Pocket Knives on Planes: Good Idea or Not?

March 8, 2013
It may seem, at least on the surface, a good idea. However, the law of unintended consequences is at play here.

It may seem, at least on the surface, a good idea. However, the law of unintended consequences is at play here.

The overwhelming opposition voiced by flight attendants about TSA's new allowance of carry-on items such as small pocketknives and golf clubs reveals a lot about the security realities of today.

Acts of aberrant, abusive, and abnormal passenger behavior -- known as air rage -- remains the most persistent threat to aviation security.

It was the case in the years leading up to 9/11; and, it is once again.

The International Air Transport Association recently estimated that the incidence of air rage cases is way up; and, there are now more 10,000 such events annually.

The in-cabin threat posed by terrorists has been significantly reduced by the willingness of passengers to intervene and the reinforced cockpit door.

What remains is an environment where stress has been ratcheted up (THINK security hassles, reduced customer service, too many carry-on bags and full planes), and flight attendants often have no one to rely on except themselves to keep the peace.

The re-introduction of previously prohibited items makes the in-cabin environment less safe; not because of the risks posed by terrorists, but by the re-emerging problem of disruptive passengers.

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