*It happened when I was on my way through security at Honolulu International Airport.
I was on a “eat more fruit and drink more water” regimen in an effort to lose weight (story of my life.) And I forgot about the steak knife in my purse I used to cut fruit. It was before 911 so I wasn’t escorted away in handcuffs, but I was pulled out of the security line, vigorously questioned and then sent on my way. A few weeks later I received a letter in the mail demanding payment for a fine. My attorney made it go away, and life resumed as usual.
Fast forward to a post 911 world where everything from small containers of liquid to golf clubs are banned in carry-on luggage. And after reading about the damage a trained terrorist can do using simple household items, I understand the restrictions. So after spending billions of dollars on TSA agents and state of the art security equipment designed to detect the smallest mass of metal – including my alkaline batteries destined to do no harm to anyone – why would TSA/Homeland Security backtrack on what seemed to be a well thought-out policy and allow knives on airplanes? If a two-ounce bottle of liquid can be dangerous, a two-inch knife can be dangerous.
The 90,000 members of the Flight Attendants Union Coalition say knives on a plane is a bad idea. They should know. It’s hard enough to keep a stress free environment 30,000 feet in the air while babies cry and alcoholics binge without having to keep a third eye on the lookout for the inappropriate use of knives on a plane.
One of my flight attendant friends was punched in the face by a passenger who refused to turn off her cell phone to prepare for landing. Another was the victim of a verbal assault because she refused to serve a drunken passenger more drinks. And you probably remember the recent story about the passenger who (allegedly) slapped a crying baby because he couldn’t stand the noise. The air up there makes some people behave strangely. Just when everybody gets used to the rules somebody who probably never has had to deal with unruly passengers on a plane decides to add knives to the mix.
Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas metroplex. For comments, questions or to schedule speaking engagements email her at email@example.com