SOUTH BEND -- Waiting to catch a flight home to Oregon from South Bend Regional Airport, Emanuel Albrecht recalled an expensive pocket knife he once had to throw away at a security checkpoint before boarding his plane.
Similarly, his wife Alma remembered tossing a corkscrew she tried to carry on a flight, brought in the expectation that her hotel would not supply one.
After April 25, the Albrechts will be able to pack these items in a carry-on bag and clear security, no problem.
The Transportation Security Administration announced Tuesday that travelers can now carry on to planes small, novelty-sized knives as well as up to two golf clubs, toy bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks and lacrosse sticks.
The move generated mixed reactions from travelers in South Bend today, from uneasiness to indifference to approval, though some pointed out the seeming oddity that flyers can travel with a corkscrew but still can't carry on a bottle of wine.
"At the time, it upset me," Emanuel Albrecht said of having to throw away his pocket knife in the past. "I didn't see it as a weapon."
The Albrechts cited approval for the measure, which mandates the knives allowed on planes must have a blade length no longer than 2.36 inches and a width of half an inch.
The TSA still does not allow knives with locking or fixed blades, razors or box cutters in carry-on bags.
Julie Curtis, marketing director for South Bend Regional Airport, said the airport does not comment on TSA matters.
Several local travel agencies said agents haven't yet had much feedback on the measure, but would direct clients with questions to the TSA website.
The agency said the move aims to free up agents' time to focus on bigger threats, like explosives.
Yet some travelers said they felt uneasy when they heard about the policy change.
"I'm skeptical of it," Dowagiac resident Sandy Claborn said. "I'd rather there not be knives onboard."
The Michigan woman was traveling home from a trip to Alabama when she heard of the change.
"Why would you need it?" she said.
Natalie Rank, also of Dowagiac, agreed that the new allowance made her slightly nervous, and, she said, she could understand the utility of carrying on sporting equipment more so than a small knife.
"People who love golf are passionate about their golf clubs," Rank said. "I get the golf clubs."
The TSA changes that go into effect April 25 align with international aviation standards.
Not everyone traveling felt the impact of the alteration, though.
When asked about the new policy, Mishawaka native Heidi Else said, "So?"
The woman who flew into South Bend from North Carolina said the news was buzzing around the North Carolina airport she departed from, but she said the announcement didn't affect her.
Staff writer Madeline Buckley: