.
This decision must be reversed to protect EVERYONE. Unions representing flight attendants and pilots and passenger rights groups are speaking out against this. A flight attendants union with Southwest Airlines called the new policy "dangerous" and "shortsighted," saying it was designed to make "the lives of TSA staff easier, but not make flights safer."
Veda Shook, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, told the Wall Street Journal: "This is a step back in time by allowing weapons on-board aircraft." In addition to being a potential weapon for terrorists, she said, "if someone gets inebriated on board, then these knives can be wielded as a weapon."
Gregg Overman, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Assn., the union that represents pilots from American Airlines, told the Los Angeles Times that the announcement caught him by surprise. "It represents a significant step backward in security."
And check out this comment that was just posted on my petition by K Leeder:
“this is so sickening and unacceptable. One of my dear friends, had her throat slit with a knife on flight 93!! How dare you put all us flight attendants back into danger by allowing knives back on the airplanes??? This is despicable that you would do this..it will make our airplanes less safe, and we want to have you reconsider this and throw it out. NO KNIVES and or any other weapons needed!!! PLEASE!”
Knives do NOT belong on planes! Tell the TSA: Protect your fellow Americans, do the right thing and get rid of this policy!
A USA Today article cites Kip Hawley, the former head of TSA under President George W. Bush, as stating that reinforced cockpit doors are a reason to allow the transportation of such weaponry in our aircraft.
Since the tragic events on September 11, 2011, a federal program has been implemented allowing flight crews (pilots) to carry arms while fortified behind the supposedly bulletproof cockpit door. Most would agree that this is in the best interest of safe operation of an aircraft in-flight. However, the proposed relaxation regarding pocket knives on board aircraft is detrimental to cabin crews who are the first line of defense in preventing a threat to the cockpit, but have no protection for themselves should a threat arise. We ask, what will be done to protect cabin crews (flight attendants) or other passengers in the event of an altercation with an irate passenger or potential terrorist? Will we be allowed to arm ourselves? I surmise not.
Cabin crews encounter personalities of all types and are equipped to communicate and reason with all of them, including potential threats to the safe operation of an aircraft. THAT is without weapons! Now, imagine if that same potential threat were armed with any sharp object. Not only are passengers in danger, but if flight attendants become casualties, what is preventing that threat from gaining access to the flight crew? A reinforced door and your desire to align our policies with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) policy is simply not enough to justify your reasoning for this outrageous change in policy.
The TSA has scrutinized many different items passengers attempt to carry on board aircraft for years, yet policies allow for the transportation of knitting needles, scissors, and screw drivers, to name a few. You won't allow a yogurt or an orange juice through, but a knife you will? Your job at the TSA is to protect American lives. To many, this is a backward way of thinking and goes against the very ideals that created the Transportation Security Administration, and thus diminishes the effectiveness of this agency to prevent terror. Need you be reminded that hijackers on board those perilous flights on September 11, were able to gain access because they eliminated the cabin crew with similar type weapons?
Flight attendants and their unions have lambasted your decision, are shocked that your "Risk-based assessment" is reason enough to implement this dangerous change in policy. We urge you and your colleagues to reverse this foolish decision effective immediately, or take precautions to allow flight attendants to protect themselves.