Airports ease up on carry-on restrictions

Posted at: 03/07/2013 11:10 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

We all know the rules when going through airport security with carry-on luggage.
Bottled water? Forget it. Full-sized shampoo?  Definitely not. But a pocket knife? No problem.

For more than a decade the ticket counter was really the last place you were able to get through an airport with a small pocket-knife, but starting next month, that is all going to change.

At the checkpoint, shoes come off, carry-ons go on the belt and everyone and everything is scanned.

At the Albuquerque International Sunport knives are the most common objects taken away from passengers.

"Most men in New Mexico, they carry a little pocket knife," George Andler, Federal Security Director of New Mexico, said; adding, TSA officials should be focusing on the more harmful items.

"Liquids and gels, because they pose a threat with liquid explosives, plastic explosives, those are the things we need to be looking at," Andler said.

Federal agents showed KOB Eyewitness News 4 some of the items confiscated at the Sunport just over a period of a few hours Thursday. TSA agents found everything from knives with long, thick blades to small pocket-sized knives packed inside travelers' carry-on luggage. 

The blade has to measure smaller than 2.36 inches and less than half an inch in width.  
While a pocket-knife may not be an explosive that could take down an aircraft, some passengers emphasized, a knife is still weapon.

"Why now a knife is okay, I don't get it," one traveler said.

"I'm not worried about it, but if he decides to put it to my throat, then it's another story," another traveler said.

On average at the Sunport, about 200 lbs. of prohibited items are destroyed in a month.  
About half those items are knives.

"In no way are we loosening security, we're actually helping the process helping our officers focus on what's really important as far as what's a threat to aviation," Andler said.

The security changes go into effect starting April 25.