by Jolene Toves
Guam - Local flight attendants met with lawmakers today hoping to garner their support in a petition drive to keep knives off planes. In 2001 hijackers on board United 93, United 175, American 77, and American 11 took over planes using mace, box cutters and knives to attack passengers and crew.
After the deadly attacks of 9/11 all knives and dangerous sporting equipment were prohibited and banned on planes. However a recent policy change by the transportation security administration will soon lift the ban on pocket knives, allowing them on board airplanes.
A decision that has raised concern and opposition from the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations and the Federal Flight Deck Officers Association. Flight attendants from United Airlines met with Speaker Judi Won Pat and Senator Tina Muna Barnes today seeking their help to keep knives off planes.
United Airlines international service manager Benita Krusee said, "We are very concerned as a flight attendant group and members of our union that on April 25th the TSA will allow small knives on board our aircraft...these aircraft have been knife free for the past 12 years now and now the TSA has decided they are going to readmit them on the aircraft. As flight attendants we are very concerned about continuing that aspect of safety."
Knowing the threat knives pose to the safety of passengers and crew, raises the question why the TSA would see fit to lift the ban. Krusee added, "From what we understand the eminent threat according to studies is that knives are not the big issue, the big issue on the aircraft would be an explosion. We don't feel that that is a good enough excuse for allowing the knives back n the plane because they still have to take a look at the knives still have to measure them and see if the fall into the guidelines."
As a result of today's meeting Speaker Won Pat and Senator Barnes are planning to draft a resolution to be shared with congress, the transportation security administrator and the chairman of transportation.
If you would like to show your support in keeping knives off planes a petition can be signed at noknivesonplanes.com or you can visit United Airlines flight attendants at the Guam Premier Outlets tomorrow from 1-6pm.