The Good, Bad and Ugly of Airlines

The Bad

Knives on planes: This might actually fall under the "good" category as far as some are concerned but plenty of flight attendants and pilots don't like the TSA's decision to allow pocket knives on plane. As the TSA's Nico Melendez told me, today's biggest threat is from explosives not bad guys - thanks in part to locking cockpit doors and federal air marshals - so the feds are lifting the little knife ban as of April 25.

Knives, battle axes, machetes, bring 'em all on, says former TSA chief Kip Hawley, who says if he was still in charge, he'd welcome armed passengers: "Bring anything you want that is pointy and sharp." Hawley thinks this could deter hijackers and since almost anything can be used as a weapon - including duct tape - what the heck (more on an ingenious new use for duct tape in just a moment).

Flights attendants call this outrageous. Their concern is attacks against the good guys - like cabin crews! - adding they deal with unruly passengers "every day." Passengers like, the head-butter.

The Ugly

A recent New York to San Diego flight on JetBlue had to divert to Denver after a woman in one of the premium seats objected when a coach passenger was moved next to her (apparently his seatback TV screen back in steerage was broken). Ms. Elite Seat's beef was she'd paid big bucks for her little slice of luxury and the interloper didn't. She had a point, but went about solving the dilemma in the worst way possible: according to at least one news report, she head-butted a flight attendant. Interestingly, she was removed from the plane but no arrest was made.

Then there's the duct tape incident, which qualifies as a silver lining in my playbook: a 46-year-old Icelandair passenger reportedly drank up all his duty-free liquor then went on a mid-air rampage, choking his female seatmate then stomping about while screaming that the plane was about to crash. Fed-up fellow passengers tackled him, shoved him back in his seat and stuck him there with duct tape.

Not so long ago, I wrote about ingenious things travelers could do with duct tape for this very column; needless to say, this wasn't one of those things! Not sure if the 2002 movie, "Duct Tape Forever" (yes, that's the title) included anything like this but I'll let you know if I ever find anyone who's seen it.

The opinions expressed by Rick Seaney are his alone and not those of ABC News.

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