TSA Rule: Pocket Knives Finally to be Carry-Onable

There's a narrow ledge above the middle stall in the bathroom of the Billings, Mont., airport that's just a little wider than my 3-blade Old Timer pocketknife.

I'm familiar with its dimensions because on more than one occasion, I've been required to stash my knife there before flying out on a commercial flight. Luckily, the shelf is just obscure enough that my knife was still there when I returned.

I'm a frequent flier, so I feel like an unpolished rube when I inadvertently appear before the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with a knife in my pants. But I'm also a hunter, and for me, a pocketknife is almost a part of my anatomy. And I'd rather lose my knife to a janitor than to the black hole of TSA confiscations.

A revision of TSA rules may let me finally carry my most essential tool aboard airplanes. The federal agency has proposed allowing small pocketknives with blades shorter than 2.36 inches to be carried in passenger cabins of commercial flights.

The change is scheduled to take effect April 25, but it's not a done deal. Flight attendants and air marshals are objecting to the rule change over fears that any edged tool could be used as an offensive weapon.

I can see their point--after all, who would have thought box cutters could wreck so much havoc as they did in the hands of the 9/11 terrorists. But to me, allowing small knives on planes is a reasonable acknowledgement that pocketknives are an essential accessory for many of us, and legitimizing them will finally make us everyday blade-packers feel less like criminals.

And I won't have to choose between surrendering a favorite knife to a TSA agent or stashing it in a public restroom.

That's my blade story. Surely you have one of your own that's rooted in that sinking feeling of standing in a security line and realizing that you have a knife in your pocket. Let's hear them in the comments section.