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Monday, 8 November 2004

"Wings" added to prohibited items list, citing sharp edges

The Transportation Security Administration announced today that it has updated its list of Permitted and Prohibited Items. Among the items added include aircraft wings, effectively banning the commercial aircraft intended to ferry passengers from airport terminals.

The new security directive, which goes into effect on Monday, was issued by TSA headquarters. Officials we contacted declined to comment, instead referring us to TSA's public relations office.

"The edges of many aircraft wings are what we here at the TSA call sharp," said TSA spokesman Mark Hatfield, Jr. "Because we have identified sharp things as being bad the TSA has made a decision that aircraft wings will no longer be allowed at airport terminals."

When asked about the distinction between passengers carrying prohibited items on to planes and planes themselves, Hatfield told us that the TSA did not make such distinctions.

"Prohibited means prohibited," Hatfield said. "It doesn't matter if it's inside the passenger terminal or outside. No aircraft with wings will be allowed at the terminals starting Monday. In accordance with the new TSA security directive, aircraft without wings will still be allowed to park at terminal gates as they have in the past."

The new policy has airline officials up in arms.

"How in the hell are aircraft supposed to fly without wings? It's ludicrous," said an airline pilot who asked not to be identified for fear of being placed on the "No-fly list."

"Banning aircraft with wings is like banning cars with tires. I thought that the rule against flushing toilets while parked at the terminal was stupid but this takes the cake."

Food vendors in the airport tell us that tehy are expecting record sales after the policy goes into effect.

"If all of these people coming here are stuck without a plane to fly," said one vendor, "they'll probably buy something to eat. Because when Americans aren't complaining about something they're usually eating."

Several passengers that we spoke with seem to be taking the new rules in stride. Carol Munterson, a mother of seven from Gary, Indiana, said the new policy was right in line with other TSA rules.

"The TSA has our [passengers'] best interest in mind," she told us. "I honestly believe that, and I'll gladly board a plane with no wings if that means that no terrorists have put a nuclear bomb on the plane."

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