Scott Gordon, NBC 5 News
Three major unions at American Airlines are among nine groups that threatened a legal challenge Monday to a proposal to allow small knives on planes.
The three major unions at American Airlines are among nine groups that threatened a legal challenge Monday against a proposal to allow small knives on planes.
The unions -- representing American’s pilots, flight attendants and ground workers -- are part of a coalition including airport security agents and air marshals demanding the government keep all knives from passing through security checkpoints.
The Transportation Security Administration announced in March it would no longer forbid knives with blades up to 2.3 inches in order to focus on explosives and other dangerous items.
The decision drew immediate criticism from flight attendants, major airlines and even many passengers.
Amid the backlash, TSA administrator John Pistole temporarily shelved the plan last month but did not take it off the table.
Monday’s legal challenge is aimed at keeping knives off planes permanently, arguing they are a huge safety risk.
“A TSA-approved knife could be used to stab or kill a passenger, crew member, federal air marshal, gate agent or TSA Security Officer by a terrorist, mentally ill person or drug or alcohol-impaired passenger,” the coalition said in a news release. “A TSA-approved knife could be used to hijack a plane.”
Laura Mayo, communications director for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, told NBC 5 the group is awaiting a response from TSA.
“Our fear was they were going to institute it,” Mayo said.
TSA said it was studying the group’s letter, which threatens legal action but is not an actual lawsuit.