Friday, September 14, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Gunpowder Discovered in Boston

GunpowderGunpowder was discovered in a checked bag at Boston (BOS) while Officers were resolving an Explosive Detection System (EDS) alarm.

Items in the Strangest Places –It’s important to check your bags prior to traveling. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag, you could be cited and possibly arrested by law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found in strange places.
  • A pocketknife was discovered in a shoe at Salt Lake City (SLC).
  • Using a body scanner, Officers discovered an 8 oz. bottle of vodka discovered in a passengers pants at Nashville (BNA).
GrenadesInert Grenades Etc. – We continue to find hand grenades and other weaponry on weekly basis. Please keep in mind that if something looks like a bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited - real or not. When these items are found at a checkpoint, they can cause significant delays. I know they are cool novelty items, but it is best not to take them on a plane.  Read here and here on why inert items cause problems.
  • A belt buckle in the shape of a hand grenade slowed down operations at Kona (KOA) while we went through the proper steps to ensure it wasn’t a live grenade.
  • 4 inert grenades were discovered in a carry-on bags at Denver (DEN), Salt Lake City (SLC), Tulsa (TUL), and Houston (IAH).
Stun Guns – 6 stun guns were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints around the nation: Chicago O’Hare (ORD), 3 at Baltimore (BWI), Chicago Midway (MDW), Denver (DEN)

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items - In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, bb and pellet guns, Airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, and a lot of sharp pointy things. Just to mention a few… 

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

Loaded Guns
Loaded Guns

31 guns discovered at TSA checkpoints.

Loaded Guns

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 have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.

Reports Say Passenger Prevented from Boarding Flight in Retaliation for Her Attitude? There’s More to the Story…

TSA officers screen millions of passengers every day to protect the traveling public and are held to the highest levels of professional and ethical standards.

You may have heard about a passenger in Houston last week who claimed that TSA officers prevented her from boarding her flight in “retaliation” for her “attitude.”

But what you may not have heard is that the passenger refused a random screening procedure. The passenger initially ignored officers and then became verbally abusive. When a traveler does not allow a TSA officer to complete screening, it’s standard procedure for a law enforcement officer to be called to the area. When the officer arrived and observed the behavior firsthand, he asked if TSA wanted to press charges. We declined.

To be clear -- airline employees, not TSA, made the call about whether to allow this passenger to board their flight.

We take these matters seriously, so we thoroughly reviewed the incident and have concluded that this passenger was screened in accordance with standard procedures.  We also viewed the video circulating on the internet (although only part of the video is actually available) and watched as the TSA officer began to explain that screening is designed to make passengers safer. The video abruptly ends before the officer is able to answer the questions fully.

Let’s set the record straight.  Our goal is to get passengers on their flights and safely to their destinations. 

If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.