Lighters are banned from airliners beginning this week. They’ve never been allowed in checked baggage. This provides one more layer of security for the nation’s travelers. The Transportation Security Administration says the lighter ban is in response to a provision in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. It adds butane, absorbed-fuel or Zippo-type, electric or battery-powered and novelty lighters to the TSA’s list of prohibited items. Federal Security Director at Southwest Florida International Airport, Bob Cohen, says the rules are aimed at preventing air piracy and the use of an airplane as a weapon.
“As you remember Richard Reed had a potential shoe bomb that he could ignite and the reduction of that lighter capability or capacity on the aircraft precludes the wherewithal to do that.”
TSA agents will dispose of lighters brought to checkpoints. Passengers at some airports may be able to ship them via a private company for a fee but Cohen strongly recommends passengers just leave lighters home from now on. Matches on the other hand are ok for now.
“Matches at this point are still allowed. You can have up to four little match books. That’s also still being considered down the road and may be precluded and may not. It’s still being discussed up in Washington.”
TSA screeners will begin to enforce the new rule banning ALL lighters from carry-on luggage, from people’s pockets and in checked baggage on Thursday.
Wednesday, 13 April 2005 01:00