Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sometimes The Airport Is Similar To A Gun And Knife Show

3 throwing knives
I wanted to share a few of the things our officers have found over the last week. Sometimes after reading the incident reports, it‘s as though they’re having a gun and knife convention at the airport.  

Just this past week in three separate incidents, our officers found the following prohibited items: (These are just a few of the many good catches from the past week) 

Orlando (MCO): A man attempted to bring a bag containing 3 pistols through the checkpoint. The bag contained a .25-caliber and .40-caliber semiautomatic and a .357-caliber revolver. Also in the bag were loose ammo and a loaded magazine. Orlando police arrested the passenger who was later released from the Orange County Jail on a $2,500.00 bond. 

Baltimore (BWI): Three throwing knives were found in a carry-on bag. There have been many “pointed” discussions about whether or not knives should be allowed on planes, but 3 throwing knives is a tad much… Police cited the passenger on a state charge. 

Atlanta (ATL): Inert grenades found in checked baggage. (Read here, and here about all the inert grenades we find and why they’re a nuisance) 

Maybe it’s just me, but when I travel I am cautious about what I pack or what is in my luggage.  That’s apparently not the case for a lot of people out there. The number one reason is “I forgot that was in my bag.”

All of the items I mentioned above are common finds. Just over the weekend alone, we found 10 firearms across the nation.

This year alone, TSA Officers have found over 800 firearms in carry-on bags. 

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.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

LAX TSA Officers Go Fishing?

FISH
(Image Not of Passenger’s Luggage) laszlo-photo
Our baggage officers at LAX must have been using the Fishin’ Magician yesterday.  They observed a fishy image after an explosives detection system  alarmed. After going into the luggage, they found live fish swimming around in a bag. You might say they were “packed like sardines.” 

Here is the kicker: The passenger didn’t have a little baggie with a goldfish in it, they had 4 large hard-sided suitcases each filled with only fish and water. In all, there were nearly 240 fish of all types and sizes.

The passenger bought the fish at a local pet store and was taking them home. The airline would not allow him to transport the fish via checked luggage, but they did allow him to ship them properly via cargo. One might say the passenger was “schooled”  on how to properly fly with fish. I’m guessing things went swimmingly for the fish from that point forward?  If you’re traveling with any type of live critter, (other than your kids) be sure to contact your airline to see what their policies are. 


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.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Risk Based Security For Passengers 12 and Under

Shoe signage for kids. We’ve been talking about risk based security a lot lately and it’s also been all over the news. Well, here’s more news! We’re going to start rolling out revised screening procedures for children 12 and under. The changes give Officers more options to resolve any alarms that may occur during the screening process for these passengers. It is simpler to screen children and they will be able to keep their shoes on as well.

These changes will allow our officers to stay focused on passengers who are more likely to pose a risk to transportation.

Let’s be clear. This will not eliminate the need for all pat-downs on children, and there will still be times that shoes might have to come off. 

In case you were wondering, this screening will take place with the parents present as we never separate children from their parents. Also, our officers will use their best discretion based on how old the child appears. They’ll be courteous though, and keep their guesstimates about the parent’s age to themselves.

The new procedures will begin in some airports this week with full implementation expected by the end of the month. You may have already seen these new procedures in action. We piloted the program this summer at Boston Logan International, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Miami International, Orlando International, Houston (IAH) and Denver International. 

Please understand that this isn’t a free pass. TSA will always incorporate random and unpredictable security measures and nobody is guaranteed  expedited screening. 

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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

No Scams Here, Just a Technical Foul

A sports columnist recently wrote that a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) was offering to take people to the front of the checkpoint line via a wheelchair for a fee. Of course, his story picked up a bit of attention on the ol’ intertubes.

I and others more familiar with airports and checkpoint security instantly knew this wasn’t a TSO, but to be sure, we reviewed the video. What we found was that the person he wrote about was a skycap. Skycaps are porters who assist passengers, some often in wheelchairs. They work for tips  and their uniforms do not resemble those of a TSO. In fact, many skycaps wear hats as TSOs do not.

It’s standard procedure for people using wheelchairs to be brought to the front of the line where the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gates are located.

While I’ve seen and heard about our TSOs going out of their way to assist passengers outside of the checkpoint, their main focus is security. If you or somebody you are traveling with will need a wheelchair or some other type of assistance before or after the checkpoint, please ask your airport or airline about the availability of their skycap service. 

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.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Good Catch! Sword Canes to Reptiles…

Sword Cane Found at ROC
Sword Cane Found at ROC
No, this post isn’t about what we’ve caught with the “Fishin’ Magician,” it’s about the  "Good Catch" page over at TSA.gov!  Since March of this year, we’ve been posting some interesting catches and I wanted to share them with our blog readers. There are currently nine “Good Catch” articles available for your reading pleasure ranging from a sword cane to artfully concealed reptiles.  Be sure to check them out and visit frequently for updates! 

Speaking of good catches, did you know that our officers have found 725 firearms in carry-on luggage since January of 2011? And it’s still only September! Most people say they simply forgot the gun was in their bag, but I remember a few years ago at CVG when a passenger went as far as to blame his mother for putting the loaded pistol in his backpack.  Stay classy…


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.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

TSA To Provide Several Artifacts to the Smithsonian National September 11 Collection

TSA Shoulder PatchTSA Historian, Michael P.C. Smith, guest blogged today for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History blog. Here’s an excerpt from his post:

“This September, Americans everywhere will reflect on the events of a Tuesday morning a decade ago; a day which forever changed our country. However as we do this, many people are unaware of the history of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the reasons for its creation.

The truth is that TSA has been, and will forever be, intimately linked to the events of September 11. The agency was created on November 19, 2001, shortly after the attacks, when the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) was signed into law by President George W. Bush. This landmark legislation authorized the creation of a new federal government agency specifically designed to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems while also ensuring the free movement of people and commerce."
 (Read the rest of Michael's post at the NMAH blog)



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.

Tenth Anniversary Report Card on 9/11 Commission Recommendations

I blogged recently on how far TSA has come and what we’ve done to meet the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations. If you haven’t read that post, take a few moments to review it and you’ll see just how much we’ve accomplished in all areas of aviation security.

New Technology, In-Flight Security, 100% Screening, Professionalized Workforce, Information Sharing and Detection…

There is no doubt that aviation security is safer than it was on 9/11. You’ll never eliminate the threats though… They’ll continue to evolve, and we are equipped to evolve with them.

A Bipartisan Policy Center report released yesterday somewhat echoes what I said in my post and cites specific TSA successes in the areas of information sharing, pre-screening and matching all passengers against government terrorist watch lists to keep travel secure.

In addition, TSA has made significant enhancements to improve technology and to protect passenger privacy. What we do have is a solid lineup of state of the art world class security technology that when used in conjunction with constantly improving processes and a well-trained staff, provides a safe and solid layer of security at our airports.  In fact, TSA has certified 10 Explosive Detection Systems and is a global leader in setting the standards for technology that safely screens passengers, luggage and air cargo. Advanced imaging technology (AIT), intelligence, behavioral detection officers, canine teams, and federal air marshals are also key parts of our layered approach. And with the adoption of automated target recognition software for AIT screening devices, we continue to improve passenger privacy.

Alone, each layer enhances security. Together, they provide a formidable defense that detects threats and deters potential attackers to keep the traveling public safe. And we’re always testing new technologies and procedures to enable us to evolve with the threats while improving passenger security and privacy.




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.