The Transportation Security Administration has decided to allow pocket knives, gold clubs and hockey sticks to be carried on board planes for the first time since the terrorist attacks in 2011.
TSA chief John Pistole announced the change at a security conference in New York on Tuesday. The change, which will go into effect April 25, is being done to conform with international rules. In the announcement, Pistole also noted that security should focus on those who are risks instead of holding everyone to the same security standard, USA Today reports.
A less strict screening has been pushed by security experts such as Kip Hawley, the former head of TSA, for a long time as they believe that harder cockpit doors would prevent a hijacker from entering the cockpit and taking over like the terrorists did on September 11, 2001.
While that might keep the pilots and the plane in general safe, flight attendants are not happy with the change as they feel it would put passengers and crew members outside of the cockpit in danger.
The Flight Attendants Union Coalition criticized the decision on the policy change. The group represents 9,000 flight attendants around the country.
"Today's announcement to permit knives back into the aircraft cabin is a poor and shortsighted decision by the TSA," the group said in a statement, according to USA Today. "As the last line of defense in the cabin and key aviation partners, we believe that these proposed changes will further endanger the lives of all flight attendants and the passengers we work so hard to keep safe and secure."
Stacy Martin, president of Southwest Airlines' flight-attendants union, Transport Workers Union of America Local 556, is also strongly against the decision to allow these weapons on board.
"This policy was designed to make the lives of TSA staff easier, but not make flights safer," Martin told USA Today. "While we agree that a passenger wielding a small knife or swinging a golf club or hockey stick poses less of a threat to the pilot locked in the cockpit, these are real threats to passengers and flight attendants in the passenger cabin."