Friday, March 30, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Gun Concealed in Hollowed Out Book

Gun in book, throwing star, knife concealed in deoderant, knives, fire crackers, expended stun grenades.

Book Starts Off with a Bang: This book must have received some poor reviews. It starts off with a bang and then it kind of hollows out and leaves you feeling empty. (See photo above)  The gun was unloaded (no cylinder) and discovered at Honolulu (HNL).

Explosive Item Discovered: Yesterday morning at Philadelphia International Airport, our Officers discovered a water bottle wrapped in black electrical tape and filled with flash powder, and three M-80 fireworks. The items were discovered in a carry-on bag. Read the blog post here. Unfortunately, due to an ongoing investigation, we are unable to share the photograph, but we hope to be able to share it in the future.

Strange Place to Keep a Knife: A pocketknife was found concealed in a deodorant cap at Milwaukee (MKE). 

More Grenades: Two expended stun grenades were discovered in a checked bag at Atlanta (ATL). Also, an inert grenade was discovered in checked baggage at Hattiesburg (PIB). The passenger at PIB stated that they thought a coworker likely put it there as a prank. I imagine the passenger in question didn’t find it very funny at all. These are totally harmless, however, read here and here  for more information on why inert items cause problems at checkpoints.

People Say the Darndest Things: Here are some more examples of what not to say at the airport. Statements like these not only delay the people who said them, they can also inconvenience lots of other passengers if the checkpoint has to be evacuated:

·         A passenger was having their bag searched at Phoenix (PHX) when they decided to tell our Officer: “There is a bomb in my bag!”

·         A passenger at San Juan (SJU) was asked by the ticket agent if they had any flammable liquids in their bag. The passenger responded: “No, but I do have a bomb.”

·         After explaining to a passenger at (JFK) that his bag was being searched due to a cluttered image on the X-ray monitor, the passenger stated: “It’s a bomb.”

Peanut Butter Pot: This is the third time I’ve written about concealed marijuana in a jar of peanut butter. While it is a great source of protein, peanut butter is no match for our X-rays. We’re not looking for drugs, but you can imagine how suspicious a container inside a container of peanut butter looks? This time it was found at Salt Lake City (SLC).Peanut Butter Pot: This is the third time I’ve written about concealed marijuana in a jar of peanut butter. While it is a great source of protein, peanut butter is no match for our X-rays. We’re not looking for drugs, but you can imagine how suspicious a container inside a container of peanut butter looks? This time it was found at Salt Lake City (SLC).

Knife Concealed in Tissues: At LaGuardia (LGA), a knife was found tucked under a nice comfy stack of tissues in a tissue box.

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items: In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also found firearm components, realistic replica firearms, stun guns, brass knuckles, an abundance of knives, ammunition, and batons.

7 loaded guns.
Firearms: Here are the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday.

21 guns discovered. 19 were loaded.
 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 throughput is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. 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 in their bag. That’s why it’s important to double check your luggage before you get to the airport.

Blogger Bob Burns
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


Spring Forward! - Spring Break Travel Tips


I sit here on a cold March day, when only a few days ago I was running my air conditioner. Even with this back and forth weather, I’m getting a bit of the spring/summer fever and it reminds me that many folks are currently planning travel for spring break and the summer vacation season. So here are few travel tips and other information to help you spring forward through TSA checkpoints and get you to your destination safely.

The 4-1-1 on 3-1-1 (Liquids, Gels & Aerosols): If you’re checking a bag, make things simple by packing liquids in your checked luggage. That way, you don’t have to worry about the 3-1-1liquids rules.  But I know that doesn’t work for everyone; either your trip is a short one or you’re only bringing a carry-on bag.  If you have to take liquids in your carry-on, please continue reading… 3-1-1 is a quick way to remember how our liquids policy works. You can read here for more details, but here is the gist: each passenger is 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 frequently asked liquid, aerosol and gel items:

  • Suntan & Sun Block Lotion: Lotions fall under the 3-1-1 procedures that I mentioned above. So do the aerosol spray lotions. Sunblock sticks do not fall under this rule.
  • 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 other 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.
Sporting Goods: Golf clubs, tennis rackets, baseball bats (including the mini slugger bats), cricket bats, bows and arrows, hockey sticks, scuba knives, spear guns, etc. are all prohibited from being carried onto the plane. However, you can have them checked as luggage.

Destination Weddings: Getting married soon? We’ve been asked about it a lot lately on our MyTSA app, so we wrote a post on it. Be sure to check it out for some great tips.

TSA Cares Helpline: TSA Cares is a new helpline number designed to assist  passengers with disabilities and medical conditions to call prior to traveling. Read more info here.

Spring Forward: If you haven’t moved you’re clock forward by now, you’ve been really late to a lot of things.

The MyTSA App: Our MyTSA App (available as an iPhone or mobile web app) amongst other great features has a “Can I Bring My…” tool. You can type in the name of the item you’re curious about and it tells you if the item is permitted or not. Wondering if you can take your bug repellant on the plane? Check the app to find out. A wait time feature is also available on our MyTSA application. It relies on crowd sourcing which means the more people who use it, the better. Spread the word, just like suntan lotion on your pale sun-deprived body.

Pat-Downs & Body Scanners: To reduce the need for a pat-down, the most important thing you can do is take everything out of your pockets before screening. You can put these items in your carry-on bag. Don't wear clothes with a high metal content, and put heavy jewelry on after you go through security. You will also receive a pat-down if you choose to opt out of our Advanced Imaging Technology. (Body Scanners) Check out this post to read some myths and facts about the pat-down.

Kids 12 & Under can Keep Their Shoes on: As part of our move towards a risk-based security approach, we rolled out revised screening procedures for passengers 12 and under that include leaving shoes on. Click here to learn more about the revisions. 

Taking Your Pet with You? We’d rather not pull a live bunny out of your bag; however, if you plan on traveling with animals please refer to our “Traveling with Pets” page or check with your airline carrier.

Camping, Hunting, or Fishing?: If you’re heading to the great outdoors, be sure to check out this post for tips on traveling with camping, hunting, and fishing gear.

Double Check Your Bag for Guns: Seriously!!! It sounds silly, but if you read our Week in Review posts, you’ll see that our officers find at least two guns every day somewhere in the U.S.. A good percentage of those were loaded. The most common excuse is that the passenger didn’t know or forgot it was in the bag. A good rule of thumb is if you do keep a gun in one of your everyday bags you use, be sure to double check it if plan on travelling with it.

Shaving Razors: You can get more info from our blog post on this subject where the pictures will answer all of your questions.

TSA Pre Expedited Screening: The TSA Pre™ initiative allows certain passengers flying domestically to get streamlined screening in select airports nationwide.  If you’ve been contacted by your participating airline (currently Delta and American, with others joining later) or if you’re a current member of one of CBP’s Trusted Traveler programs (Global Entry, NEXUS or SENTRI), be sure to opt in and follow the simple directions to become eligible for expedited screening.  Click here to learn more about where TSA Pre✓™ is and where it’s coming to.

Lost or Forgotten IDs:  We’ve gotten many calls from people who’ve had a wallet stolen or lost on a trip and have no ID for their return trip.  Don’t worry, if this happens to you, you’ll still be permitted to fly as long as you help us verify you are who you say you are by answering a few questions.  It’s wise to get to the airport a little earlier just to be safe.

 
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, March 29, 2012

Good Catch! - Explosives Discovered in Carry-on bag at Philadelphia International Airport


While searching a bag this morning at Philadelphia International Airport, our Officers discovered some suspicious items that were spotted on the X-ray monitor during screening. Using the better safe than sorry philosophy, the D-E checkpoint was closed since the incident involved possible explosives. 

Passengers were moved to a safe distance while the Philadelphia Police Department Bomb Squad safely removed the items, which included a water bottle wrapped in black electrical tape and filled with flash powder, and three M-80 fireworks. We were unable to share the photograph due to an ongoing investigation, but hope to be able to share it in the future. 

The passenger was arrested and is currently in the custody of Philadelphia Police. 

If you read our TSA Week in Review blog posts, you know that our Officers routinely find dangerous and odd items, and this discovery is another great example of our Officers remaining alert and preventing a very dangerous item from being taken aboard the plane.  

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.

Monday, March 26, 2012

4 Loaded Guns, 192 Rounds of Ammo, and 3 Knives (Not in a Pear Tree)

If you read our Week in Review posts here on the TSA Blog, you know that it’s not uncommon for our officers to find guns, knives, ammo, and even the occasional debrainer.

However, we’re not used to finding so many things on one passenger. At Sacramento (SMF) last week, a passenger was taking off his coat when an officer noticed he was wearing a shoulder holster with a loaded 9mm pistol in it. Yes, it has happened in the past where passengers have simply forgotten they had a firearm, but after our officers were finished searching the rest of his property, here is what was found:
  • Two loaded 9mm pistols
  • Two loaded .25 caliber pistols
  • 192 rounds of ammo along with two magazines
  • 3 knives 
Did you know that TSA officers discovered 101 guns last month? 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.

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.

Friday, March 23, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Debrainer Discovered at BWI

Knives, Inert IED, Knives, Inert Land Mines

Debrainer: I’m not sure what this is actually called, but I’m sure in the right hands, this implement of death is quite capable of extracting a brain. It’s like brass knuckles on steroids and it was found at Baltimore (BWI). Keep one on hand for the zombie Apocalypse. (See photo - top left)

IED Training Aid: Have you ever wondered what an improvised explosive device looks like? Well wonder no more… Just take a look at the photo above of an IED training tool that was found in the carry-on bag of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist at Seattle (SEA). It’s all there, minus the battery, and the C-4 charge is inert. There was no malicious intent, but we wanted to share this and say “great job!” to the TSA team at Seattle.

Landmines Again?: After reporting on finding landmines the first time, I thought it would be the last. Nope… a passenger at San Diego (SAN) had two inert shells from anti-personnel mines in their carry-on bag. These are totally harmless, however, read here and here  for more information on why inert items cause problems at checkpoints. We don’t know they’re inert until we check them out and checking them out can often inconvenience your fellow passengers.

Model Rocket Engines: 9 model rocket engines were discovered in checked baggage at Cape Girardeau (GGI). Take a look and see what they can do. Pretty cool…

Automobile Air Bag.
Airbag: No, we’re not referring to a significant other or in-laws, we’re referring to actual airbags for automobiles. During additional screening in checked baggage at San Francisco (SFO), a box was discovered with the word “EXPLOSIVE” labeled on the item. It was an airbag. I blogged on this subject last year. According to the FAA Office of Security and Hazardous Material, airbag actuators are on the list of hazardous materials and are prohibited from transport aboard passenger aircraft. They’re similar to a solid rocket booster. Disclaimer: Co-workers or annoying neighbors may be referred to as airbags, but they are not considered hazmat.
Even More Examples of What not to say at the Airport:
  • While at the ticket counter, a passenger  at Los Angeles (LAX) asked the ticket agent: “What are you going to do if I have a bomb?”
  • Another passenger at Los Angeles (LAX) told our ticket checker: “I have a bomb in my pocket.”
  • And yet again, another Los Angeles (LAX) passenger told our Officers: “I can buy water at the gate and  mix an explosive.”
Miscellaneous Prohibited Items: In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also found firearm components, realistic replica firearms, a stunning amount of stun guns, the holy grail (not really), brass knuckles, a plethora of knives, ammunition, and batons.

8 loaded guns and a knife.
Firearms: Here are the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday.

29 guns discovered. 21 were loaded.






































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 throughput is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. 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 in their bag. That’s why it’s important to double check your luggage before you get to the airport.

After reading the TSA Blog, be sure to lather, rinse, and repeat.

Blogger Bob Burns

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


TSA Taking Nail Clippers from Soldiers? - Nail Clipper Myth Buster

Nail ClippersAn inaccurate account alleging that TSA Officers took nail clippers from soldiers returning from Afghanistan is starting to spread around again. We blogged about this back in 2010 and FactCheck.org even busted the myth, but in the last week, I’ve had several people email me to ask me if it’s true, or to let me know that it’s spreading again.

The unattributed story claims TSA confiscated multi-tools and nail clippers, while all soldiers on board were allowed to carry military issued firearms. The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true. At Indianapolis International Airport, military charters arrive at the remote transit terminal, exclusive for these types of flights.  TSA staff does not have access to this facility and, we do not conduct any screening operations there. Also, nail clippers have never been prohibited by TSA

The facility in question is run by the Indiana National Guard, so in 2010, the Director of Public Affairs for the Indiana National Guard provided us with this quote:

“TSA does not have personnel or conduct any screening in the facility where military charters are processed at Indianapolis International Airport.”

Shawn D. Gardner
Director of Public Affairs

Indiana National Guard
Please feel free to forward this to anybody who may have been misled by the original story. 

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, March 20, 2012

TSA Pre✓™ Continues Expansion and Gives Access to Active Duty Military Members


TSA Pre✓™ logo.Today, TSA Pre™ starts operations at Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA) and Chicago O’Hare International (ORD) airports. In addition, we have partnered with the Department of Defense to allow active duty service members in the U.S. Armed Forces to be eligible to receive the same expedited screening benefits when flying out of DCA. 

*Please note: Participants must be U.S. Citizens traveling on domestic flights only.

Since the start of TSA Pre™ in October of last year, more than 540,000 passengers have taken part in the expedited screening program. The TSA Pre™ program boosts aviation security by helping us to focus on passengers the agency knows less about and those who are considered high-risk, while providing expedited screening for travelers who volunteer information about themselves prior to flying. Basically, it allows us to shift away from a one-size-fits all approach and lead us in the direction of intelligence driven, risk-based, security measures.

We recognize active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces pose very little risk to aviation security and that is why our partnership the Department of Defense is a win-win solution. This further streamlines screening for active duty service members. At DCA, active duty service members and active drilling reservists members can present their Common Access Card (CAC) to a TSA Officer in front of the TSA Pre™ lane, where it will be scanned to see if they qualify for expedited screening. Eligible service members do not need to be in uniform to be considered for TSA Pre™ benefits. It is just that simple!

TSA Pre™ screening benefits include being able to leave on your shoes, lightweight jackets, and allows you to keep your laptop in its case AND 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on.

Read more
about TSA Pre™ to get information on how you can become eligible and what airports and airlines are participating.

Martha
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.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Video of Child Being Screened in Wheelchair

Over the weekend, a video filmed in spring of 2010 started making its way around the web and has since become viral. The child had a cast and was in a wheelchair, and as a result, alternate procedures needed to be used.

TSA has modified our screening to a risk-based approach, including modifying our screening for passengers 12 and under to reduce the amount of pat-downs that children receive. That said, certain medical conditions and other circumstances may require alternative measures to be implemented from time to time.

The recently initiated TSA Cares Helpline now serves as an additional, dedicated resource for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.

To date, more than 3,200 people have been assisted after calling the TSA Cares Helpline. 

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.

Friday, March 16, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Thousands of Ecstasy Pills Concealed in Passenger’s Undergarments

Ecstasy Drugs, Knives, nunchucks.
Grenade Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army
Pure Ecstasy: A passenger underwent a pat-down after opting out of the body scanner at Los Angeles (LAX). During the pat-down, our officer came across a bulky area and the passenger insisted it was nothing out of the ordinary. Nah, there’s nothing out of the ordinary about 1000 - 2000 hits of ecstasy in your undergarments, right? We’re not looking for drugs, but until we figure out what the item is, we have to assume it could be dangerous. When we find narcotics, we have to report them. Simple solution… Don’t bring them on a plane.

40mm High Explosive Dual Purpose Projectile (Grenade): You can imagine the surprise when an officer at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) discovered a grenade in a carry-on bag. We find a lot of inert grenades, but this time it was the real deal. While it was a dangerous piece of live military ordnance, there was no nefarious intent. It was a soldier who made a mistake and in the end, no charges were filed.

Interesting Firearm: A pistol was found at Mobile (MOB). It’s a revolver that can shoot both .45 rounds and .410 shotgun shells. Nothing good can come from a pistol in the close quarters cabin of a plane that fires shot. (See photo

Body Scanner Find: A passenger at Denver (DEN) stepped up to one of our body scanners while wearing a belt buckle knife. We found it. Oh, we found his multi-tool knife too.
More Examples of What not to say at the Checkpoint: These are all examples from this week of how to inconvenience yourself and others at a TSA checkpoint.
  • LaGuardia (LGA)  Passenger stated: “I have a torpedo in my brassiere.” (Obviously, they didn’t have a torpedo in their brassiere.)
  • Las Vegas (LAS)  Passenger asked: “Why are you harassing this innocent woman when you just let me through with a tube of plastic explosives?” (They didn’t have a tube of plastic explosives.)
A Brush With Death II: You saw the first Brush With Death here, and now it’s back! This time at Phoenix (PHX). What looks like an ordinary everyday hairbrush pulls apart to reveal a molded plastic implement of death. Hair beware! 

Very Kind Words: A member of the Families of September 11 gave this card to one of our Officers at Laguardia (LGA).

Screenshot of Families 0f 9/11 Letter.
Concealed Items: A razor, a small saw blade, and a garrote were detected under a sewn-on patch in a carry-on bag at Norfolk (ORF). Sounds like the beginning of a joke: “So, this razor, a saw blade, and a garrote walk into a bar…”

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items: In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also found firearm components, a shocking amount of stun guns, brass knuckles, a plethora of knives, ammunition, and batons.

6 loaded firearms.
Firearms: Here are the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday.
19 firearms discovered. 16 were loaded.
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 throughput is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. 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 in their bag. That’s why it’s important to double check your luggage before you get to the airport.

Blogger Bob Burns
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

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

TSA Says Yes to the Dress

Bride in wedding dress holding boquet of flowers.
I know from experience that planning a wedding can be a stressful time for a bride, especially if you’re getting married away from home.  It can be really stressful if you’re jetting off for a destination wedding and don’t want to let your precious wedding dress out of your sight for fear it could get lost or damaged.  As anyone will tell you, getting all the information ahead of time and being prepared can reduce your stress.

As the trend of destination weddings grow, more women are dealing with the conundrum of shipping their dress to the place they’ll getting married or taking it on the plane with them.  Like many other items we are frequently asked about, this issue involves both TSA and the airline.

Brides-to-be can definitely bring their wedding dress through a security checkpoint.  Ideally, the dress can lay flat in its garment bag or other packaging and fit through the X-ray machine.  If it can’t, our officers can screen the dress manually, but this will require opening the garment bag.  Rest assured that our officers will use gloves for the alternate screening to avoid damaging the dress.  

We strongly advise brides to contact their airline to ask about taking their wedding dress on the plane.  While some aircraft have closets in first class that can hold the dress, others may not, which could cause challenges in storing the dress above the seat.  Airlines will also count the dress as a carry-on item, so be sure to learn about your airline’s carry-on policies to avoid having to check any items at the gate.

While working on this post, I reached out to some of our customer service managers in various airports to ask them what other questions brides frequently ask.  Their  tips include:  if you’re taking a special cake knife to cut the cake, please ship it or put it in your checked bag.  Wired bouquets are allowed through the checkpoint, along with rice, birdseed, sand and candy coated almonds.  If you’re taking gifts for your bridal party, it’s best to wrap them when you get to your destination in case they require additional screening.  Pack all of your jewelry in your carry-on bag – don’t put it in checked bags.  And take your marriage license with you in the event you booked your plane tickets in your married name but haven’t updated your driver’s license.  

If any other issues arise while preparing to fly to a destination wedding, brides-to-be can call or email TSA’s Contact Center at 1-866-289-9673 or at TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov 

Lynn 
TSA Blog Team     


Friday, March 9, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Eels on a Plane?

Firearm disguised as toy, throwing stars, inert grenades, knives, spear gun, smoke bombs, hoax itiem.
Nomadic Aquarium for People on the Go: A passenger was transporting live fish, eels and coral in their checked baggage at Miami (MIA). The passenger was attempting to transport 163 marine tropical fish, 12 Trachemys Scripta (red sliders), 22 invertebrates, 24 live coral pieces, 8 pieces of Scleactinina with mushroom polyps, and 8 pieces of soft coral to Maracaibo (MAR). The passenger surrendered the items to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. We’re not in the business of looking for marine life, but you can probably imagine how odd this looked on our monitor. 

A passenger was transporting live fish, eels and coral in their checked baggage at Miami (MIA). The passenger was attempting to transport 163 marine tropical fish, 12 Trachemys Scripta (red sliders), 22 invertebrates, 24 live coral pieces, 8 pieces of Scleactinina with mushroom polyps, and 8 pieces of soft coral to Maracaibo (MAR).
 Real Gun Concealed as Toy Gun: (See photo) In an attempt to avoid declaring their firearm in checked baggage, a passenger at Jacksonville (JAX), placed their firearm in a toy police officer kit. They even went as far as sticking a dart in the barrel. Clever but no dice.

Gearshift Grenades: It’s a grenade. It’s a gearshift. It’s a gearshift grenade. (Inert) Read here and here  for more information on why inert grenades cause problems at checkpoints.

Message in a Bottle?: A suspicious black bottle with a red wire was found on the floor near a ticket counter at Houston (IAH). It was determined to be a hoax.

Blast off Those Calories: A toy grenade was found at Greensboro (GSO) containing weight loss supplements. We have nothing against weight loss, but anything in the shape of a grenade causes serious concerns at any airport.

Another Example of What Not to Say: A passenger became disruptive during screening at San Juan (SJU) and stated: “I have a bomb, but I disarmed it.” Statements like this will never expedite the screening process.

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items: In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also found a spear gun, firearm components, several stun guns, a replica firearm, brass knuckles, knives, knives, and more knives, and a fantasy knife that slays mythical creatures that don’t exist, ammunition, and batons.

12 loaded guns.
Firearms: Here are the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday. 

29 guns discovered. 24 were loaded.
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 throughput is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. 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 in their bag. That’s why it’s important to double check your luggage before you get to the airport.

Including checkpoint and checked baggage screening, TSA has 20 layers of security both visible and invisible to the public. Each one of these layers alone is capable of stopping a terrorist attack. In combination their security value is multiplied, creating a much stronger, formidable system. A terrorist who has to overcome multiple security layers in order to carry out an attack is more likely to be pre-empted, deterred, or to fail during the attempt.

Blogger Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team
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