The Federal Aviation Administration’s furlough of air traffic controllers that began last week has delayed flights across the nation. While that grabbed our attention, and for good reason, it was not the only change in the air. Summer may be just around the corner, but golfers won’t be able to bring putters onboard planes, after all. And campers will need to pack their Swiss Army knives in checked bags.

In a surprise move, the Transportation Security Administration reversed a decision that would have taken effect last Thursday allowing small knives and some sports items in a plane’s cabin. On that list: knives with blades no longer than 2.36 inches or half an inch wide, hockey sticks, ski poles, lacrosse sticks, billiard cues and golf clubs (but only two). Another item, fitting for this time of year: toy bats (the ballgame kind, not stuffed versions of the flying mammal, which have been welcome all along).

Just two days before the new rules went into effect, the TSA delayed their implementation, saying it will seek further input. TSA spokesman Carrie Harmon could not say when a new decision will be made or whether each item will be reassessed separately. For now, it seems as though souvenir baseball bats will remain banned primarily because they were on the list with knives. Though TSA had said allowing small knives would have put the United States in line with Europe, flight attendants, pilots and some fliers objected due to potential safety risks. A Travel Leaders survey found that 73 percent of American travelers were against allowing knives on airplanes.

Before packing your carry-on, check what’s allowed at After all, a delayed flight due to FAA furloughs is out of your control. A delay at security because of something you packed is not.


Contact Kerri Westenberg at