FROM CNN WIRES:
Washington (CNN) - Lawmakers are expected to take up a proposal Friday aimed at ending budget-related air traffic controller furloughs that have been blamed for widespread flight delays.
The U.S. Senate approved the measure Thursday. The House of Representatives is set to vote Friday, ending a major effort by both chambers as delays snarled traffic at airports.
The bipartisan agreement giving Transportation Department budget planners new flexibility for dealing with forced spending cuts cleared the chamber unanimously.
This morning on "Starting Point," CNN's Zain Asher reports on federal government efforts to fix travel delays and recaps delays expected today at the nation's airports.
READ MORE: House set to vote on proposal to end air traffic controller furloughs
Local news chopper video caught a small plane coming in for a landing after the landing gear jammed.
Recently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) revised regulations to allow small pocket knives to be carried onto airplanes, effective April 25.
Under the new rules, knives with blades no longer than 2.36" or 6 cm and less than a half-inch wide will be allowed in airline cabins as long as the blade is retractable and does not lock into place. While razor blades and box cutters are still prohibited, this will be the first time such items will be allowed on board since security measures were heightened following the Sept. 11th attacks.
Congress is threatening action over the TSA's controversial decision. New York Senator Charles Schumer says if the TSA does not reinstate the ban on small knives, he will author legislation to force them to do so.
Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson also opposes the TSA's decision, saying in a statement: "These items have been banned for more than 11 years and will add little value to the customer security process flow in relation to the additional risk for our cabin staff and customers."
Sara Nelson, vice president of the Association of Flight Attendants International, joins "Starting Point" to explain why the association is also against the TSA's decision.
Nelson says flight attendants are responsible for deescalating and containing problems that happen on a daily basis on board, and opposes the ruling for potentially bringing in more danger and complicating that responsibility.
“What the TSA is saying is that security stops at the cockpit door," She says. "That doesn't sit well with the flight attendants who are first responders on board and the last line of defense, or any of the passengers who are in our care.”
“Introducing weapons into that scenario just doesn't make sense,” she adds.
The AFA has started a petition to stop the TSA policy, and invite people to sign it at noknivesonplanes.com
FROM CNN WIRES:
(CNN) - An Idaho man accused of uttering a racial slur and slapping a crying 19-month-old boy on a Delta Air Lines flight is now out of a job.
Joe Rickey Hundley of Hayden, Idaho, was charged with assaulting a minor in the February 8 incident. His company, which initially suspended him, said Sunday that Hundley no longer has his job.
"Reports of the recent behavior of one of our business unit executives while on personal travel are offensive and disturbing," said a statement from AGC Aerospace & Defense. "We have taken this matter very seriously and worked diligently to examine it since learning of the matter on Friday afternoon.
"As of Sunday, the executive is no longer employed with the company."
AGC Aerospace & Defense supplies technology and other services to the military and businesses.
The family's attorney, John Thompson, said they have not decided yet whether to sue. But he said Monday they believe Hundley should be punished beyond the loss of his job and possible one-year federal prison sentence.
"The family wants to make sure that Mr. Hundley and anyone like Mr. Hundley never does something like that again," he said on CNN's "Starting Point."
READ MORE: Man accused of slapping crying boy on Delta flight is out of a job
It's not often that we get to reference "Star Wars" on the show, but when engineers say they're going to test an unmanned aircraft and have it fly at five times the speed of sound, it just seems appropriate.
This morning on "Early Start," CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr explained why engineers and geeks are excited about the Air Force's unmanned hypersonic test flight of the X-51A "Waverider" aircraft off the coast of California today.
Aerospace engineers are hoping they can keep the aircraft flying for five minutes at Mach 6, or about 4,500 miles per hour...five times the speed of sound. That's fast enough to fly from New York to London in less than an hour. If the test flight is successful, it could usher in the next generation of missiles, military aircraft, spacecraft and maybe even passenger planes.
Starr says the Pentagon believes this is the kind of military technology that would give the U.S. an advantage. The practical applications can be related to recent examples. Starr relates it to one operation in 1998, when the government used Tomahawk missiles to attack a camp they believed Osama Bin Laden was training at. By the time they arranged everything to send to the target, Bin Laden was long gone. Starr explains that this type of flight would compresses military decision making time to within minutes.
With the Waverider test, the Air Force wants to see if this type of flight is feasible. If it is, the U.S. military could be looking at putting missiles and potentially troops on target within minutes and hours.
See Starr's report on "Early Start" this morning in the video above.
Starting Point airs weekdays from 7am to 9am ET on CNN. Check in often to join the daily conversation.