AFA Calls on TSA and Port Authority to Remove Knives and Protect Passengers and Crew

afa-media-release-blue-new.pngWashington, D.C. (November 25, 2014) – Following today’s Newsday/News 12 Long Island story about steak knives in the secure area of airports, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) is calling on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and restaurant owners to immediately address this security threat and protect our crew and passengers.

Today’s news story revealed that large knives in high-end steak houses in the secure area of JFK airport have the potential to be brought on board the passenger cabin.

Last year, the AFA and the 90,000 strong coalition of flight attendant unions celebrated the success of their ‘No Knives on Planes Ever Again’ campaign and commended TSA for drawing a line against weapons on planes. The campaign included support from congressional members, law enforcement, passengers, TSA screeners, ground workers, federal air marshals, and crew members.

“It is especially galling that this risk has been discovered in a New York airport. After September 11th, knives were banned for a reason,” says AFA International President Sara Nelson. “One of these knives could be used to injure a passenger, crew member, federal air marshal, gate agent, or TSA security officer. The knife ban remains in place, and this is a direct violation of national security policy.”

While fortunately, the person who walked out of a restaurant with a steak knife did so solely for journalistic purposes, the ability to do ill at JFK has been exposed. AFA immediately contacted TSA and the Port Authority to take prompt action to remove the knives from the secure area of the JFK airport.

"I don't buy any argument for allowing these knives in the secure areas of airports. A good steak can be cut with a butter knife. That should be their sales pitch, not a weapon that's been used to kill,” says Nelson.

 The restaurants with steak knives available are in two separate terminals at JFK. JFK is the busiest international air passenger gateway and the 6th busiest in the U.S. by passenger traffic. 2013 marked the first year JFK handled over 50 million passengers, the airport employs over 35,000 people. We need to remove the steak knives to continue to keep knives off of planes and protect our passengers and crew. 

The Association of Flight Attendants is the world’s largest Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for 67 years. Serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill, AFA has transformed the Flight Attendant profession by raising wages, benefits and working conditions. Nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at

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