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Home > Air Security > Do full service airlines compromise on security or safety of their planes?
Do full service airlines compromise on security or safety of their planes?
Aviation - Air Security
Written by Capt Lim   
Tuesday, 22 March 2016 16:01

Things Not to Pack for Airlines: Travel Solutions

Hi Capt Lim,

I have just completed reading your book. Almost all you wrote reflected accurately the life experience of an aviator. I was one myself and now retired.

There is one question that I don't seem to get any answer from aviation editors, airport or airline security experts on security matter.

My nail clipper was confiscated at airport security check. It was deemed an offensive weapon. It was no point arguing with this inflexible agent as he/she was doing his/her job.

The next thing when you are on board and during meal service, you are presented with metal forks/knife/spoons which are more offensive.

Another issue: what about the duty-free liquor bottles bought at duty free shops or on board? These can easily be broken and use as weapons.

And the sharp carving knives in the galleys for cutting roast beef for Business/First Class passengers?

So it appears full service airlines do compromise security/safety in the competitive airline businesses.

I am sure you will at least reply to my query. The other authorities did not even acknowledge or reply to my query.

Keep up the good job training the younger aviators.


PS Lee

Hi Lee,

Before September 11 2001, metal cutleries were allowed in planes but after that, they were banned because of their potential use as weapons on planes.

However, sometime in April 2005, after numerous complaints by passengers about the poor quality of plastic knives and forks, their ban was removed in some countries. So it was up to the airlines to implement the rules. Some airlines went back to using metal cutlery whilst others continue to use plastics.

The relevant rules (Aviation Transport Security (Prohibited Items) Instrument 2012) clearly specify items that are prohibited and cannot be taken on board an aircraft as carry-on baggage. Examples are, ‘Sporting goods, kitchen utensils, tools, and other things with sharp edges or points capable of injuring a person:’

In Australia, aviation reforms have now allowed metal cutlery back on planes. In fact, its Transport Minister was quoted as saying, “…the idea that nail clippers or knitting needles are a bigger threat to airline security than the metal forks which are handed out with meals fails the common sense test…”

Just like you, my nail clipper was also once confiscated when I inadvertently left it in my cabin bag!

It is true that duty free liquor bottles can also be used as weapons and so are knives for cutting roast beef for the First Class or Business class passengers of full service airlines. I do not have an answer for this. Perhaps they are more careful in the handling of those items
Today, many other countries in the world including the USA, Europe and Israel have already lifted bans on the use of metal cutlery and revised their lists of prohibited items.

I believe, in providing better and competitive services, most full service airlines do not intentionally compromise on the security or safety of their planes.

Items Allowed On U.S. Airplanes


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