(March 6, 2013) In an inexplicable move, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has reversed its ban on the carrying of penknives aboard commercial aircraft. It is now legal to do so, provided the blades are 2.36 inches or less in length, and less than ½ inch in width. The rationale behind the reversal of the ban was to align our safety rules with international standards – but who cares about international standards when we were the ones attacked on 9/11, not them!

Prior to 9/11, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had authority to promulgate safety rules for security aboard airliners. In the face of oftentimes explicit threats against airliners by terrorists either by hijacking or carrying bombs, the FAA allowed up to 4-inch knife blades to be carried by passengers aboard commercial aircraft. It turns out that the hijackers that were detained for further questioning on 9/11 carried box cutters, but were allowed onboard because the blades were within the acceptable size limits – and the rest, as they say, is history!

Never satisfied with smacking their collective foreheads with the palms of their hands, the brain trust at the TSA has decided that it’s now “ok” to allow passengers to carry penknives aboard. After 13 years of teaching passengers what they can and can’t carry aboard a plane, and the passengers satisfied with the level of safety these minor restrictions have afforded us, now the Government that let us down so miserably in the past, has decided to risk the lives of all airline passenger again by allowing penknives to be carried. Why? What could the logic behind this illogical action possibly be?

After Pearl Harbor we exclaimed, “never again” – and then 9/11 happened. The Government just doesn’t get it, never got it, and never will get it. The collective stupidity among Government bureaucrats is astonishing. Plain and simple, it just isn’t necessary to have passengers carrying knives on a plane! To make matters even worse, the TSA is now also allowing golf clubs to be carried on again as well! The original logic in banning them was that they could be swung like clubs and therefore used as weapons; apparently, a golf club is no longer considered a potential club, as in weapon, but is now just a potential club, as in when it is used to murder a golf ball. Wholly aside from the risk such bludgeons afford potential “do-badders,” think of what the countless golf bags will do to overhead storage for such non-lethal things as carry-on bags, computers and your lunch! So not only do golf clubs get added as a potential weapon in the “arsenal of the evildoers,” they make already inconvenient, cramped and miserable air travel all that more inconvenient, cramped and miserable!

Arthur Alan Wolk


About Airlaw

For more than 50 years, The Wolk Law Firm has concentrated its practice in the area of aviation law, with Arthur personally generating verdicts and settlements of more than a billion dollars during the last decade alone. He is known for obtaining and on appeal, holding, the largest verdicts for each type of air accident claim in recent aviation history.

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