Friday, November 21, 2014

TSA Week in Review - 40 Loaded Firearms, 92 Pounds of Marijuana, Explosives Training Kit & More



An explosives training kit was discovered in a traveler’s checked bag at Northwest Florida (VPS).
IED Training Kit (VPS)
Inert Ordnance and Grenades etc. – We continue to find inert grenades and other weaponry on a weekly basis. Please keep in mind that if an item looks like a real bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited. When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays because the explosives detection professionals must respond to resolve the alarm. Even if they are novelty items, you are prohibited from bringing them on the aircraft.  Read here on why inert items cause problems.
  • An explosives training kit was discovered in a traveler’s checked bag at Northwest Florida (VPS).
  • 3 inert/empty 105mm mortar shells with live primers were discovered in a checked bag at Atlanta (ATL).
  • An inert grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at St. Petersburg (PIE).

92 Pounds of Marijuana
92 Pounds of Marijuana (PHX)
92 Pounds of Marijuana: As we’ve said before, we’re not looking for illegal narcotics, but we have to report them to law enforcement when discovered. With that said, it’s pretty hard to not come across 92 pounds of marijuana as our checked baggage screening officers did in Phoenix (PHX). In a separate event, 18 bags of heroin were discovered on the leg of an Atlantic City (ACY) passenger during Advanced Imaging Technology screening.  

Loaded Firearm (ATL)
Loaded Firearm (ATL)
50 Firearms Discovered This WeekOf the 50 firearms, 40 were loaded and 16 had rounds chambered.

Artfully Concealed Prohibited Items – It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure you are not carrying any prohibited items. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag or on your body, you could be cited and possibly arrested by law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found by our officers in strange places.
  • A marijuana pipe was discovered concealed inside a hollowed out peanut butter jar in a checked bag at Denver (DEN).
  • After being screened by Advanced Imaging Technology, a small jar of peanut butter with marijuana inside was discovered above the waistband of a Sacramento (SMF) passenger.
Illegal Narcotics
Illegal Concealed Narcotics Discovered at (L-R) SMF & DEN
What Not to Say at an Airport – Statements like these not only delay the people who said them but can also inconvenience many other passengers if the checkpoint or terminal has to be evacuated:
  • A San Francisco (SFO) traveler stated to a nearby U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer, “I have a bomb.” His statement led to a one-hour delay that affected 358 passengers and 20 crew members. He didn’t have a bomb, but he was arrested by law enforcement on a state charge.

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our officers also regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, bb and pellet guns, airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons and many other prohibited items too numerous to note.

Bang Stick (IAD) & Giant Scissors and Other Sharp Objects (SEA)
Bang Stick (IAD) & Giant Scissors and Other Sharp Objects (SEA)
Stun Guns – 15 stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags. Two were discovered at Las Vegas (LAS), two more at New York Kennedy (JFK), and the remainder were discovered at Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Dallas Love (DAL), Denver (DEN), Long Beach (LGB), Oakland (OAK), Orlando (MCO), Pensacola (PNS), Sacramento (SMF), San Diego (SAN), Seattle (SEA), and Spokane (GEG).
Ammunition – When packed properly, ammunition can be transported in your checked baggage, but it is never permissible to pack ammo in your carry-on bag.
(Clockwise From Top) Forearms Discovered At: MEM, MEM, LBB & IAH
(Clockwise From Top) Firearms Discovered At: MEM, MEM, LBB & IAH
(Left - Right) Firearms Discovered At: BNA, LGB & FLL
(Left - Right) Firearms Discovered At: BNA, LGB & FLL


50 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 50 firearms, 40 were loaded and 16 had rounds chambered.

*In order to provide a timely weekly update, this data is compiled from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly from what is reported in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will be actual numbers and not estimates.

You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline. You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with your firearms. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $7,500. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home. Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that's for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.

If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check out our TSA Blog Year in Review for 2013. You can also check out 2011 & 2012 as well.

Follow @TSABlogTeam on Twitter and Instagram!


If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

TSA 2014 Holiday Travel Tips




Holiday Travel Banner
It’s that time of year again where we wonder where our summer went, and start gearing up for the holidays.

According to Airlines for America (A4A),  airports and airlines anticipate 24.6 million air travelers nationwide during the upcoming 12-day Thanksgiving travel period, a 1.5 percent increase over 2013. On an average day, TSA screens nearly 1.8 million travelers at 450 U.S. airports, including 3 million carry-on bags and 1.2 million checked bags.

With Thanksgiving comes the busiest travel season of the year, and with many infrequent or first-time travelers, we always like to offer a cornucopia of various travel tips and links to everything you might want to know prior to traveling.

Expedited Screening: TSA continues to expand TSA Pre✓®, which expedites checkpoint screening for known travelers and active duty service members, with similar benefits for passengers 12 and under and 75 and older. TSA Pre® is currently available at 123 airports. Remember, entering incorrect information can lead to not being selected for TSA Pre✓®. Visit dhs.gov/tt to learn more about trusted traveler programs that offer expedited screening.

Military Travel: TSA offers screening benefits for members of the U.S. Armed forces. As mentioned above, active duty service members and members of four United States Service Academies are eligible for expedited screening through TSA Pre®. Supply your DoD ID number as your Known Traveler Number on each reservation.

The MyTSA App: Want TSA information anywhere, anytime?  Use the MyTSA app. Use the  “Can I Bring My…” tool to enter the item you want to pack. It will tell you whether you can pack it in your carry-on or checked bag. This isn’t a Magic 8 Ball, so please don’t expect it to prophetically answer yes and no questions. A wait time feature is also available. It relies on crowd sourcing, which means the more people who use it, the better. 

Passenger Support: Call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 if you or a family member has a disability or medical condition with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint 72 hours prior to traveling. 

Wrapped gifts are allowed, but not encouraged: Wrapped gifts are allowed, but we recommend waiting until you land to wrap them. If there’s something in the gift that needs to be inspected, we may have to open it. Our officers try their best not to mangle the gift wrap, but it’s not a guarantee and it also slows down the line for everybody else when we have to do this. 

Liquids, Gels & Aerosols: If you’re checking a bag, make your life simple by packing liquids in your checked baggage. That way, you don’t have to worry about the liquids rules. You’re allowed to take as many 3.4 ounce or less sized containers that will fit in one sealed clear quart-sized zip-top bag – and one bag per person. Make sure you take the zip-top bag out of your carry-on prior to sending it through the X-ray.

Here is some information on liquid, aerosol and gel items:

  • Deodorant: Stick deodorant is not limited to 3.4 oz or less, but gel or spray deodorant i
  • Makeup: Any liquid makeup cosmetics such as eyeliner, nail polish, liquid foundation, etc., should be placed in the baggie. That goes for perfume as well. Powder makeup is fine.
  • Beverages: Wine, liquor, beer and all of your favorite beverages are permitted in your checked baggage. You can also bring beverages packaged in 3.4 oz or less bottles in your carry-on bags in the 3-1-1 baggie.
  • Foods: Cakes, pies, bread, donuts, turkeys, etc., are all permitted. Read the list of foods that should be placed in your checked bags or shipped if they don’t comply with the carry-on rules. 
Dry Ice: Find out how to travel with dry ice to keep your favorite Thanksgiving vittles preserved while traveling.

Shaving Razors: Certain razors are permitted. Know which ones you can fly with in this blog post

Forgotten or Lost IDs: If you have lost or forgotten your ID, you will still be permitted to fly as long as you help us verify you are who you say you are by answering a few questions.   

Medication: One of the more popular questions we get from travelers is: “Can I travel with my medication?” The answer is yes, with some qualifiers.

Traveling With Children: Did you know that children 12 and under can keep their shoes on? Read about the screening process how to best pack for your child.

Traveling With a Pet: Contact your airline first to ask about requirements, fees, or restrictions they might have. Read about going through screening with your pet.

Jewelry: Read about the best practices when going through security with your jewelry. There are a few different choices that you can make based on what kind of jewelry it is.  

Double Check: If you’re grabbing a bag, suitcase, briefcase, jacket and other items you haven’t used in a while, be sure to give them the onceover so you don’t accidentally take something prohibited through the checkpoint. Many people who have brought guns, ammunition, knives, and other prohibited item say that they did so unknowingly.

Lose Something? Contact the airport lost and found. Tape your business card or contact info to your valuable electronics. Not only does this help us contact you if you lose your items, but it prevents travelers from grabbing the wrong item by mistake. 

Of course, you can always contact TSA with questions and feedback.

Phone: 1-866-289-9673
Email: TSA-ContactCenter@tsa.dhs.gov
Hours: Weekdays 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. ET
Weekends/Holidays: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET

Happy Holidays!


Follow @TSABlogTeam on Twitter and Instagram!


If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

TSA Week in Review - 29 Loaded Firearms, Concealed Contraband in Meat, and More


Loaded Firearm Discovered in Carry-on Bag at TYS
Loaded Firearm Discovered in Carry-on Bag at TYS

35 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 35 firearms, 29 were loaded and 7 had rounds chambered.

Inert Ordnance and Grenades etc. – We continue to find inert grenades and other weaponry on a weekly basis. Please keep in mind that if an item looks like a real bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited. When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays because the explosives detection professionals must resolve the alarm to determine the level of threat. Even if they are novelty items, you cannot bring them on a plane.  Read here on why inert items cause problems.
  • An inert warhead used for training was discovered in a carry-on bag at Tucson (TUS).
Inert Warhead Discovered in Carry-on Bag At Tuscon (TUS)
Inert Warhead Discovered in Carry-on Bag At Tuscon (TUS)

Nearly Three Pounds of Cocaine Discovered in Meat at SJC
Nearly Three Pounds of Cocaine Discovered in Meat at SJC
Artfully Concealed Prohibited Items – It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure you are not carrying prohibited items. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag or on your body, you could be cited and possibly arrested by local law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found by our officers in strange places.
  • A San Jose (SJC) passenger was arrested after nearly three pounds of cocaine was discovered in his checked baggage wrapped inside a package of raw meat.
  • A cane sword with a 10½-inch blade was discovered at Dayton (DAY).

Cane Sword Discovered at Dayton (DAY)
Cane Sword Discovered at Dayton (DAY)
Throwing Knives (LAS)
Miscellaneous Prohibited Items In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our officers also regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, bb and pellet guns, airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons and many other prohibited items too numerous to note.

Stun Guns14 stun guns were discovered in carry-on bags this week. Two were discovered at Denver (DEN), and the remainder were discovered at Anchorage (ANC), Birmingham (BHM), Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Jacksonville (JAX), Las Vegas (LAS), Little Rock (LIT), Memphis (MEM), New York LaGuardia (LGA), Palm Beach (PBI), Pasco (PSC), Sacramento (SMF), and San Francisco (SFO). 
(Clockwise From Top Left Corner) Firearms Discovered At DAL, PHX, FAT & DTW
*In order to provide a timely weekly update, this data is compiled from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly from what is reported in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will be actual numbers and not estimates.

You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline. You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with your firearms. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $7,500. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home. Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that's for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.

If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check out our TSA Blog Year in Review for 2013. You can also check out 2011 & 2012 as well.

Follow @TSABlogTeam on Twitter and Instagram!


If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.