Boston bombings won’t affect TSA’s knife policy change next week

Los Angeles Airport Police officer Mike Garzon with explosives detection dog Erik monitor baggage and passengers at American Airlines Terminal 4 at LAX on Tuesday, a day after the bombing in Boston. The Transportation Security Administration says that, despite the attacks this week, it will loosen regulations on some objects that can be carried on planes, including small knives.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

Despite beefed-up security at airports nationwide in reaction to the deadly Boston Marathon bombings on Monday, the Transportation Security Administration is standing firms in its plan next week to allow passengers to take small folding knives and other formerly prohibited items onto airplanes.

On Wednesday, a TSA spokesman wrote via email that changes would go into effect April 25 as planned.

Before the bombings, more than 100 members of Congress as well as flight attendants and members of the public had asked TSA Administrator John Pistole to scrap the policy.

Some of those pleas have a greater sense of urgency.

“I would hope with recent events in Boston and poison-based letters that we would realize we’re still under attack,” Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Los Angeles) said Wednesday. Hahn, who says the U.S. remains vulnerable to terrorist events, last week wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who oversees the TSA, to ask for reconsideration of the changes. Hahn said she had not yet received a response.

Hahn, who flies twice a week to go back and forth to her district, said she’s also concerned about the safety of crew members and passengers who could be attacked with a knife as a result of the policy change. She also says her constituents have weighed in against the changes too.


In the last few months, Pistole repeatedly has defended the decision to allow knives with blades 2.36 inches or smaller, ski poles, hockey sticks and golf clubs on flights, saying he wants screeners to focus on more dangerous items such as liquid bombs and non-metallic improvised explosive devices that can take down planes.

In a separate action, Rebecca Marchand, whose husband was killed on 9/11 on United Flight 175, shared with Congress a letter she wrote to Pistole on Monday about the knife policy.

“The attacks in Boston prove once again that we can’t be selective in our vigilance. We must guard against all threats, big and small,” Marchand wrote. “As the wife of a Flight Attendant killed on 9/11, and the mother of a Flight Attendant who flies today, I have earned the right to say this: Knives have NO place on an airplane.”

Other families of 9/11 victims have written letters of opposition to the policy changes too.

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