In the face of a huge backlash from Flight Attendants, nearly every other stakeholder in aviation and the public, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today postponed its plan to allow knives onboard U.S. flights starting Thursday, April 25. The 90,000-member Flight Attendants Union Coalition, however, which has opposed the TSA’s ill-advised plan from the start, remains resolute: No Knives on Planes Ever Again.
“I thank all IAM members who signed the petition, called Congress and put pressure on the TSA to rethink their ill-advised policy,” said Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja.
The United States banned all knives from commercial flights since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks for good reason: Knives were the terrorists’ weapons of choice in bringing down four jetliners and murdering thousands of Americans. All knives should be banned from planes permanently. If the TSA wishes to explore a drastic departure from its logical policy it must comply with the rule-making requirements that it should have observed when it first announced its decision to allow knives on planes on March 5, 2013.
Like any federal agency, before the TSA changes a rule it is legally required to issue a notice of rule-making to allow all interested parties the opportunity to submit comments, and to fairly consider that input. If those procedures are followed, there is no doubt that the Administrator will conclude that knives have no place on our planes and will leave the rule barring “weapons” in place.
The Coalition is working diligently with members of Congress – Congressmen Ed Markey (D-MA) and Michael Grimm (R-NY) as well as Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — on legislation to permanently keep knives off planes. In the wake of the horrific Boston bombing last week, now is not the time to weaken security and let down our guard.
“We need to continue to put pressure on Congress to support legislation that ensures this bad idea disappears and never resurfaces again,” said Pantoja. “Flight Attendants, Customer Service Agents and all airport workers deserve to work in a weapon-free environment.”
The Flight Attendants Union Coalition, representing 90,000 flight attendants nationwide, coordinates on issues of mutual interest.