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.