TODAY

TODAY   |  March 07, 2013

Flight attendant: TSA change ‘is outrageous’

The latest TSA rule change, which will allow travelers to carry small pocket knives and other items previously banned on airplanes, has been receiving intense criticism. Sara Nelson of the Association of Flight Attendants talks about why this change is making flight attendants nervous.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> meanwhile, there is new opposition to the tsa's decision to allow passengers to carry small knives on the planes. representatives for the federal air marshals and flight attendants say they want that policy change to be reconsidered. sarah nelson is the president of the association of flight attendants and also a flight attendant for united airlines . good to have you here.

>> thank you so much.

>> were you shocked by the policy change? did it come as a complete surprise to you?

>> a complete surprise. we were not briefed or advised and i'm hearing from flight attendants throughout the country, this has to be changed.

>> we have props on the table and you can see some of the knives now allowed to be carried to a flight. you're a flight attendant standing in the center aisle going over safety procedures. how will you feel -- they're not big but can be used as weapons. how will you feel knowing some passengers may have those in their pockets.

>> they're a deadly weapon and it is unnecessary to put them on our aircraft. after september 11th , the policy changed and changed for a reason. we didn't know what the threat-

>> what has the area you worry about most? you're standing on the plane. what's the scenario.

>> it comes in a lot of different fashions. we talk about what happened on september 11th . we have unruly passengers. fuller planes than ever and don't have air marshals on every flight. we have passengers that act out. if you put a weapon in their hand the situation we can contain today with the help of the percentages we direct, but this is unnecessary.

>> we invited the tsa to appear but they declined saying this allows transportation security officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives. in other words, focus on objects that can bring an airliner down. does that make any sense at all?

>> it doesn't make any sense to me because i'm a flight attendant who works in the cabin and my job is to act as first responder and last line of defense. we carry that with us everyday to work and millions of passengers that fly on airplanes expect this is a safe aviation system and expect to be protected. it's not just about protecting the cockpit and making sure that airplane doesn't come down, it's about protecting all the people in that cabin.

>> are you surprised the pilots association has come out in support of this policy change?

>> that's inextricably unfortunate because the flight attendants are in back as the last line of defense defending that aircraft. we need the support to make sure our cabin and workspace and travel space for millions of passengers is safe as well. this mat others to millions of passengers across the country whether you travel or not because we have loved ones who travel. and there are more of us than those who made this silly decision to change this policy. we have to take action together.

>> i want to mention it will go into effect april 25th unless there is action taken.

>> thank you. and go to our website.