PRO: TSA Loosens Tight Reins on Airplane Security

Small knives and certain sports equipment will be permitted on flight to expedite security check.

 The Transportation Security Administration has recently approved a policy that will allow airplane passengers to carry onboard foldable knives and several sports equipment including baseball bats and a maximum of two golf clubs. Despite the fact that there has been much controversy surrounding this decision, which will take effect on April 25, their sensible decision will be more in line with international standards, increase convenience for passengers and workers and allow security checks to focus on detecting bombs and other weapons that impose greater danger.

Those who deprecate the TSA’s pronouncement have argued that during the 9/11 attacks, terrorists used box cutters and small knives to hijack planes. In addition, airline workers have shown concern about unstable passengers with these items who could jeopardize the airplane’s safety. Although this may be true, these arguments are, in truth, illogical when certain key facts are taken into consideration.

First, the ruling will ameliorate the security system as the airport security will be able to focus more on finding potentially threatening weapons. Airport security will be relieved from having to waste time confiscating sports equipment and small pocketknives, thereby giving security personnel ample opportunity to concentrate on detecting weapons such as explosive materials that can cause more damage. The dangers of a bomb heavily outweigh the dangers of a tiny penknife or a bat; thus, a greater number of people will be protected from injury.

Some fear that they are being put at risk from psychotic passengers who will now be able to carry certain items aboard. However, the flight attendants, the passengers’ first line of defense from attackers, go through security training. Moreover, stronger cockpit doors are a requirement for all U.S. commercial airlines and arming pilots and federal air marshals has been allowed to further ensure the safety of the passengers and aviation staff.

The change in policy will also be more suitable for scrupulous travelers. Passengers can carry onboard prized possessions, such as expensive sports equipment and certain fragile objects, without having to worry about such items being damaged when thrown around in a storage unit.

Furthermore, since 2005, potential weapons such as knitting needles, small scissors, screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers less than seven inches long have been permitted as carry-on items, yet no accidents have been reported involving these items. This suggests that such excessive caution about the impending policy is unwarranted.

If tiny pocketknives and toy bats are considered a danger onboard, wrenches, pliers, and pencils should also be banned from the TSA’s permitted items list; nevertheless, the past few years are evidence that these potential weapons have, in fact, never posed a threat. Rather than worrying about relatively harmless athletic equipment and pocketknives on a flight, security will be able to focus more on finding actual major threats such as firearms and bombs in order to avoid another major airplane accident. The new guideline is a commendable step that will be more convenient for passengers and ultimately lead to a more effective security check.