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Families of 9/11 victims speak out on revised TSA knife policy

April 14, 2013|By Hugo Martin
  • The Transportation and Security Administration provides charts that show which knives will be accepted on flights starting April 25.
The Transportation and Security Administration provides charts that… (TSA )

The Transportation Security Administration will soon let airline passengers carry small folding knives onto planes for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

But a group of flight attendants are doing everything they can to halt the shift in policy. They have even turned to the families of flight attendants who died in the terrorist attacks to put pressure on the TSA.

Still, the TSA is set on April 25 to allow passengers to bring onboard small folding knives, with blades that are 2.36 inches or shorter in length and are less than 1/2 inch wide, as well as pool cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, golf clubs and novelty-sized bats.

The policy change is intended to give TSA agents more time to focus on bigger threats, such as explosives.

In the past few weeks, the Assn. of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents American Airlines attendants, has sent letters to the TSA and others, voicing opposition to the change.

One letter to TSA chief John Pistole included a message from Mike Low, the father of Sara Elizabeth Low, an American Airlines flight attendant who died on 9/11. He urged Pistole to “please reconsider this terrible decision,” saying it will only increase the risk to passengers and flight crews.

In another letter, Harry Ong Jr. called the new policy “reprehensible.” His sister Betty Ann Ong, an American Airlines flight attendant, also died in the terrorists attacks. Instead of easing TSA screening policies, Ong said the agency should increase enforcement.

“We must maintain our air security vigilance with full force and effect and not let our guard down for one moment,” he said.

A spokesman for the agency said Pistole has not changed his mind.

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