Flight attendants oppose new policy allowing knives
by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Across the nation flight attendants and pilots are making a call to action for no knives on planes. In just a few weeks, a new Transportation Security Administration policy will allow passengers to bring pre-9/11 weapons on board aircrafts. It's a decision that has the local aviation industry up in arms.
Ron Jackson told KUAM News, "We are considered first responders on the aircraft. Safety for the crew and the passengers is paramount. It's our concern." The next time you get on an airplane, you could be sitting next to someone who has a knife. It's a disconcerting thought not just for passengers, but for United Airlines flight attendants like Jackson and Benita Cruz.
"As flight attendants," Jackson continued, "we're first responders to any incidents that go on in the aircraft, and absolutely we don't want knives brought back on the plane to add to the equation of an incident that may be happening on the plane. We have other things to be worrying about."
United's local Guam-based flight attendants are joining more than 90,000 flight attendants nationwide in getting the word out about a new TSA policy that will allow small knives to be brought on planes beginning April 25. They are enlisting passengers to sign a petition to the White House.
"We support 'risk-based security', which is what proponents call it. We just don't think it makes sense to add more risk to that system," Jackson noted, with Cruz adding, "It's daunting that we have one more aspect of our job that could prevent us from being the best employee and security official on board the aircraft. So we certainly hope that everybody who travels or who has family who travels, or just has a concern overall will log onto the website and sign the petition."
The public is urged to go online to NoKnivesOnPlanes.com and sign the petition asking the president to revisit the issue and reverse it before April 25 when the policy is set to be implemented. When the decision was made last month, there was an uproar among flight attendants and pilots as there was no input or consultation with the aviation industry.
"I trust TSA to keep me safe," Cruz continued. "I trust TSA to keep our customers safe and, the bottom line is to keep the flying public in a situation where we don't have to concern ourselves with trivial items such as this albeit the knives that are going to be allowed on the aircraft might be small in nature but they're still knives." She adds the new knives policy will likely add to the long security screening lines many passengers experience at airports not just on Guam, but across the nation.
Signatures for the White House petition are needed before Saturday, Guam time.
In the meantime, some of the Guam-based flight attendants are scheduled to meet with senators on Thursday in hopes to garner legislative support in keeping the traveling public safe. If the petition doesn't work, flight attendants are also seeking congressional support for the No Knives Act of 2013, introduced by Massachusetts congressman Ed Markey and New York congressman Michael Grimm.