"The new policy, announced yesterday by the head of the US Transportation Security Administration, is intended to conform with international standards. He said the presence on flights of gun-carrying pilots travelling as passengers, federal air marshals and airline crew members trained in self-defence provide additional layers of security. The new policy permits folding knives with blades that are 2.36ins or less and are less than 1/2-inch wide.
It is aimed at allowing passengers to carry penknives, corkscrews with small blades and other knives.
Passengers will also be allowed to bring onboard as part of their carry-on luggage novelty-sized baseball bats less than 24ins long, toy plastic bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs. The policy goes into effect on April 25.
Box cutters, razor blades and knives that do not fold or that have moulded grip handles will still be prohibited, the TSA said.
Transport Workers Union Local 556 called the new policy "dangerous" and "short-sighted," saying it was designed to make "the lives of TSA staff easier, but not make flights safer".
"While we agree that a passenger wielding a small knife or swinging a golf club or hockey stick poses less of a threat to the pilot locked in the cockpit, these are real threats to passengers and flight attendants in the passenger cabin."
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