New TSA Regulations

photo by flickr user OnTask

By Lauren Uchiyama

Beginning April 25, 2013, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will allow passengers to carry-on planes certain objects including types of knives, some sporting equipment, and “novelty bats.”  What has ignited this sudden change in TSA approved objects?  Well, a number of things have; primarily the increasing technological advances for airport security.

The TSA has reported that this sudden change of carry-on policy is fueled by the constant technological advancements of both potential terrorist threats and the security of the airport.  Since there are an increasing amount of substances (i.e. explosives) that can now be used against innocent passengers, the constant search for the current prohibited items is slowing security, and by allowing some of these items aboard the plane, security will move quicker and hypothetically allow TSA to scrutinize passengers’ belongings closer because they do not have to worry about small two foot long bats and 2 in. x 0.5 in. knives.

Knives pending legality include non-fixed blades with no molded grip that are no longer than 2.36 inches long and no wider than 0.5 inches; nonetheless, box cutters are still prohibited even though they are smaller than pending legal knives in lieu of the infamous September 11th box cutter theory.  Stacy Martin, president of the Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Union, expressed in a CBS interview her apprehension about this new regulation, stating that “all it took was box cutters coming through,” thus supporting the idea that any sharp object can intimidate passengers and ultimately cause huge devastation to the country.

However, some of the new regulations are reasonable in that they allow sports teams to travel without having to check $50 bags to transport their hockey or lacrosse stick from city to city.  This could be especially helpful for high school, college, or even professional sports teams to travel without checking a small stick that will obviously not be used to intentionally harm someone.  These new guidelines also allow ski poles for the Lindsey Vonn’s, up to two golf clubs for the Tiger Woods’, pool sticks, lacrosse sticks (including the men’s long-stick defense poles) and hockey sticks aboard the plane.  This may make team travel significantly easier and much cheaper for travel

Unfortunately, the TSA left out one sport with a potentially hazardous stick: baseball.  Though bats will be permitted on planes, they have to be less than 24 inches long and weigh less than 24 ounces.  Ironically, the longest men’s defensive lacrosse shaft and head is typically around 60 inches long.  And although the density of a baseball bat greatly differs from that of a lacrosse stick, it is still approximately 2.5 times as long.

Will these new items aboard planes cause any impending post- 9/11 attack?  It is definitely possible, but in the world of explosives, we are always more concerned about 3-ounce liquids than a six foot tall man with a large stick in his hand and a two-inch blade in his pocket.