We've all been there: midway through your flight, having exhausted all your entertainment materials, you think, “Hey, now would be an excellent time to finish my whittling project.” Or start a pick-up lacrosse game. Or practice your golf swing. Whatever the case, you've got to fight back the urge, because all of those activities require items you're simply not allowed to bring on an airplane. Until now.
Beginning April 25, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will permit passengers to carry pocketknives onto flights, so long as they are less than six inches in length and one half inch in width. The agency will also allow fliers to tote a number of previously-prohibited items on board, including lacrosse, billiard, and hockey sticks, Wiffle ball bats, ski poles, and as many as two golf clubs.
This is the first time TSA has let travelers carry knives on board since the September 11 terrorist attacks. Box cutters, which were used in the attacks, and razor blades are still banned. Baseball and softball bats are similarly not allowed, with the exception of novelty souvenir bats less than 24 inches.
The initiative is meant to speed-up security checks, when TSA agents often spend too much time confiscating items that don’t pose a real security threat. It’s common for travelers to pack their own sporting goods, especially if they’re flying out to a location specifically to take part in those activities. Permitting them will quicken screenings, as agents will spend less time searching for non-risk items, and more time seeking out genuine risks.
The change is good news if you can’t bear to be parted from your nine iron for a few hours, but bad news if you live in constant fear of a potential rumble [cue the Jets v. Sharks scene in West Side Story].
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