Orlando International Airport travelers sound off on new TSA security

Author: Sheli Muniz, Reporter, smuniz@wkmg.com
Published On: Mar 06 2013 06:51:20 PM EST   Updated On: Mar 06 2013 06:52:19 PM EST

Local 6 spoke to some travelers at Orlando International Airport on Wednesday about Transportation Security Administrations new announcement to allow small knives on planes.

Since the attacks of September 11th, transportation security officers have tightened the belt when it comes to taking that pocket knife, baseball bat, or even full-sized shampoo bottles on the phone. Some of that will change, you will soon be able to take your small knife and some sports gear.

"Why can't a bottled water, but I can take a knife? It doesn't make sense," said Gail Morlock came from Canada to Orlando, she said.

Lynn Conway, who came from Rhode Island, said, "I really don't think that's a good idea, I mean when you say small knife, how small is small?"

Most travelers like Lynn are asking the same thing. When it comes to pocket knives, be sure the blade is smaller than 2.36 inches and it can't be wider than 0.5in.

Glenn McWilliams, who lives in The Villages, said, "The way people are right now, I woudn't trust anyone with a small knife on a plane."

How about that lucky putter? Soon, you will be able to take two golf clubs as a carry-on and even things like select baseball bats, hockey sticks, and lacrosse sticks.

Transportation officials say the change is going to allow them to focus more on spotting the really lethal stuff, like explosives, but folks like Lynn say we shouldn't rule out the power of a small knife.

"I know that's how the 911 attacks were perpetrated, I know they were using box cutters, but they had knives," Conway said.

Box cutters will still be prohibited.

The new relaxed rules have flight attendants speaking out. They are calling on the TSA to reconsider, calling the move outrageous.

Stacey Martin, president of Southwest Airlines' Flight Attendants Union, TWU Local 55, condemned the changes:

"TSA Administrator John Pistole’s announcement that passengers will be allowed to carry knives, sticks and clubs on commercial flights is a threat to passengers and affront to flight attendants. This policy 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.

Flight attendants at Southwest Airlines, AirTran and other carriers see our primary responsibility as maintaining order and keeping passengers safe. This change in policy creates an unnecessary risk for everyone who flies. TSA’s policy change is dangerous, shortsighted and should be immediately rescinded."

Also, The Association of Flight Attendants, which represents more than 90,000 flight attendants released this statement:

"Today’s announcement to permit knives back into the aircraft cabin is a poor and shortsighted decision by the TSA. Continued prohibition of these items is an integral layer in making our aviation system secure and must remain in place.

As the last line of defense in the cabin and key aviation partners, we believe that these proposed changes will further endanger the lives of all Flight Attendants and the passengers we work so hard to keep safe and secure.

Flight Attendants are the front line safety and security professionals onboard every commercial passenger aircraft in this country and must be given the tools and training to protect ourselves, our passengers and the aircraft. Despite repeated requests for updated training to include basic self-defense maneuvers to allow us to defend ourselves, Flight Attendants still do not receive mandatory training about how to effectively recognize and defend others against attacks aboard the aircraft."