Union to lawmakers: Let us protest knives on planes

The APFA said on Monday that it and other flight attendant unions should be included in the list of "stakeholders" who will be allowed to testify at the hearing on Thursday.

"In a letter to subcommittee Chairman Richard Hudson dated April 3, 2013, the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions requested the opportunity to testify on the hearing’s witness panel regarding the critical functions flight attendants perform in the day-to-day effort to secure America’s aviation system and the role their organization should play in the formation of transportation security policy," the APFA said. "The
Stakeholder Perspectives hearing would have been an optimum opportunity for
flight attendants to finally contribute to the policy discussion."

A hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee's Transportation Security subcommittee last month on TSA's risk-based initiatives was dominated by discussion of the change in the agency's policy on knives.

Since announcing the forthcoming change last month, the TSA has come under fire to reverse course on its decision, which will result in knives being allowed on planes for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists attacks.

The agency has steadfastly defended the change as a reasonable extension of its efforts to reshape the airport security process, arguing that taking small knives off its list of prohibited items will allow screeners to focus on looking for potential explosive devices.

Lawmakers have responded to the announcement by pointing out that hijackers used box cutters to take over planes on Sept. 11.

Representatives of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airlines for America (A4A), U.S. Travel Association, Express Association of America and American Association of Airport Executives are currently scheduled to testify at the hearing on Thursday.