Flight Attendants Call for Swift Passage of Bill to Ban Knives on Planes

Washington, DC (September 11, 2017) – Today marks sixteen years since the September 11th terrorist attacks, in which knives led to the deaths of thousands of Americans, and today the nation’s flight attendants urged swift passage of bi-partisan legislation introduced to permanently prohibit passengers from carrying knives into the aircraft cabin and secure areas of airports.​

"As we honor the lives lost 16 years ago today, it is shocking that there is no law preventing knives aboard commercial aircraft,” said Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA).  “Flight attendants are on the front lines of protecting airline passengers, and this bill is vital to securing our aircraft cabins as we remain ever vigilant in preventing another tragedy from occurring.”​

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) proposed four years ago, but never implemented, a policy change that would have allowed passengers to carry certain small knives onto planes.  The bicameral legislation introduced today – by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) – would ban TSA from changing the list of items prohibited from being brought onto planes to permit passengers to carrying small, non-locking knives.

Nelson noted that even small knives can be potent weapons used in a terrorist attack or a criminal act, endangering the lives of passengers and crew.  AFA has led the fight to prohibit knives from being allowed on planes, in carry-on bags, and past security checkpoints in airports.

"Never Forget is not just a thought; it is a promise of action," stated Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. "Sixteen years is far too long to wait for passage of common sense legislation to keep knives out of the aircraft cabin. Four flights, our friends, our family, our nation's security - all taken in a moment by those with evil in their hearts and small knives in their hands. Never again. We thank Senator Markey, Congressman Joyce and Congressman Lipinski for taking action to keep knives out of the aircraft cabin for good."​

AFA has been joined by unions representing TSA screeners, pilots, and law enforcement officers in opposing any relaxation of bans on knives on planes.  AFA notes that not only were knives used in the September 11 attacks, and remain a weapon used by terrorists today, but they also raise significant risks when in the hands of mentally ill or intoxicated passengers.

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The Association of Flight Attendants is the Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for 72 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 50,000 Flight Attendants come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.

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