The Transportation Security Administration is taking some heat after announcing a partial lift in airline carry-on restrictions. Next month, they will allow passengers to board with small, folding knives and some sporting equipment.
Taking off your shoes and only carrying three ounces or less of fluid through airport security, is still a must. But, come April 25th, the TSA will start the new policy.
"No problem," said passenger Dan Beale upon hearing the news. "As long as they are not box cutters or anything like that and they are just small."
"What if somebody gets upset on the plane?," said passenger Juanita Jennings. "Because they put the bag in the wrong way and they just go mad. Who knows? People get crazy."
That's a concern many flight attendants have voiced since the TSA decided to partially lift the ban that's been in place since 9/11. They say it allows agents to focus on finding non-metal improvised explosive devices, which they call a more serious threat.
The TSA announcement comes as Meadows Field Airport's body scanner is being transferred to a larger airport, leaving our local airport with metal detectors. Jack Gotcher, Kern County Airports Director, says that's not an issue.
"Now, they will make sure what your item is and if it's not on their restricted list, then you'll be able to take it. But, they are going to know about it because a metal detector will find it," said Gotcher.
Under the new rules, passengers will be allowed to carry on knives with folding blades that are no longer than about 2 1/3 inches and no wider than half an inch. It will still ban knives with blades that are fixed or lock into place or that have molded handles. Box cutters and razor blades will still be banned. And, the new rules allow passengers to carry on hockey or lacrosse sticks, a pool cue, ski poles, up to two golf clubs and below standard-size bats.
"The more they restrict, the more I dislike them taking away freedoms and giving us a chance to be good people," said passenger Heather Watson. "But, I know there are a lot of sickos out there in the world."
The new rules taking effect April 25th, bring the U.S. in line with international security standards. But, groups of air marshals and flight attendants say they will ask the agency to reconsider the policy.