Tuesday, December 31, 2013

TSA Reflects on 2013



2013 was an important year for TSA, as we continued to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to security, and towards a more risk-based security posture. At the heart of this effort has been our focus on expanding expedited screening opportunities to eligible members of the traveling public. Let’s take a look at some of the significant steps we have taken toward that goal and new ways we share TSA information over the last year. 

TSA Precheck Logo
TSA Pre✓™ Expansion: Most importantly, 2013 saw the TSA Pre✓™ program dramatically expand to nine participating airlines and 113 airports.  TSA Pre✓™ allows low-risk travelers to experience faster, more efficient screening and leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, and keep their laptop in its case and 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in their carry-on. Since its launch in October 2011, more than 30 million passengers have experienced TSA Pre✓™. 

TSA Pre✓™ Application Centers Launch: In December, TSA launched its first of many TSA Pre✓™ Application Centers which expanded the expedited screening program to a larger population of travelers. This new application program allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers the opportunity to apply for expedited screening in select screening lanes at participating U.S. airports. There are currently 11 TSA Pre✓™ application centers, and TSA has planned to open more around the country in 2014. 

Member of U.S. Military at TSAprecheck desk.
TSA Pre✓™ for Members of the Military: As a result of the ongoing partnership between TSA and the Department of Defense, TSA Pre✓™ expedited screening was extended to all U.S. Armed Forces service members. Service members, including those serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard, may now enjoy the benefits of this expedited screening program at all 113 participating airports when flying on any of the nine participating airlines. 

TSA Spanish-Language Site: The new Spanish-Language site offers information about TSA’s screening process and security procedures to Spanish speaking travelers. The Spanish language site contains the same helpful traveler information and tips that are available on tsa.gov, and is the TSA’s next step in its plans to easily connect with passengers in their native language and ensures that Spanish speaking passengers have the most current information and security updates available.

As we look back at 2013, we also remember Transportation Security Officer Gerardo Hernandez, who was killed in the horrendous attack at LAX.  Officer Hernandez’s death reminds us of the risks the brave men and women of TSA face every day as they work to protect the traveling public. We will continue to honor Officer Hernandez’s memory as we move into 2014 – working each day to keep the traveling public secure. 

TSA Blog Team

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

Friday, December 27, 2013

TSA Week in Review – 31 Firearms Discovered This Week (25 Loaded)



Firearm & Ammo Discovered at (BNA)
Firearm & Ammo Discovered at (BNA)
31 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 31 firearms, 25 were loaded and seven had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.
Left to Right - Top to Bottom - Three Inert Grenades (DEN), Inert Grenade (AUS), 20mm Round (SAN)
Left to Right - Top to Bottom - Three Inert Grenades (DEN), Inert Grenade (AUS), 20mm Round (SAN)
Inert Ordnance and Grenades etc. - We continue to find inert hand grenades and other weaponry on a weekly basis. Please keep in mind that if an item looks like a realistic bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited. When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays in checkpoint screening. While they may be novelty items, you cannot bring them on a plane. Read here on why inert items cause problems.

  • Five inert/replica/novelty grenades were discovered this week in carry-on bags at Austin (AUS), Guam (GUM), and three at Denver (DEN).
  • An inert 20mm artillery round was detected in the carry-on bag at San Diego (SAN).

Stun Guns – 16 stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation. Two were discovered in Atlanta  (ATL), two in Denver (DEN), and the others were found in Amarillo (AMA), Boise (BOI), Sioux Falls (FSD), Jackson (JAN), Los Angeles (LAX), Memphis (MEM), Myrtle Beach (MYR), Oakland (OAK), Portland (PDX), San Francisco (SFO), San Juan (SJU), and St. Louis (STL).
Stun Guns Discovered at (L-R) JAN & FSD
Stun Guns Discovered at (L-R) JAN & FSD
Artfully Concealed Prohibited Items – It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure no prohibited items are inside. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag or on your body, you could be cited and quite possibly arrested by local law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found by our officers in strange places.

  • Two credit card knives were discovered this week at Albuquerque (ABQ) and Lansing (LAN).

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…

Knives Left to Right, Top to Bottom: BWI, EWR, PHL, EWR, CLT, SAN
Left to Right, Top to Bottom: BWI, EWR, PHL, EWR, CLT, SAN
Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Knives from last two weeks at (ISP), Throwing Knife (LAX), Throwing Stars (SNA)
Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Knives from last two weeks at (ISP), Throwing Knife (LAX), Throwing Stars (SNA)
Top to Bottom - Left to Right: Compound Bow (PHX), C02 for Soda Machine (PHX), Pepper Spray Gun (EWR), C02 Cartridges (ROC)
Top to Bottom - Left to Right: Compound Bow (PHX), C02 for Soda Machine (PHX), Pepper Spray Gun (EWR), C02 Cartridges (ROC)
Ammunition – When packed properly, ammunition can be transported in your checked luggage, but it is never permissible to pack ammo in your carry-on bag.
Ammo Discovered at (L-R) BOI & TUL
Ammo Discovered at (L-R) BOI & TUL
Airsoft Guns – Two Airsoft guns were discovered in carry-on bags this week at Boise (BOI) and New York Kennedy (JFK). Airsoft guns are prohibited in carry-on bags, but allowed in checked baggage. Read this post for more information: TSA Travel Tips Tuesday: Traveling With Airsoft Guns
Airsoft Guns Discovered at (L-R) JFK & BOI
Airsoft Guns Discovered at (L-R) JFK & BOI
Firearms Discovered This Week in Carry-On Bags 
Left to Right, Top to Bottom: MDT, RSW, PBI, SEA, JAX, SAT
Left to Right, Top to Bottom: MDT, RSW, PBI, SEA, JAX, SAT
Guns Top to Bottom, Left to Right: CHS, BOI, MAF, ATL, FLL
Top to Bottom, Left to Right: CHS, BOI, MAF, ATL, FLL



31 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 31 firearms, 25 were loaded and seven had rounds chambered.

*In order to provide a timely weekly update, I compile my data from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly (increase) from what I report in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear, or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will not be estimates.

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. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $7,500.00. 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 haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check out our post highlighting the dangerous, scary, and downright unusual items our officers found in 2012. The 2011 list can be found here.

Follow @TSABlogTeam on Twitter and Instagram!


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

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holiday Travel: Make sure you’re checking it twice


By now, most travelers have their holiday checklists ready to help with the holiday cheer. The last thing that comes to mind (usually not until after arriving at the airport) is whether certain holiday gifts and foods are allowed through security checkpoints! Here’s a list, make sure you’re checking it twice to avoid any delays at the airport.

Download the MyTSA app

The app’s “Can I Bring my _________? ” feature enables you to type in a certain item to see if it’s permitted by TSA. It has more than 3,500 items in the database, many submitted by passengers. You will be sure to find holiday food items such as “eggnog”, “pumpkin pie”, and a “gingerbread house” or “candy canes”.

http://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/cib_home.aspx

Wrapping gifts?
While wrapped gifts are not prohibited, if a bag alarms, our security officers may have to unwrap a gift to take a closer look inside. We recommend passengers to place presents in gift bags or wrap gifts after arriving to avoid the possibility of having to unwrap them during the screening process. Another good option is to ship them ahead.

Check for gifts that do not belong in carry-on

Toys that look like weapons: A toy gun is prohibited in carry-on bags and must be packed in checked baggage. A plastic toy hand grenade or realistic replicas of explosives are prohibited in both carry-on and checked bags.

Sporting Goods: Novelty and toy bats and hockey and lacrosse sticks are not allowed in carry-on luggage. These items must be transported in your checked bag.

Foods that are liquids or spreads:  These foods fall under the TSA's 3-1-1 policy on liquids, gels and aerosols. 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 no more than one bag per person.

Typically, holiday food baskets that contain items such as cranberry sauce, eggnog and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.), jams and salad dressings, gravy, jellies, maple syrup, oils and vinegars, sauces, soups, wine, liquor and beer are over the 3.4-ounce limit and are not allowed.

Certain snow globes: TSA allows small snow globes (approximately tennis-ball size) in carry-on luggage when packed in a passenger's plastic, quart-sized, re-sealable bag with the passenger’s other liquids.

Traveling with Holiday Food Items

Remember to ensure that your food item follows the 3-1-1 liquids rules.

All food items must be screened and may require additional screening.

Do not wrap food items that you plan to bring through the security checkpoints as security officers may have to re-open them for closer inspection.

You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but they are subject to additional screening.

Lastly, don’t forget to check your boarding pass to see if there is a TSA Pre✓™ indicator notifying you of eligibility of expedited screening for your flight!

Happy Holidays!

TSA Blog Team

Friday, December 20, 2013

TSA Week in Review – 38 Firearms Discovered This Week (29 Loaded)



Firearm, Ammo, & Two Knives Discovered in Carry-on Bag at (TUL)
Firearm, Ammo, & Two Knives Discovered in Carry-on Bag at (TUL)

38 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 38 firearms, 29 were loaded and 10 had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.



Inert Grenade (BWI)
Inert Grenade (BWI)
Inert Ordnance and Grenades etc. - We continue to find inert hand grenades and other weaponry on a weekly basis. Please keep in mind that if an item looks like a realistic bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited. When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays in checkpoint screening. While they may be novelty items, you cannot bring them on a plane. Read here on why inert items cause problems.

  • An inert grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at Baltimore (BWI).



Stun Guns – 18 stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation. Two were discovered at Phoenix (PHX), and the others were found at Atlanta (ATL), Boise (BOI), Birmingham (BHM), Borinquen (BQN),  Burbank (BUR), Baltimore (BWI), Denver (DEN), Detroit (DTW), New York Kennedy (JFK), Chicago Midway (MDW), Minot (MOT), Minneapolis (MSP), Oakland (OAK), San Francisco (SFO), St. George (SGU), and Sacramento (SMF).



Left - Right: Stun Guns Discovered at BWI, BQN & MOT
Left - Right: Stun Guns Discovered at BWI, BQN & MOT
Credit Card Knife (LAN)
Credit Card Knife (LAN)
Artfully Concealed Prohibited Items – It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure no prohibited items are inside. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag or on your body, you could be cited and quite possibly arrested by local law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found by our officers in strange places.

  • A credit card knife was discovered at Lansing (LAN).

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…

 
Left - Right: Knives Discovered at CLT, SJC & PVD
Left - Right: Knives Discovered at CLT, SJC & PVD
Ammunition – When packed properly, ammunition can be transported in your checked luggage, but it is never permissible to pack ammo in your carry-on bag.


Ammo Discovered in Carry-on Bag at (PWM)
Ammo Discovered in Carry-on Bag at (PWM)


Airsoft Guns – Two Airsoft guns were discovered in a carry-on bag this week at Omaha (OMA). Airsoft guns are prohibited in carry-on bags, but allowed in checked baggage. Read this post for more information: TSA Travel Tips Tuesday: Traveling With Airsoft Guns



Airsoft Guns Discovered at OMA
Airsoft Guns Discovered at OMA
Firearms Discovered This Week in Carry-On Bags 



Left - Right / Top to Bottom: Firearms Discovered at AEX, DTW, RDU, LAX, MSO
Left - Right / Top to Bottom: Firearms Discovered at AEX, DTW, RDU, LAX, MSO
Left - Right / Top to Bottom: Firearms Discovered at BIL, LAS, EUG, RSW, SAT
Left - Right / Top to Bottom: Firearms Discovered at BIL, LAS, EUG, RSW, SAT
38 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 38 firearms, 29 were loaded and 10 had rounds chambered.
*In order to provide a timely weekly update, I compile my data from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly (increase) from what I report in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear, or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will not be estimates.


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. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $7,500.00. 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 haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check out our post highlighting the dangerous, scary, and downright unusual items our officers found in 2012. The 2011 list can be found here.



Follow @TSABlogTeam on Twitter and Instagram!







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