Backing down from its earlier announcement, the Transportation Security Administration announced Wednesday that it will not allow knives on commercial airplanes.
The move comes after fierce lobbying from flight attendants, pilots and even some airline chief executives. All noted that hijackers on 9/11 used blades to help bring down airplanes.
TSA Administrator John Pistole had argued small knife blades posed limited risk for travelers. He had wanted to remove the ban on certain blades, saying screeners should focus on other banned items.
Just after the announcement, I caught up with Dante Harris, a United Airlines flight attendant and the president of Association of Flight Attendants, AFA-CWA LAX Council 12
Brian Sumers: Are you pleased with the decision?
Dante Harris: That sounds like good news. I think it’s absolutely absurd to have knives on board a plane. There is no real benefit to having knives on a plane. I was just traveling myself for union business, and they took away my toothpaste and they had 3 officers looking at my toothpaste. Yet they were going to put knives on planes. It just doesn’t many any sense. It’s a very good decision. We applaud the TSA administrator.
Sumers: Why is this decision so important?
Harris: Our flying partners were murdered on Sept. 11 using small knives A couple of those flight attendants were friends of mine. It’s very personal for us as flight attendants. We are the last line of defense. When things go down, it’s the flight attendant that has to make sure all the passengers are safe.
Sumers: You were a leader in the “No Knives on Planes” campaign. You even held a press conference at LAX. Do you feel it worked?
Harris: I don’t have a lot information. But if that’s the case and its’ a definite that there will be no knives, I think the campaign did work.