The US Transportation Administration (TSA) has modified its list of prohibited items that can be carried on aircraft on an overall risk-based security approach with effect from 25 April 2013.
The modified rule will allow passengers to carry small pocket knives with non-locking blades smaller than 2.36-inch and less than 1/2 inch in width.
Passengers will also be allowed to carry small and toy bats, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, billiard cues and two golf clubs, while the list retains razor blades and box cutters, full-size baseball, softball and cricket bats.
TSA spokesman David Castelveter said that the decision was made to bring US regulations more in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards and would also assist in offering an improved passenger experience.
"This is part of an overall risk-based security approach, which allows transportation security officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher-threat items such as explosives," Castelveter said.
The Flight Attendants Union Coalition said that the decision was poor and short-sighted.
"Continued prohibition of these items is an integral layer in making our aviation system secure and must remain in place," the Coalition said.
"As the last line of defence in the cabin and key aviation partners, we believe that these proposed changes will further endanger the lives of all flight attendants and the passengers we work so hard to keep safe and secure."
The coalition alleged that despite repeated requests for modernised training to include basic self-defence manoeuvres, flight attendants have not yet received mandatory training to effectively recognise and defend others against attacks on board the aircraft.
"Flight Attendants are the front line safety and security professionals onboard every commercial passenger aircraft in this country and must be given the tools and training to protect ourselves, our passengers and the aircraft," the Coalition said.