The Aug. 13 front-page story "Airline Security Changes Planned" said that airline passengers will be allowed to carry ice picks aboard as well as knives no longer than five inches.

Why anyone would be carrying an ice pick in this day of ice cube dispensers is a mystery. All the same, it is a lethal weapon.

Of course new specifications for acceptable sharp objects will not speed up security checks because the Transportation Security Administration's checkers will still open bags to verify that no knife longer than five inches is being carried on board.

On the bright side, maybe the more liberal attitude about sharp objects will allow airlines to revert to real knives and forks.

WILLIAM T. SMITH

McLean

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As an airline pilot, I believe that the possible change to the Transportation Security Administration's position on passenger screening makes sense, but even with the improved cockpit security, I am dismayed by any proposal to permit possible weapons aboard that could be used against crews and passengers.

Also the proposal to exempt certain "trusted" travelers from screening does not include flight crews. Since Sept. 11, 2001, our nation's aircrews have been subjected to numerous background checks. To permit politicians easier access to the aircraft than the men and women who fly them demonstrates a two-class attitude.

Granting relief to operating flight crews also would do more to reduce lines at checkpoints than permitting a handful of lawmakers, judges or military officials to bypass security.

SCOTT GRILLO

Lancaster, Pa.