Posted on: March 11, 2013
Minor annoyances sometimes bother us more than major annoyances, so relief from petty tribulations is always welcome.
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Therefore, we want to thank the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for realizing, finally, that Swiss army knives with 2-inch blades do not pose a significant threat to security.
Pocket knives such as these will be permitted in airline cabins beginning April 25, as long as the blades do not lock and are no longer than 6 centimeters (2.36 inches).
Also leaving the prohibited-items list will be hockey and lacrosse sticks, ski poles, pool cues, toy bats and no more than two golf clubs per person. The changes will help align U.S. policies with international standards, an admirable goal.
The TSA said streamlining the prohibited-items list will help speed up the lines, but it also warned that the lines could be slowing down because of a hiring freeze and limits on overtime pay required by the sequester.
With normal attrition, TSA staffing levels could decline just as the peak travel season approaches.
As it happens, the TSA issued its notice as IATA Director General Tony Tyler was giving a speech at a security conference in New York calling for a more risk-based approach to security with less reliance on "bureaucracy and rules."
Tyler called on the TSA and other security agencies to streamline their procedures, saying, "Security should be hassle-free." We think "free" is a pretty tall order. We suspect that for most passengers, doing something about the shoes and the liquids and gels would go a long way.