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TSA Decides Against Allowing Small Knives On Aircraft 298

Posted by Soulskill
from the rally-to-restore-insanity dept.
New submitter lemur3 writes "After multiple months of discussing possible changes to the prohibited items list, the Transportation Security Administration in the United States has determined that it is best to go ahead without any changes to the list of items passengers may have in their carry-on baggage when traveling by air. Under the proposed change (discussed previously on Slashdot) pocket knives and other items, such as hockey sticks and ski poles, would have been allowed."
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TSA Decides Against Allowing Small Knives On Aircraft

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  • by cusco (717999) <brian.bixby@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @06:41PM (#43919155)
    I've carried a pocket knife since my dad bought me one for my 8th birthday, not having that weight in that pocket doesn't feel right. Since this foolishness started I've lost at least six to the TSA, since I tend to catch flights too early to be properly awake.. Going on vacation again in a couple of weeks, and I'll probably lose another either on the way there or the way back.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @06:47PM (#43919205)

      While i think the TSA sucks bozack.. you'd think after the 2nd or 3rd time you'd learn how to avoid losing things to them

      • I was about to say the same thing... I've traveled many times since 9/11, and have lost precisely nothing to the TSA. I put my pocketknife and lighter in my checked baggage the night before, and carry a spare lighter I can toss once I get to the airport. (I've got a couple of almost empty disposables stashed for just that purpose.) I've never had a problem finding a light at my destination.

        The problem isn't the TSA, the problem is the grandparent is an idiot who won't take responsibility for his own act

    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @06:53PM (#43919255)

      I always carry a Leatherman Micra. I lost one once, and managed to buy a whole bag of them from those confiscated from an airport. At least one (given to someone) has returned to where it came from.

    • by Etherwalk (681268)

      They should just charge a $5 fee and mail it to you if you don't want it destroyed.

      It is kind of silly, though. Post 911, nobody can take over a plane with a few knives. The only reason to not allow them is that they can result in more injuries on a plane, but that seems so unlikely as to not be terribly persuasive.

      I once walked into a secure federal building with a knife by accident; the guards thought about it and then didn't care. Which is really the right result.

      • by hawguy (1600213)

        They should just charge a $5 fee and mail it to you if you don't want it destroyed.

        It is kind of silly, though. Post 911, nobody can take over a plane with a few knives. The only reason to not allow them is that they can result in more injuries on a plane, but that seems so unlikely as to not be terribly persuasive.

        I once walked into a secure federal building with a knife by accident; the guards thought about it and then didn't care. Which is really the right result.

        I've seen self-service mail kiosks in some airports where you can mail your prohibited items to yourself. You still would have to get back out of the security line to get back to the Kiosk, but if you have something valuable it's probably worth it. So far I've only lost 99 cent nail clippers but I think those are allowed now.

        http://www.engadget.com/2005/05/04/airport-kiosks-let-travelers-mail-off-limits-items/ [engadget.com]

      • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @07:47PM (#43919753) Journal

        Post 911, nobody can take over a plane with a few knives.

        Post 9/11, nobody's ever going to take over a plane again, period. Someone might be able to destroy one, but the days of "just do what the bad man says" are over.

        -jcr

        • by Richy_T (111409)

          I agree. But by that logic we don't need the TSA either so...

          • by hawguy (1600213)

            I agree. But by that logic we don't need the TSA either so...

            I don't follow that logic.

            Just because a passenger won't be able to use a small weapon to coerce the pilot and passengers to let him take over the plane does not mean that TSA can't be useful in preventing someone from taking a bomb or other device on board that can take down the plane (which would be just about as bad as taking over a plane).

            That doesn't mean that I agree that TSA's security theater is the best way to prevent this.

            • by ATMAvatar (648864)

              As 9/11 was the only significant terrorist-based airline disaster in my lifetime (and I have more years before 2001 than after), I am quite comfortable saying that we don't need the TSA.

              But even if we say that there's a slightly increased chance of a disaster without the TSA... terrorists could detonate a bomb aboard two 747 flights every day, every year, and it would still be a distant third [cdc.gov] cause of death for US citizens.

          • I agree. But by that logic we don't need the TSA either so...

            Personally, I've through that each airport should have a wing for people who are willing to fly at their own risk. Tickets would cost less, you could get there 15 minutes before the flight, etc... It will never happen, but it would be a nice idea.

        • Why do people keep saying this? There have been hijackings since 9/11 in which the plane was not destroyed and the hijackers took control of the plane.

          For an assuredly incomplete list, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aircraft_hijackings [wikipedia.org]

          Pay particular attention to the 10+ ones listed after September 11, 2001.

          • by mysidia (191772) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @11:53PM (#43921253)

            Why do people keep saying this? There have been hijackings since 9/11 in which the plane was not destroyed and the hijackers took control of the plane.

            Which one of those was a flight originating from inside the US on a US airline?

          • by SirGarlon (845873)
            Of those 10+ you claim, only five are supported by citations. The other five, I consider works of fiction. Of the five cases supported by citations, three resulted in the passengers overpowering the hijacker and the other two resulted in the hijacker being arrested on the ground. So yes, there have been two documented hijackings since 9/11 where the hijackers took control of the plane: in Mauritania and Cyrpus.
      • by Richy_T (111409)

        I left my laptop at security last time I flew. $70 to have it shipped including $28 for the stupid UPS box.

        Yeah, avoid doing that if you can help it. (TSA guy stacked the boxes when they random searched me and it is a thin Chromebook)

      • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Thursday June 06, 2013 @04:56AM (#43922651)

        They should just charge a $5 fee and mail it to you if you don't want it destroyed.

        Back in the eighties, they did. Well minus the charge. If you had a dangerous item (knife, drafting compass, ...), you handed it in at the security checkpoint, it would go into a box in the cargo hold (together with similar items of other passengers), and you got it back on arrival.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Nothing like getting to where you are flying and by reflex reaching for that Swiss Army Knife I always carry, because something needs a little tweak.

      But by all means, let's continue to behave like a bunch of frightened lemmings.

      this also ends my plans for Ackthpt's Small Knives And Pointy Objects Emporium in airports from coast to coast.

    • by csumpi (2258986)
      BS. They don't take your knife, they let you check it. Your water, sure, they throw that out. But they won't take your dad's Swiss Army.
  • people knew there was a secret society of "spork" wielding master assassins........
    • by mjwx (966435)

      people knew there was a secret society of "spork" wielding master assassins........

      Fortunately for us they are too busy with their ancient doctrinal conflict with the equally secret society of "foon" wielding corsairs.

  • by slasher999 (513533) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @06:47PM (#43919203)

    Besides the horrible service and the conditions (ie personal space mostly) on aircraft today, they continue with these absurd bans on common items. I never leave home without a knife, many times a SAK, other times a Spyderco or Queen. To me that would be like leaving home without pants. You just don't think about it, you just do it. When I do need to fly I'm very much aware that I'm without my knife or even the P-38 I keep on my keychain (I'm sure they would figure out how to take that away as well).

    • by Intropy (2009018) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @06:52PM (#43919239)

      I had to look that up to figure out why you were trying to take a P-38 Lightning through TSA.

      • I was curious which people would think I meant - the plane or the gun! Nope, just the can opener. But try to explain that to TSA.

        • by Intropy (2009018)

          Well, if I'm being honest, I assumed you didn't mean the plane and that P-38 must also refer be something small, like a pocket knife. I looked it up and found it was a can opener. I am deeply ashamed that I ever implied that I thought you might actually be carrying around a WW2-era fighter.

          • Sup Dawg. I heard you like planes. So I put a plane in your plane, so you can fly while you fly.

      • I was just impressed that he could fit a Walther P38 on his keychain.
    • Are conditions really bad enough to stop people flying? Admittedly, I have little experience of flying within the US (although I am returning from SFO to LHR in three weeks so I will get to experience things first hand).

      When I fly from the UK (domestic & international), I'm used to turning up no more than 60 mins before the flight leaves - even if I have hold baggage and don't have fast track security. I'm not going to pretend economy seats are the height of luxury, but in general I try to get the front

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Are conditions really bad enough to stop people flying?

        Um, yes.

        I used to fly for fun: when I lived near London I'd fly to New York for a long weekend, for example. But now I only fly when I have to, entirely because of the security theater and its insane and randomly varying rules.

      • They really are for various reasons, but I'll say space is my biggest gripe. I had to fly earlier this year - first time in two years. My first leg actually wasn't bad. I'm 6'3" and I go about 350 lbs, so I'm a big guy. I was in the middle seat on a newer United 757 and was relatively comfortable with guys on either side of me. Don't get me wrong, it was cozy but it was tolerable. My return trip however was horrible and I even had an aisle seat with no one in the middle seat next to me. This was an older Co

      • The US travel experience isn't terrible. The problem is that its treated with crazy different rules than any other mass transit.

        I have not had problems... BUT... I try to travel in comfortable clothes, and remember to empty metal items into my carry-on bag ahead of time, take off your belt before getting in line, untie your shoes do you don't slow things up, remember to pack the laptop and iPad do they easily unpack and repackage quickly, and keep cords wound up in a separate container, have all that ready

        • by starless (60879)

          With "TSA-Pre" (which you can get e.g. by signing up for global entry) you can avoid many of
          these inconveniences. e.g. you can keep shoes on, keep computer inside bag, keep liquids in bag.
          Global entry has other major advantages for international travelers (avoid immigration lines).
          http://www.globalentry.gov/ [globalentry.gov]

      • by Jockle (2934767)

        Are conditions really bad enough to stop people flying?

        People's rights are violated when they try to get on a plane. What do you think the answer is?

      • by Richy_T (111409)

        It depends on your definition of bad. It's bad enough and annoying but usually not awful. If you fly into the US, avoid any contact with Atlanta airport.

    • Well in most Australian states, it's now illegal to carry even a small Swiss Army style keychain knife anywhere, Period.
      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Well in most Australian states, it's now illegal to carry even a small Swiss Army style keychain knife anywhere, Period.

        Well, that's Crocodile Dundee fscked then.

      • That really blows my mind. I couldn't imagine going around without mine, and I have many to pick from. It's just so handy to have. Car breaks down? Knives come in handy in many ways there. Pet get caught up on your walk and you need to cut a piece of string, rope, etc to free them (this has happened to me)? You need your knife. Open a box? Much easier with a small pocket knife. Bored? We were taught "whittling" in scouts as recently as 30 years ago. I can understand restrictions on switch blades and very la

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        Which is funny considering Paul Hogan managed to convince the rest of the world Australians all walked around with 12" bush knives stuffed down their pants ;)

  • No surprise really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @06:48PM (#43919209) Homepage

    If they allowed knives back on, and any kind of terrorist attack occurred with knives, then someone would be held responsible for that decision, no matter how wise it seemed at the time. If they disallow knives, people will kick and scream, but won't actually change their flying behavior much, and everyone's job will be safe.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      I'll take responsibility for it. It will have about as much effect as trying to pin the responsibility for the decision on any government official.

    • If they allowed knives back on, and any kind of terrorist attack occurred with knives, then someone would be held responsible for that decision, no matter how wise it seemed at the time.

      If they allowed little knives on planes, and someone was foolish enough to try to hijack the plane with one, they would arrive at the next airport as a pile of thinly sliced pieces.

      IMO they should allow anything that won't endanger the integrity of the cabin.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jockle (2934767)

        IMO they should allow anything that won't endanger the integrity of the cabin.

        Actually, the TSA should just be eliminated outright. Problem solved.

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      If they allowed knives back on, and any kind of terrorist attack occurred with knives, then someone would be held responsible for that decision, no matter how wise it seemed at the time. If they disallow knives, people will kick and scream, but won't actually change their flying behavior much, and everyone's job will be safe.

      Be serious - TSA is a government agency, there's no such thing as holding someone accountable.

    • by Jockle (2934767)

      Why don't imbeciles just realize that sometimes bad things happen, and freedom is more important than safety? The TSA needs to be destroyed.

  • by pissoncutler (66050) * on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @06:50PM (#43919219) Homepage

    Instead of making folks discard completely non-threatening items, TSA should look into *actual* security.

    The airport should have a series of series of checkpoints. Every vehicle that pulls onto the property goes past a guard that asks you how your day is going (screen #1). At the ticket counter, a friendly agent asks if you are enjoying the weather (screen #2). Drop off your bags, some other random, friendly question (screen #3). Lastly, at the x-ray / metal detector / body scanner, the attending agent looks you in the eye and chats with you again (screen #4). Every station should be manned by trained security personel empowered to flag you for greater scrutiny. Add to that randomized patrols and searches.

    The staged checkpoints also reduce the likelihood of an attacker targeting that massive line to get through security. (In the TSA system, no one waiting in that line has been through any prior screen.)

    Stagger the checks and ensure redundancy. It's not cheap, it would require TSA to hire/pay much better than they do now, but it would get you better security. Banning Swiss Army Knives and hockey sticks doesn't make anyone safer.

    • Every station should be manned by trained security personel empowered to flag you for greater scrutiny.

      The TSA seems to love spending money on everything but actually training their personnel to be properly security-conscious and informed. Having some of the lowest entry requirements relative to pay scale of any job in the country doesn't help either.

    • by CRCulver (715279)
      What you are describing is exactly what you get when you fly out of Ben Gurion. However, in spite of the success of the Israeli approach to airport security, it may not scale to the huge flight volumes of, say, Atlanta or LAX, and regrettably the TSA wants the same approach at all airports.
      • by 0123456 (636235)

        How many terrorists have the Israelis caught at airports?

        I don't mean that as a rhetorical question, but I don't remember them doing so any time in the last couple of decades.

        • by CRCulver (715279)

          There have bene high-profile busts like the Hindawi affair [wikipedia.org], and after that, the rigorous screening in place does a pretty good job of discouraging anyone from attacking flights to/from Israel.

        • by CRCulver (715279)

          I forgot to mention that screening on flights to Israel has also succeeded in preventing the boarding of actists who, though they would not attack the plane, would cause damage once they've landed in Israel. That is, the screening is also designed to stop activists who, though they themselves refrain from engaging in violence, want to go to the West Bank to agitate for violent Palestinian resistance.

    • It's the "Disney" approach. If you go to Disney, they break up the long lines with spaces, corridors, and choke points. Disney does this so it doesn't appear you are in a crazy long line for teacups. But it would work for security too.

      Then you insert various detectors along the moving sidewalks and other places in the airport where "single file" lines naturally occur. The biggest thing is to have lots of "helper" agents in the middle looking with eyeballs.

      The problem is that our airports were built like sho

      • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @11:45PM (#43921211)
        This is a very widely understood phenomenon. In countries where terrorism is actually a problem, terrorists bomb the checkpoints because of the lines. Security thus staggers the checkpoints and streamlines procedures in order to prevent any kind of lines from forming. This means that terrorists can't kill more than a few people regardless of the size of any bomb they might be carrying.

        Here in the USA, these procedures are not used and checkpoints are not bombed because, as all sane people know, terrorism is not a problem in this country.
  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @06:54PM (#43919273) Homepage Journal

    I don't carry knives, don't even like them. I use spears.

  • by decipher_saint (72686) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @06:57PM (#43919311) Homepage

    "Sir please remove your arms and legs, you can't take them on the plane"

    • by RussR42 (779993)

      Oh, oh, I see! Running away, eh? You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what's coming to you! I'll bite your legs off!

  • X-actly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @07:00PM (#43919343) Journal

    Well, hockey sticks and the other stuff should be fine. Actually small knives would be, too.

    Prior to 9/11, the policy for a skyjacking was sit tight and wait for ransom demands, or to fly some idiot to Cuba.

    That morning it changed forever. Passengers will revolt. Pilots will bounce people around in the cabin. Threats to kill people will correctly go unheeded and the cockpit door will stay closed. Even flights with insufficient other passengers still won't lose control.

    So...so what about small knives and X-acto box cutters? Such a takeover will never work again.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @07:01PM (#43919355) Journal

    why do restaurants after security at Chicago O'Hare give customers metal knives, while restaurants at DFW do not?

    And in the past, I have been given a metal knife when flying in first class (obviously, first class passengers cannot be terrorists!)

    Do TSA rules ban equipment to sharpen metal dinner knives? I doubt it.

    • And in the past, I have been given a metal knife when flying in first class (obviously, first class passengers cannot be terrorists!)

      First, I'm kind of curious when this happened? I haven't flown in a sufficiently high class since 9/11, but I remember when airlines used to give you hot food. I don't know if they still do or not--it may depend on how far you're going and which airline you're using.

      That said, first class passengers are not terrorists because terrorists are frugal. Remember the guys who tried to blow up the World Trade Center using a truck bomb and then went back for the deposit on the tuck? And none of the 9/11 Terrori

      • by aXis100 (690904)

        Even business class will give you metal knives and real glassware.

        Not that it matters, the plastic knives they give the cattle class can still do plenty of damage, I'm sure you could make a real mess of someone's throat with one.

        Farking security theatre.

      • by whoever57 (658626)

        First, I'm kind of curious when this happened?

        About 4 or 5 years ago, definitely after 9/11. I think that the last time I flew in domestic first class on American, they gave me plastic knives, but I dont remember clearly.

        And none of the 9/11 Terrorists flew first class because why spend the extra money if you're going to crash or blow up the plane?

        They would fly first if it were essential to their plans.

      • by dlgeek (1065796)

        And none of the 9/11 Terrorists flew first class because why spend the extra money if you're going to crash or blow up the plane?

        Uhhh, dude... all but one of the 9/11 Hijackers flew first or business class (mostly first) on their various flights.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      I was at DFW recently and ate a steak with a nice sharp Steak knife inside of the security zone.

      TSA security is theater only to keep the panicky low IQ crowd happy.

  • Security theater at its finest. The reason why there hasn't been 9/11 part II is not because of the TSA, instead its been because prior to 9/11 whenever an airplane was hijacked, the standard procedure was to keep a low profile, wait until your plane landed and the hijacker to make their demands and try not to piss off the hijacker, then the feds will storm the plane and light up the hijacker in a hail of bullets and so long as you kept a low profile you'd make it out alive. Today though, everyone associate
  • Archie had this figured out in 1974 or so. A classic from American TV history.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLjNJI54GMM [youtube.com]

  • by sribe (304414)

    The pathetic pansies won this round...

  • There goes my knife. And my pen. And my glasses. And my belt. And my teeth. And my finger- and toenails. It's been said many, many times, but sooner or later perhaps the TSA will realize that people are potential security risks and ban everyone altogether.

    On a less ranting and more constructive note, when were small knives banned? I recall back in the day of airport security small knives with blades less than, oh, I don't know, six inches? were allowed.

  • It's OK for the government to take away your freedom. Because you got a vote. Slashdot commenters say so.

    If the government weren't oppressing you, then some corporation running the airlines might enact a reasonable policy instead, without consulting you at all. This way, you got a vote. See how great that worked out? You all remember voting for the TSA, right?

  • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @08:13PM (#43919979)

    What worries the stewardess is the out-if-control passenger with a knife.

    The flight crew may be safe behind their armored door.

    But she is out there, utterly exposed --- and you are wedged in your seat five rows back and in no position to help her.

    The TSA weaved and bobbed around answering the question of how many casualties it was prepared to accept in an incident like this --- and that in the end was fatal.

  • This is just greed by the government to collect all those little items. They're like pack rats.

  • I have a leatherman that is *awesome*. It's one of those tools you'd love to have with you 24/7 because it's so versatile. But, I wouldn't trust myself to get into the habit of carrying it around and risk the danger of taking it through some checkpoint and getting arrested for attempted terrorism.

  • Another TSA reminder (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lexsird (1208192) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @09:47PM (#43920593)

    Another TSA reminder that the "terrorist won" or I should say the opportunistic fear mongering traitors and the bureaucracies, and traitorous policies they implemented won. Every time I'm reminded of these pseudo Nazi pricks stripping and frisking my 70 year old mother and fucking up her luggage as they rifled it while on one of their "show my ass because I have authority" power trips, I have to edit what I say lest I end up in Gitmo. Imagine that, being afraid to say what you really think in America.

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