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TSA to Allow Small Pocket Knives on Planes

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

Next month, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will allow small knives on planes.

For the first time since September 11, 2001, travelers will be able to bring small pocket knives aboard airplanes, reports Reuters. This rule change will take effect April 25 and will allow pocket knives with blades measuring 6 centimeters (2.36 inches) or less.

The rule change has outraged many flight attendants who fear the decision will endanger passengers and crew. Besides small knives, the TSA also will allow several other previously banned items aboard airplanes.

Some of the items that will soon be allowed as carry-ons include:

  • Small pocket knives with non-locking blades,

  • Small novelty bats and toy bats,

  • Ski poles,

  • Hockey sticks,

  • Lacrosse sticks,

  • Billiard cues, amd

  • Golf clubs.

Some small items like razor blades and box cutters, however, will still be prohibited as carry-ons, reports Reuters.

It may seem strange for the TSA to relax its rules regarding small knives, especially when it is hard to imagine a concerted effort by lobbyists pushing to allow small blades on airplanes.

But it appears the impetus behind the rule change is to make U.S. regulations conform to international standards. International travelers have long had to deal with contradictory and confusing standards, making it difficult to know what they can carry from country to country.

In addition, a TSA spokesperson says that the rule change will allow screeners to concentrate their efforts on higher-threat items like explosives.

What Happens If You Have a Prohibited Item?

If you have a larger knife or a full-sized bat, you are still prohibited from carrying it onto your flight. In these cases, you typically have several options, according to the TSA:

  • Place the item in your checked baggage;

  • Use the airport post office and mail the item;

  • Leave the item in your car, if your car is parked at the airport; or

  • Give it to a friend or family member who's seeing you off.

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