Despite criticism from aviation workers, airlines, flight attendants and lawmakers, the Transportation Security Administration plans to go ahead with a plan to let passengers carry small knives onto planes.
On Thursday, TSA Administrator John Pistole told a congressional hearing that searching for knives is time-consuming.
“I think the decision is solid and it stands and we plan to move forward,” Pistole said, according to the Associated Press.
The change, which was announced March 5, is scheduled to go into effect April 25.
In addition to small knives, airline passengers will now be allowed to carry novelty or toy bats, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, cues for billiards and up to two golf clubs. (Really. That’s from the TSA’s blog post about the shift. It also has images, so you have a visual guide outlining what is or isn’t allowed.)
Full-sized baseball, softball or cricket bats remain prohibited, as do razor blades and box cutters.
Speaking on Thursday, Pistole said that with various security improvements put into place after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, it’s unlikely that small folding knives could be used to take over a plane. But searching for such knives is time consuming for agents, he said.
The TSA’s blog regularly chronicles the items that are confiscated each week by its agents. According to this week’s look back at confiscated items, TSA agents found 21 guns at checkpoints, and 20 of those were loaded. Agents also regularly report finding inert grenades and other such items. At Dulles International Airport this week, agents found a live smoke grenade and a stun gun.
The decision to allow small knives has come under widespread fire. Flight attendants and air marshals have decried the move. US Airways CEO Doug Parker and Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson both spoke out against the new policy, joining a chorus that also included Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
A petition on the White House’s We The People petition site, calling the ban on knives and similar objects “an integral layer in aviation security,” had more than 32,900 signatures as of Friday.
“If our officers can spend less time looking for small penknives and more time looking for explosive devices, we’re better at doing our job of protecting the safety of the American people,” TSA spokesman David Castelveter said this month. “A small knife will not enable a terrorist to bring down an airplane.”
Earlier this month, reports emerged that an investigator with a fake bomb on his body made it through security at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey. The TSA defended this, saying on its blog that such tests help them learn where improvements are needed.
WATCH: A report on the TSA’s plan to allow small knives aboard planes