Friday, May 18, 2012

TSA Week in Review: 30 Loaded Guns Found This Week in Carry-on Bags

Loaded firearm, signal flares and flare gun, smoke grenade, fireworks, knives.
Six 12-Gauge Flares: You know they have little buttons above your seat for when you need a flight attendant, right? I doubt you need signal flares to get their attention. These six flares were found by our Officers at Milwaukee (MKE).

Body Scanner Discoveries This Week – There were seven incidents this week where drugs were found on passengers using imaging technology. Items were found everywhere from pockets to the groin area at LAX, ELM, SMF, OGG, PGD, CHS and TPA. We’re not looking for drugs, but finding these nonmetallic items in areas where explosives could also be hidden is a testament that the technology works. In addition to these discoveries, there was also a passenger at Anchorage who attempted to sneak in a tube of toothpaste by placing it in her groin area. This was an attempt to get it through after we had already caught it in her bag earlier. If you’re not familiar with why toothpaste is prohibited, you can read about our liquid policies here.

No Smoking: Smoking has been banned on flights for quite some time now, so please leave your smoke grenades at home. A live M-18 smoke grenade was discovered in checked baggage at Las Vegas (LAS).

Officers in Wilmington (ILM) found two knives a passenger tried to conceal in their suitcase:  a pocket knife wrapped in a computer cable and a kitchen knife hidden inside the lining of the bag near the pull handle support.
Concealed Knives: It’s one thing to forget that you had a knife in your bag, but when you intentionally conceal it, it raises eyebrows.  Officers in Wilmington (ILM) found two knives a passenger tried to conceal in their suitcase:  a pocket knife wrapped in a computer cable and a kitchen knife hidden inside the lining of the bag near the pull handle support.
People Say the Darndest Things - Here are examples of what not to say at the airport. Statements like these not only delay the people who said them but can also inconvenience lots of other passengers if the checkpoint has to be evacuated:

When asked if he had any prohibited items in his bag, a passenger at New York Kennedy (JFK) replied: “Yes, I have a bomb.”
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 extraordinary amount of knives, ammunition, and batons.

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

32 firearms discovered last week. 30 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.

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

It’s Time to go Scuba Diving - Travel Tips for Divers

Scuba Diving GearKeith Jeffries, the Assistant Federal Security Director from Orlando International Airport (MCO), will be speaking today on the CCR Travel Panel at the Rebreather Forum 3  in Orlando. This forum brings together the foremost minds in rebreather technology from all over the world. 

In conjunction with this speaking event, we wanted publish a post on traveling with scuba gear, so we looked within TSA to see if we had any diving experts. That’s when we found Charlie Foreman, a Customer Support Manager in Mississippi. He’s been diving since the early 80’s and instructing since 1985. He began instructing the instructors in 1990 to teach open water diving as well as underwater photography. He’s got over 5,500 dives under his belt and was inducted into Platinum Pro Instructor Foundation as well as the Platinum Pro Diver Foundation. 

Enjoy this very informative post! ~ Bob


Before you get on that plane that takes you to an exciting destination, you must first think about how you should pack your dive gear for the flight. Here are some suggestions to make sure your expensive equipment arrives safely to your paradise adventure.

Always pack your expensive dive equipment and accessories in your carry-on luggage.

Always pack any prescription masks with you in carry-on luggage. If you lose this item it could ruin your whole trip.

Always pack your dive computers and regulators in carry-on luggage because these items are sensitive and do not need to be tossed around under the plane by baggage handlers.

Carry any prescriptions with you in your carry-on bag so they will not be lost.

Now that you have your carry-on bag packed, you can pay attention to packing your dive equipment that goes into the baggage area of the plane.

Pack your dive jacket( B.C, Stab Jacket, Buoyancy Compensators) in your dive bag first and place them in the middle of the bag.

Surround the jacket with your fins to protect it during the flight.

If you choose not to carry your mask with you on the plane make sure it is in a protective mask box and it is wrapped with dive skins or your wetsuit to protect it from getting broken. Always carry a spare mask in your bag. Masks are very expensive if you have to replace one on your vacation. Make sure you place your dive knife in your checked baggage and not your carry-on. This item is prohibited on board an aircraft.

Be sure to pack extra fin straps and repair items you might need as well as motion sickness medicines just in case. It is not necessary to carry weights and tanks with you since all resorts provide tanks and weights with the dive packages.

If you do chose to carry you own personal small emergency air source make sure the valve is out of the cylinder and it can be inspected at your time of departure.

Do not forget the most important item!  Make sure you lock your baggage with a TSA approved lock. This will prevent anyone from removing items out of  your dive bags.    

Now…Lets Go Diving…

Guest Blogger - Charlie Foreman
TSA Stakeholder-Customer Support Manager