TSA To Relax Carry-On Restrictions

Airline passengers will be allowed to carry small scissors and tools onto planes, reversing a rule that led to confiscation of many thousands of sharp objects at airports since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, a Homeland Security Department official said Wednesday.

Transportation Security Administration chief Kip Hawley on Friday will announce changes to the list of items prohibited in carry-on luggage and to the airport screening process, according to the official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because the plan has yet to be announced.

Set to be announced Friday, this change will be accompanied by additional initiatives by the TSA to generate positive security and customer service experiences for airline passengers, CBS News reports.

With federal air marshals on planes, bulletproof cockpit doors, armed pilots and 100 percent screening of checked baggage, the threat of a terrorist taking over an airplane has lessened since the 2001 attacks, the official said. The biggest concern now is explosives.

Though the new list of prohibited items hasn't been finalized, certain sharp objects won't be on it, the official said, including scissors less than 4 inches long and wrenches and screwdrivers less than 7 inches long.

Air Transport Association spokesman David Castelveter said the industry has been briefed on the plan and supports it.

"What we believe, as does the TSA, is that we should be focusing on what poses the greatest risk," Castelveter said.

Such changes in screening plans must be approved by the Homeland Security Department and the Office of Management and Budget, the Washington Post reported.

The changes to the list of prohibited carry-on items is set to go into effect Dec. 20, 2005, CNN reports. And roughly half of the nation's more than 40,000 TSA screeners have already been trained in the new procedures.
  • Christine Lagorio

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