TSA Security checkpoint - photo courtesy 123rf.com- Teri Virbikis
TSA Security checkpoint – photo courtesy 123rf.com- Teri Virbikis

Today was supposed to be the day that the TSA’s new Prohibited Items List for carry-on luggage was to go into effect, easing restrictions for travelers. Instead, an outcry from the public and Flight Attendant unions has temporarily delayed the new rules further confusing passengers.

In a statement released by this week by the TSA, the move is “to accommodate further input from the Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC), which includes representatives from the aviation community, passenger advocates, law enforcement experts, and other stakeholders.”

A month ago the TSA lifted a number of items from the list including: most small pocket knives and knife blades (up to 6cm), bats weighing less than 24 inches, lacrosse sticks, pool cues, hockey sticks and up to two golf clubs.

The idea of lifting these restrictions was spurred by an effort to reduce the amount of time TSA agents spend looking for items considered to be less of a security threat than other items.

The biggest outcry comes from Flight Attendants unions who will push hard to make this temporary halt, permanent. The Association for Professional Flight Attendants is specifically concerned about the allowance of knives.

In a statement, the APFA said, “the United States has banned all knives from commercial flights since the September 11, 2001, attacks for good reason: Knives were the terrorists’ weapons of choice in bringing down four jetliners and murdering thousands of Americans. All knives should be banned from planes permanently.”

TSA Administrator John Pistole says the agency is focused on higher priority threats like explosives. This week, Pistole said that the bombings in Boston underscore the need for a “continued focus on explosives.” That seems the be where their argument stands as a reason to allow TSA agents to spend less time looking for snow globes, and more time searching for true security threats.

Speaking of those snow globes – are they or aren’t they allowed? Last year, I watched a little girl in front of me in the security line have her small Mickey Mouse snow globe confiscated. It broke my heart as I wondered what on earth they thought she might do with her Disney souvenir that she was hauling back from vacation. Since then, it appears that the TSA has eased restrictions on snow globes. As of today, here is the TSA’s official policy on the liquid shakers:

Snow globes that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces of liquid (approximately tennis ball size) can be packed in your carry-on bag ONLY if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit into your one quart-sized, resealable plastic bag. Each passenger can only bring one quart-sized bag with 3.4oz or smaller containers. Larger snow globes must be packed in checked baggage.

As the debates continue about what should and shouldn’t be allowed in carry-on luggage, people must continue traveling.  They’re confused, frustrated, fed-up and have to face the hassle of what they can and cannot pack every time they plan a trip. In the meantime, the TSA provides a great search tool on the front page of their website conveniently called Can I Bring My…? I recommend using this as your pre-screening tool before you travel to save yourself time and aggravation.