Friday, July 1, 2011

Fireworks Should Fly In The Sky, Not On Planes

Fireworks
Photo: SSGT. LONO KOLLAR
The 4th of July is fast approaching and many of your are taking to the skies for your travel plans. This is your annual reminder to be sure to leave your fireworks at home and not take them on the plane. Be sure your children understand this as well as they tend to hide them in their bags. It’s an FAA violation that will get your travel plans off to a bad start. 

Have a great holiday weekend and stay safe and be sure to check out USA.gov’s Fourth of July page and FEMA's Blog for all sorts of safety tips and cool information about Independence Day. Don’t let this be you.

Blogger Bob 
TSA Blog Team

If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fluff much? There really is no end to the TSA's stupidity is there? We want results, accountability, and security something you are NOT able to provide.

You have NO business wishing anyone a Happy Independence day. You are the VERY people steaing our FREEDOM.

Anonymous said...

Remember, traveling public - TSA does NOT use any sort of logical thinking. If you are caught with fireworks in your luggage, TSA will assume the ONLY reason you do that is to commit illegal acts of violence and intimidation. No, they will NOT accept that fireworks are most commonly used during the 4th of July celebration. No, they will not accept that kids might have put them in their bags without parents knowing about it. Every person trying to travel is actially planning to commit terror acts, so they have to treat your rights as non-existant.

And please, do not wear Depends...

Anonymous said...

Charming little video there, Bob. I kept expecting to see an adult diaper going up in flames as well.

Anonymous said...

Clever, blogger bob. A fluff story to try and keep peoples' eyes off the previous story. I'd say it was a pitiful attempt, but covering up for the TSA is a nearly impossible task. So instead, i'll say well done.

Anonymous said...

This weekend America celebrates INDEPENDENCE DAY, we do not celebrate the fourth day of the seventh month.

We celebrate the CONSTITUTION and the BILL OF RIGHTS, and the FREEDOM and LIBERTY that are clearly expressed in those documents. However, at this time, the Federal Government including the TSA is waging WAR on our rights including the First and the Fourth Amendments to the CONSTITUTION as written in the BILL OF RIGHTS.

The preposterous statements and assertions made by the TSA that they need to find a "balance" between FREEDOM and security is the biggest lie by the biggest liars in our nation.

The actions, procedures and tactics currently being used by the TSA are TREASONOUS.

Anonymous said...

Dear traveling public,

I'm pretty sure you already know you shouldn't take fireworks on a plane. It makes sense.

But you also can't take toothpaste, or shampoo, or water. Does that make sense?

Travel safely, and avoid full body scanners. You don't deserve to be virtually strip searched, and I (a MD) don't agree with the use of ionizing radiation in a general population with no medical benefit. It will cause cancer in at least a few people!

George said...

An informative, truthful, and even useful post from Blogger Bob. Amazing!

I can only guess that his superiors have decided that a tiny dose of meaningful advice, on a matter tangentially related to the TSA's "mission," could be tolerated for once. But only because they desperately need to distract the public from some very embarrassing recent revelations.

Maybe, just maybe, this is a sign of new thinking at the TSA that will open the door to acceptance of more truth and transparency. Maybe they will consider acknowledging and fixing the systemic failures that allowed embarrassing incidents to keep occurring, instead of just reacting defensively to deny or spin the failures away after they happen.

Maybe they will bring real accountability into their culture, so that Administrator Pistole's oft-repeated words about "professionalism" and "highest ethical standards" will actually mean something. And we can be be confident that TSOs actually will consistently treat disabled passengers (and everyone else) with respect and sensitivity, and that screeners won't enjoy a license to steal our belongings under cover of secrecy and "privacy." Maybe they will listen to the GAO and make sure that the billions of dollars we give them provide effective and cost-effective security instead of security theatre that equates "layers" of inconsistent and frustrating hassle with effectiveness.

Oh... sorry. I nodded off for a moment and was dreaming. We all know that aviation security is possible only when the TSA has unlimited authority to do whatever they want under absolute secrecy, unencumbered by third-party oversight or accountability. Carry on.

Chip and Andy said...

Write to your elected officials and tell them to end the TSA.

Anonymous said...

As we prepare to celebrate our Independence Day, the day that reminds us that we once went to war against an abusive government, a government that amoung other things did not recognize our RIGHT to be free from warrentless searches without probable cause, we would do well to recognize that the TSA is now doing EXACTLY what the British did to us before we threw their abusive tactics and agents out of our nation and delared our FREEDOM. The TSA is committing crimes against the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and all of our Liberty.

Anonymous said...

More 'fluff' stories to move the 'we respect you, now remove your diaper or don't fly today' story down the page? I'm shocked. :-|

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"No, they will NOT accept that fireworks are most commonly used during the 4th of July celebration. No, they will not accept that kids might have put them in their bags without parents knowing about it. Every person trying to travel is actially planning to commit terror acts, so they have to treat your rights as non-existant."

a perfect example of explosives on planes, that are found every day, not just around 7/4.
of course the tsa should just assume that the person is using them at home and that someone with other ideas is watching the "innocent" person bring them on board only to take them from them and use them for other purposes. how large of a hole would an m80 put in a plane at 30000ft? or if they are in an "innocent" person's checked luggage when a fire starts in the baggage area and makes an explosition. by treating every person the same they are protecting your rights.

Anonymous said...

The TSA couldn't find fireworks unless they were hidden in a diaper.

Anonymous said...

"how large of a hole would an m80 put in a plane at 30000ft?"

My guess would be there'd be no hole at all. Just a bunch of annoyed people. Airplanes are made of glass.

"or if they are in an "innocent" person's checked luggage when a fire starts in the baggage area and makes an explosion."

If there's a fire in the luggage compartment, sparklers and blackcats are the least of your problems.

"by treating every person the same they are protecting your rights."

Right, so if the TSA decides to give every person a swift kick to the crotch then our rights are protected? Equal treatment doesn't, in any way, imply our rights are protected. It just means we're being treated equally (in the TSA's case, we're all treated like criminals).

I, for one, would prefer equal treatment for all and that the treatment is respectful. Treating all people equally is no excuse to treat anyone with the complete disrespect and contempt (as the TSA does).

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
" how large of a hole would an m80 put in a plane at 30000ft?"

As an engineer versed in aircraft structure, I'll answer that: An M80 would be unlikely to make a hole at all, even if up against the structure. If the M80 was sealed against the thinnest part of the structure - difficult to arrange but theoretically possible - it would possibly make a small hole.

Anonymous said...

It seems like every 100 years or so we are called to stand up to tyranny and decide in favor of freedom, justice and human dignity.

In 1620 the pilgrims left England to the found the Plymouth Colony.

In 1776 we declared our independence and fought the Revolutionary War.

In the 1860's we fought the Civil War to guarantee the freedom of all people in this country.

In the 1960's we had the Civil Rights movement.

It just feels like we're coming to another crossroads in our nation.

Will we give in to fear and allow technology and the government to erode our freedoms? Or will we, once again, choose liberty?

We are now living in an era when the government has given itself permission to search even your body without just cause -- where the right to travel freely about the country is being eroded.

I hope we have the wisdom and courage to stand up to this and say NO. We either do it now or we allow it to get worse and it will be left to our children and grandchildren to deal with the consequences.

I so appreciate my ancestors who stood up for freedom and liberty -- Henry Samson who came over on the Mayflower as a teenager. Edmond Bowker who fought as a private in the Revolutionary War. What sacrifices they made.

I believe that, once again, in 2011 we need to stand up and insist that freedom, justice and human dignity prevail.

To the TSA -- I ask you to think long and hard about your role as citizens of this country. Think about how history will judge your actions. Will you be seen as an organization that advanced the cause of freedom or one that hampered it? Will your children and grandchildren be proud of your choices? Will you someday be proud of your legacy or ashamed of it?

Anonymous said...

"Oh, posterity. You will never know how much it cost us to preserve your freedom. I hope that you will make a good use of it."

John Adams

Sandra said...

From TS/S:

"Just arrived from EWR, traveling with my wife and 3 year old daughter. At security, told one of us "has to got through the scope". When I said I would do it but opt out, he said "Then all of you will get a pat-down" Since I didn't want my wife or daughter subject to groping, I took it for the team by going through the scanner...."

and

"I hope this isn't the way TSA is "revising" its patdown policy for children under the age of 12... by forcing the parents to 'take one for the team'."

So, Bob, although I know you won't answer, what's going on here?

More retaliation for opting out or as was suggested the revised pat down policy for the under 12 set?

screen shot.

Mel Lifshitz said...

"More 'fluff' stories to move the 'we respect you, now remove your diaper or don't fly today' story down the page? I'm shocked. :-|"

- Can't agree more.

Anonymous said...

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

- Ben Franklin

Anonymous said...

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

- Ben Franklin

Anonymous said...

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

- Ben Franklin

Anonymous said...

illegal nigerians fine, sickly elderly women, six year olds and fireworks not fine. check got it. Btw, our forefathers would start a second revolution if they had to put up with the invasive TSA

Chip and Andy said...

Anonymous said..."how large of a hole would an m80 put in a plane at 30000ft?"

One M80 couldn't do enough damage to matter to aircraft integrity. The only places where it would be an issue are not places where a passenger can get too. Even the mechanics require specialized tools to get to those places.

A dozen or more m80's might be problematic, but even then only if you could get them in the 'perfect' spot.


Anonymous goes on to say..."by treating every person the same they are protecting your rights."

One does not lead to the other.

I agree with you that profiling does not work in an airport situation because what do the bad guys look like? In the context of an airport where there is a little bit of everything socially and economically to choose from.

As to protecting our rights.... no.

The TSA does nothing to protect our Rights. The very mission of the TSA subjects and countermands our Rights as citizens. You can not give up one set of Rights to defend a different set of Rights. It should never be required to give up Fourth Amendment Rights just to exercise any other Rights.

And that doesn't even begin to address the 'everyone' part of your statement.... TSA employees are not screened when they enter the 'sterile' area. Few, if any, of the employees in other areas of the airport are screened and many of those same employees have greater access to the aircraft. So, not, not everyone is being treated equally and, no, our rights are not being protected.

JoeC said...

You mean like the FBI plant that had firecrackers in his underpants? Your entire agency is a joke.

Anonymous said...

"Illegitimate and unconstitutional practices get their footing . . . by silent approaches and slight deviations from legal modes of procedure . . . It is [our] duty . . . to be watchful for the constitutional rights of the citizen, and against any stealthy encroachments thereon . . ."
- Justice Bradley, (1886)

Anonymous said...

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent . . . The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
- Justice Louis Brandeis

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"how large of a hole would an m80 put in a plane at 30000ft?"
...........
If you're in possession of an M-80 and in the United States you would have an illegal firework.

Want to tell us your source for M-80's?

Anonymous said...

The FAA classifies fireworks as hazardous. They could catch on fire in the cargo hold, explode, or emit dangerous fumes. Don't like it? Complain to them.
TSA does not treat people who bring fireworks into an airport as terrorists. The passengers that I have encountered with fireworks (children or adults) had the rules explained to them or their parents. If they were allowed to by the police, then the fireworks can leave the airport to be placed in a car. All the airline counters I have seen, have large signs that say "The following items are NOT allowed in Check Baggage." Fireworks are clearly listed. Anything that happens after that, fines or what not, is up to the FAA.

If Bob was trying to hide older stories, I think he could do better than posting a new story for you anons to complain about.

Screeners do not "enjoy a license to steal." In fact, I remember recent postings where a former TSO was in court for stealing. The person who reported him was a fellow TSO, the person who contacted the police and FBI? A supervisor. Who report him if there was a "license to steal?"

TSA = British? Sure, why not. TSA is planning on housing screeners in your homes next year anyway. That'll be followed by the Tea taxes later that year.

Anna Bucci said...

OMG, are you people serious?

Since when have fireworks EVER been allowed on a plane?

"omg I can't take my highly flammable hazmat on a plane!?! They're takin muh freedomz!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"by treating every person the same they are protecting your rights"

So if everyone is treated unconstitutionally, then we're being treated Constitutionally?

Silly, silly, silly.

Carmen said...

The Fourth of July this year was a day of mourning for me. Mourning for the loss of civil liberties we once had in this country. Mourning for how we have let the terrorists terrorize ourselves and how we have changed our way of life to life in fear. The TSA is but one case of the destruction of our freedoms.

Needless to say, I did not attend any fireworks displays.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone seriously thinks it's a good idea to take fireworks into any closed, densely populated space.

But if the TSA tells you the sky is blue, it's best to go outside and check.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"No, they will not accept that kids might have put them in their bags without parents knowing about it."

i like this statement, you mean children can put items in their bags without their parents knowing!?!?!?!?!?!?!? all the more reason why they shouldnt be screened the same way as adults. cause little johnny/jennie would never do anything wrong, theyre only kids...

Anonymous said...

Chip and Andy said...
"Write to your elected officials and tell them to end the TSA".

Yes, Please, so we can go back to "BUBBA'S SECURITY AND TIRE REPAIR".....then just maybe all you haters will be happy.....no you will just fine something else to complain about.

Earl Pitts said...

@Anon: "Screeners do not "enjoy a license to steal." In fact, I remember recent postings where a former TSO was in court for stealing. The person who reported him was a fellow TSO, the person who contacted the police and FBI? A supervisor. Who report him if there was a "license to steal?"

Hot off the presses today:

Apparently this guy has been at it for quite awhile:

"TSA employee Nelson Santiago, 30, has been charged with stealing computers and other electronics from checked baggage.

And just as fast as he grabbed the items, the investigators say he sold them online.

"He had this down to a science," said Dani Moschella with the Broward County Sheriff's Office. "He'd take an item, he'd photograph it with his cell phone, post it on Craigslist, and most often it was sold by the time his shift ended."

Police say a Continental Airlines employee recently saw the thief in action.

Santiago allegedly swiped an iPad, and then he dropped the device down his pants.

"I think that it's a shame that things like this happen," Moschella said.

The Broward Sheriff's office says the scheme went on for several months, and the sale of the stolen items added up to $50,000."

At it for several months, eh? And it was a Continental employee that turned him in. Guess his buddies at TSA didn't think it was a problem, or they were likely in on it too.

How many more Isolated Incidents® and Bad Apples® are we going to see out of TSA? To me, it's more like there are a few Good Apples® in a barrel of rotting ones.

Santiago wasn't the first. He won't be the last. He's just the latest to got caught.

And TSA, this also begs the question: if your screeners can get away with removing something from a bag without being seen for months, what is to stop one of the Bad Apples® from putting an explosive IN a bag? You don't screen your employees adequately, and there is sufficient evidence to show that your level of trust is misplaced at best. TSA has never answered the question. Yet we still have to worry about shoes, toothpaste, and "do you want to fly today?"

Earl

Anonymous said...

Anna Bucci said..." OMG, are you people serious?

Since when have fireworks EVER been allowed on a plane?"

That is the point. Fireworks have never been allowed on planes so why is the TSA Blog Team wasting our time and energy on the issue when they instead should be investigating a couple of the 21 Layers of Security that allowed that guy to use an expired boarding pass to get on a plane. He could have had a buttload of PETN and taken down a plane.

TSORon said...

Anonymous said…
“That is the point. Fireworks have never been allowed on planes so why is the TSA Blog Team wasting our time and energy on the issue when they instead should be investigating a couple of the 21 Layers of Security that allowed that guy to use an expired boarding pass to get on a plane. He could have had a buttload of PETN and taken down a plane.””
-----------------------
Because every year we find people who ignore those rules that have been around forever and bring their fireworks with them to the airport. That’s why. Guns have been prohibited in carry-on baggage for about the same amount of time, yet we find between 15 and 20 guns at the nations checkpoints in passenger bags every week. Please Anon, can you explain this to me?

Anonymous said...

TSORon said...
... we find between 15 and 20 guns at the nations checkpoints in passenger bags every week.


...Yet the front page of the TSA site says "8 firearms found at checkpoints" this week. What happened to the other 7 to 12 guns, Ron? TSA screeners steal them? Like this guy:

http://con.st/10020648

, who stole $50,000 of passengers electronics in just 6 months. Lets see, if 1 in 1000 screeners is a thief (a number I freely admit I pulled out of thin air. Please feel free to provide more accurate figures), and there are roughly 50,000 employees, that's 50 thieves. If each take $25,000 every 6 months (I'm being generous- that's just half what this guy took!), that's, um... add this...carry the two... 25 million dollars of thefts since the TSA started.

25 million dollars.

Thanks, TSA. Thanks 25 million dollars worth.

Anonymous said...

TSORon said..."Because every year we find people who ignore those rules that have been around forever...Please Anon, can you explain this to me?"

Actually, no. I can't.

The basic posted rules have been around forever. The TSA Rules have never been posted because they are deemed SSI. I can't explain what is kept from me. You're a TSA Agent, you explain to us.

Anonymous said...

TSORon said:
"Because every year we find people who ignore those rules that have been around forever and bring their fireworks with them to the airport. That’s why. Guns have been prohibited in carry-on baggage for about the same amount of time, yet we find between 15 and 20 guns at the nations checkpoints in passenger bags every week. Please Anon, can you explain this to me?"

First, you may explain to me why the count of firearms detected on the tsa webpage is NEVER as high as 15, let alone 20. Or is that SSI?

Earl Pitts said...

@Ronnie: "Because every year we find people who ignore those rules that have been around forever and bring their fireworks with them to the airport. That’s why. Guns have been prohibited in carry-on baggage for about the same amount of time, yet we find between 15 and 20 guns at the nations checkpoints in passenger bags every week. Please Anon, can you explain this to me?"

Wrong, that's ok. Everyday, we find many people who ignore rules that have been around forever. Problem is, many of them work for TSA.

Earl

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
TSORon said:
...Guns have been prohibited in carry-on baggage for about the same amount of time, yet we find between 15 and 20 guns at the nations checkpoints in passenger bags every week.


First, you may explain to me why the count of firearms detected on the tsa webpage is NEVER as high as 15, let alone 20...


Yup, last week, 8. This week, *7*. Hey, RON, where's the other 8-13 guns?

It appears the TSA hires people who can't even count to 20.

As well as people who can't tell time or read a train schedule (reference the Screening of Passengers at Savannah Amtrak Station).

And who think water is too dangerous to take on the plane (might be a bomb!), but not too dangerous to dump in the trash can next to them (it's not like it's a bomb, right?).

And thieves. ($50,000 in 6 months- not a TSO's salary, it's how much he steals!)

And... well, you get the point.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
And who think water is too dangerous to take on the plane (might be a bomb!), but not too dangerous to dump in the trash can next to them (it's not like it's a bomb, right?).

If you look at the entire security set-up at the airport it's pretty obvious that the TSA doesn't actually expect to ever actually find a terrorist. There is no physical security at all. If they actually found a terrorist with a weapon the result would be chaos and many dead people.

I doubt that military security checkpoints are run like that - they really expect to be attacked.

Anonymous said...

TSORon- this weeks figures are in, and it's....

9 guns.

Where's the other 6-11 go, Ron?

Earl Pitts said...

@Anon: "Where's the other 6-11 go, Ron?"

If you look in the latest post, Ronnie's numbers are up to 31. So looks like he's missing another 21.

Earl

Anonymous said...

Earl Pitts (correctly) noted:
"If you look in the latest post, Ronnie's numbers are up to 31. So looks like he's missing another 21."

Given that the TSA misses 70-90% of the weapons that are "presented" at checkpoints, the numbers are scary.

The terrorists are having a field day clearly except that, well, they're not in evidence.

Anonymous said...

TSORon- this weeks figures are in, and it's....

17 guns.

FINALLY! A number within your claimed range of "15 to 30" guns. And, what a coincidence, it comes right after you were proven wrong 3 times in a row. Now you finally have a data point to... well, point to.

Average guns per week, over the last 4 weeks: (8+7+9+17)/4 = 10.25

Anonymous said...

Funny thing- after mysteriously skipping a week, the front page of TSA.gov shows the exact same number of guns found at checkpoints (17) as from the previous posted week. Is this correct, or did someone not bother to update the number?

I mean, they skipped the entire previous week. It's a simple 1 or two digit number, posted once a week, and the TSA can't even bother to correctly do that.

Average number of guns found in the previous 6 weeks (not counting the week the TSA posted no figures for): 11.6.

Still far from "15 to 30", Ron.

Anonymous said...

WOW. Hardly is the week over, and the 8-8-11 through 8-14-11 figures are up. (Which adds to the mystery of why the 7-25 thru 7-31 numbers were never posted!) 18 guns found.

Average number of guns found in the previous 6 weeks (not counting the week the TSA posted no figures for): 12.66

Keep it up, TSA, you're almost there!

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Yet again, the front page of TSA.gov has not been updated with the latest 'week at a glance' figures. (As of Thursday, 9pm eastern).

Could it be that the latest weeks figures are as... impressive as the one from the previous week, which are still up?

One might almost think that the TSA is cherry-picking the numbers to appear more effective, but, nah- they wouldn't do that, Right?

Anonymous said...

...and the day after they were 'reminded', the TSA bothers to post the numbers. 27. Like we're supposed to believe that. With all the 'mistakes' the seem to be making lately, I wouldn't be surprised if they 'accidentally' added this weeks numbers to last weeks.

Last 7 weeks average (not including the week they 'forgot' to post: 14.1.

Anonymous said...

18 firearms found at checkpoints.

Average over the last 8 weeks (except the week the TSA mysteriously didn;t post): 14.7

Anonymous said...

8-30-11 through 9-5-11
10 firearms found at checkpoints


Ohh, the numbers are slipping, TSA! And you STILL haven't reached the average of "15 to 30" that TSARon speaks of.

I think the point is made.

Lady G. said...

That's really odd that after years of hearing about the dangers of getting fireworks to airplanes people forget this and still do it...

James Smith said...

Amazing people actually need to be reminded to leave their fireworks at home and not carry them onto a plane. Guess common sense has scurried off to a dark corner.

AML said...

Yeah, fireworks are a dangerous things to be boarded in an air plane, it just right that TSA prohibit passengers from carrying it with them.

Dino Trichto said...

Wow... a lot of bad things being said about the TSA here.

Personally, I agree with the TSA here. Can you imagine all of the false positives all of the security checks would have?

The point is that there would be a huge increase in workload and the likelihood of detecting the actual BAD GUYS would decrease.

Yes, fireworks may not pose a direct threat, but how hard is it to buy them at your destination? It makes it easier on everyone. Not just on the 4th of July, but also this new year!