This week in flight safety: TSA allows knives on planes, FAA announces tower closures

What a week for flight safety. In just the last couple days, the TSA announced it will loosen the rules and allow some knives in cary-ons, and the FAA announced it will shut down 173 air traffic control towers.

As part of the broader shift to speed up the screening process and focus more on finding explosives, the TSA released their “Changes to the Prohibited Items List,” which says folding knives that are less than 2.36 inches tall and 1/2 inch wide will be permitted in cary-ons.

Larger knives and ones with fixed blades, locks and molded grips are still banned, as are switch blades and box cutters.

Some previously banned sporting equipment like golf clubs, ski poles and certain novelty baseball bats (bats that are less than 24 inches long, or more than 24 inches but less than 24 ounces) will also be allowed.

Liquids and gels in greater than 3.4-ounce (100ml) containers are still banned, and almost everyone will still have to remove their shoes and take their laptops out of their computer bags at checkpoints.

If that leaves you feeling confused about safety, Tuesday, the FAA announced that 173 air traffic control towers at small to mid-sized airports will close April 7 because of forced budget cuts.

Spenser Dickerson, head of the Contract Tower Association, told CNN, “It’s hard for us to see the fairness in the budget cuts. It seems the contract tower program is taking a high, disproportionate cut. We have serious concerns about the safety, efficiency and loss of jobs in almost 150 communities across the country.’

So, quick recap. Knives: cool. Dannon yogurt: not cool. A bunch of contracted Air Control Towers: cool, but not cool enough.

It seems like people traveling with sports equipment are the only ones coming out ahead.