Furious airline staff have rounded on America's Transport Security authority, claiming that the relaxation of the rules around carrying knives on planes will put them at risk.
Passengers on US flights will soon be allowed to carry pocket knives, hockey sticks, snooker cues and a maximum of two golf clubs for the first time since the 9/11 attacks, the American Transport Security Administration said. The new rules will come into effect from April 25.
Jon Adler, of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said in a statement: "If the TSA policy makers were engaged in close quarter combat with a psycho wielding a 2 inch blade at 30,000 feet, they might reconsider the foolishness of their decision."
More than 10,000 people have signed a petition to the White House to keep knives off planes. It reads: "The TSA was created because blades on airplanes were used to cause this deadly attack on US soil.
"There’s no excuse for reversal on the policy to ban knives from the aircraft cabin. Multi-layered security, including prohibition of items that could pose a threat, ensures US aviation is the safest in the world. The ban on dangerous objects is an integral layer in aviation security.
"Flight Attendants serve as the last line of defense in aviation security - responsible for ensuring the safety, health and security of the passengers in our care."
"Flight Attendants will not stand silently by as knives are re-introduced to the aircraft cabin," Flight Attendants Union Coalition president Veda Shook told NBC,calling it a "poor and shortsighted decision."
The coalition said in a statement: "Flight Attendants are outraged. We are the last line of defense in aviation security and time does not change the fact that we were among the first to die in a war we didn’t know we wer"e fighting on September 11, 2001. At great cost, we know better today. There is no excuse for this.
Another fierce opponent is the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations. Its president Mike Karn said: “We believe the threat is still real and the removal of any layer of security will put crewmembers and the flying public unnecessarily in harm’s way."
Many on social media pointed out the double-standards involved.
The TSA say the new guidelines mean the policy is now more closely aligned with other countries.