Flight Attendants Succeed in Keeping Knives Off Planes

The 90,000-strong Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions is celebrating the success of its campaign to keep knives off planes and commending the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for holding the line against weapons on flights.

“I’d like to thank the Flight Attendants and all those who rallied in support around the country and pressured Congress relentlessly to make this happen,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “This victory proves that when we stand together in unity for a cause we will win.”

Five unions representing 90,000 Flight Attendants from across the industry quickly mobilized after the TSA announced plans on March 5 to allow knives with blades up to 2.36 inches onto airplanes for the first time since 9/11. Knives in the hands of terrorists, mentally ill, drunk or drugged passengers would have posed a clear threat to everyone in the air and in airport secure areas.

On May 6, each of the coalition unions representing Flight Attendants joined with TSA screeners, pilots, law enforcement officers and airline passengers to file a legal petition against the possible rule change.

“We promised ‘No Knives on Planes Ever Again,’ and today that promise was kept,” the Flight Attendant coalition announced. “Terrorists armed only with knives killed thousands of Americans on 9/11. As the women and men on the front lines in the air, we vowed to do everything in our power to protect passengers and flight crews from harm and prevent that type of atrocity from happening ever again. We commend the TSA for revising its policy based on input from front line aviation workers with the greatest stake in the rule change. The result is better security policy and the assurance that our nation’s aviation security system continues to be vigilant for knives that could be used in a terrorist attack or criminal act against passengers or crew.”

Flight Attendants thank Members of Congress from both parties for their support. House Homeland Security Members Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) were instrumental in pushing for a process that would include input from aviation stakeholders. Congressmen Ed Markey (D-MA) and Michael Grimm (R-NY) led the charge against knives in the aircraft cabin by introducing the No Knives Act of 2013 within days of the policy announcement. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Lisa Murkowski (D-AK), Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY), the late Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) co-sponsored the “Keep Knives Out of Our Skies Act.”