Friday, March 29, 2013

TSA Week in Review: A Look at Some of the More Interesting Items our Officers Found This Week



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

  • There were two separate incidents this week at Seattle (SEA) where inert items used for training (not TSA) about explosives were discovered in checked baggage. Electric detonators were discovered in one incident, and a block of inert C4 with duct tape and wires protruding in another. These items are never permitted on commercial aircraft. Other preparations must be made to have your training aids at your destination.
  • A replica WWII German “Potato Masher” grenade was discovered in checked baggage at Charlotte (CLT). It was a gift for the passenger’s son. I would have loved to have had one of these when I was a kid. But… a commercial airliner is not the right place to transport anything that looks like a real grenade.

32 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 32 firearms, 27 were loaded and five had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.

Loaded Pistol (DEN)
Loaded Pistol (DEN)
Ammunition – Ammo is ok to be transported within checked baggage as long as you follow the proper guidelines, but it is never permitted in carry-on baggage. Here are a couple of photos of ammunition our officers found in carry-on bags this week.

Ammunition

Stun Guns – Ten stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation.  Two were discovered at San Francisco (SFO), and the others at Atlanta (ATL), Burlington (BTV), Denver (DEN), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Kansas City (MCI), Mercedita (PSE), New York LaGuardia (LGA), and San Diego (SAN).


What Not to Say at an Airport – Statements like these not only delay the people who said them but can also inconvenience many other passengers if the checkpoint or terminal has to be evacuated:

  • A passenger flying out of San Juan told the ticket agent that her bag contained a bomb and she was going to blow up the plane. After it was all said and done, her bag didn’t have a bomb, but as a result of her threat, the ticket counter, checkpoint, and terminal were closed for nearly an hour. There were consequences.


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 -- to mention a few…



Firearms Discovered This Week

6 loaded firearms.
2 loaded firearms.

6 loaded firearms.
 


32 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 32 firearms, 27 were loaded and five had rounds chambered.
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.

*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.



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.



Thursday, March 28, 2013

Five New Airports Roll Out TSA Pre✓™ - AUS, CLE, MEM, BNA, RDU



TSA Pre✓™ logo.Five new airports have rolled out TSA Pre✓™ bringing the total so far to 40 airports. 

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) Passengers traveling domestically who are select Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways frequent travelers or members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs are now eligible to participate and may receive expedited screening benefits. The TSA Pre✓™ lane is located at Checkpoint 2

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) Passengers traveling domestically who are select American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways frequent travelers or members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs are now eligible to participate in TSA Pre✓™ and may receive expedited screening benefits at the South Checkpoint.

Memphis International Airport (MEM) Passengers traveling domestically who are select American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways frequent travelers or members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs are eligible to participate and may receive expedited screening benefits at Checkpoint B. 

Nashville International Airport (BNA) Passengers traveling domestically who are select American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways frequent travelers or members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs are eligible to participate and may receive expedited screening benefits at the Main Checkpoint. 

Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) Passengers traveling domestically who are select American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways frequent travelers or members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs are eligible to participate and may receive expedited screening benefits at the Terminal 2 checkpoint. 

Click here to see the other 35 airports with TSA Pre✓™.

In case you're wondering what TSA Pre✓™ is, you can go here to read all about it. Long story short, it's an initiative program that allows passengers to keep their shoes and belts on, and keep their laptops in their bags. Also, it is free to many members who have been opted in by participating airlines.

TSA has also extended expedited screening to wounded warriors nationwide and to service members traveling through Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), Denver International Airport (DEN), and Lambert - St.Louis International Airport (STL). 

Bob Burns 
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, March 22, 2013

TSA Week in Review: Firearms, Grenades, Stun Guns, and More



Non-Metallic Tactical Spike Found With AIT  (DSM)
Non-Metallic Tactical Spike Found With AIT  (DSM)

Items in the Strangest Places –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, 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 in strange places.

  • Officers at Des Moines (DSM) discovered an 8-inch non-metallic tactical spike in a passenger’s sock after he alarmed Advanced Imaging Technology.
  • A passenger at Philadelphia had forgotten about the switchblade in his pocket. Our officers reminded him about the knife after it was detected by Advanced Imaging Technology.
  • A 4-inch knife was discovered concealed under the bag lining in the pull handle mechanism at Westchester (HPN).
  • A passenger at Washington Dulles (IAD) was as surprised as our officers were when they discovered a knife inside her cane. She said that she bought the cane at an antique store and had no idea the blade was concealed inside.

3 large knives.

32 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 32 firearms, 23 were loaded and seven had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.

Loaded Firearm (MDW)
Loaded Firearm (MDW)
A total of eight inert/novelty/replica grenades were found this week in checked baggage. Two were discovered at Medford (MFR), two more at South Bend (SBN), and the others were found at Phoenix (PHX), Anchorage (ANC), Tulsa (TUL), and Las Vegas (LAS).

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

  • A total of eight inert/novelty/replica grenades were found this week in checked baggage. Two were discovered at Medford (MFR), two more at South Bend (SBN), and the others were found at Phoenix (PHX), Anchorage (ANC), Tulsa (TUL), and Las Vegas (LAS).

Stun Guns – Eight stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation at Baltimore (BWI), Burbank (BUR), Burlington (BTV), Denver (DEN), Kansas City (MCI), Minneapolis (MSP), San Diego (SAN), and San Francisco (SFO).

What Not to Say at an Airport – Statements like these not only delay the people who said them but can also inconvenience many other passengers if the checkpoint or terminal has to be evacuated:

  • An Amarillo (AMA) passenger arrived to the checkpoint visibly upset and during screening, he told the officer: “I don’t have any bombs, at least not yet.”

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 -- to mention a few…



Firearms Discovered This Week

6 loaded firearms.
7 loaded firearms.


32 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 32 firearms, 23 were loaded and seven had rounds chambered.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.

*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.



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.



Bob Burns 
TSA Blog Team 

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wounded Warrior Screened at Phoenix Was Not Asked and Did Not Remove Prosthetic Legs


There have been many reports about a U.S. Marine Wounded Warrior who was recently screened at Phoenix (PHX). Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misreporting.

After reviewing TSA video (CCTV), interviewing and receiving written statements from all Officers involved, we found that the Marine was not asked and did not remove his prosthetic legs. The screening was done by the book and lasted a total of 8 minutes from beginning to end.  By chance, the screening was conducted by two TSA Officers who were prior military. One was in the U.S. Air Force for 18 years, and the other was in the U.S. Marine Corps for 13 years.

Nevertheless, we strive to ensure that all veterans and individuals with medical concerns are treated with dignity and respect. 25 percent of TSA employees are prior military. Some are even still serving in the reserves and guard. I’m a veteran as well. We have the greatest respect for our men and women serving in the military and strive to screen them with the dignity they deserve.

Through our Wounded Warrior Screening program, we strive to make the overall experience for wounded service members as simple and trouble-free as possible. In the coming days, we will expand the Wounded Warriors Screening program to offer TSA Pre✓™, or expedited screening, to this group of veterans.

TSA Officers at Phoenix (PHX) alone have screened and assisted 164 Wounded Warriors over the past year.

We value the continued commitment of our veterans and active duty military employees to TSA’s mission, and to ensuring the safety of all Americans.  See some of TSA’s proud servicemen and women here. 

Bob Burns 

TSA Blog Team 

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

Monday, March 18, 2013

Small Pocket Knives

Small pocket knives and some sporting goods remain on the TSA Prohibited Items List and may be transported in your CHECKED baggage.

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

Friday, March 15, 2013

TSA Week in Review: Smoke Grenade, Flare Gun & More



Flare Gun (HOU)
Flare Gun (HOU)

Flare Gun – A passenger at Houston Hobby (HOU) had an unusual item in his carry-on bag: A flare gun and six loose flares! 



21 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 21 firearms, 20 were loaded and seven had rounds chambered. Here are pictures of some of the firearms. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.

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

Live Smoke Grenade (IAD)
Live Smoke Grenade (IAD)

  • A live smoke grenade was discovered under the lining of a carry-on bag at Washington Dulles (IAD).
  • Three inert/replica/novelty grenades were discovered this week in carry-on bags at Medford (MFR), El Paso (ELP), and Harrisburg (MDT).

Two inert grenades.

Items in the Strangest Places –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, 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 in strange places.

  • A 3-inch belt buckle knife was discovered at Newark (EWR).
  • A 3-inch knife was discovered in a passenger’s belongings at Boise (BOI). The TSA Officer allowed him to exit the checkpoint so he could give the knife to a non-traveling friend. When the passenger made his return trip through the checkpoint, the knife was discovered concealed inside his shoe.

Belt Buckle Knife (EWR)
Belt Buckle Knife (EWR)


Stun Guns – Nine stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation: Two were discovered at Baltimore (BWI) and six others were discovered at Charlotte (CLT), Lincoln (LNK), Los Angeles (LAX), Northwest Florida Beaches (ECP), Seattle (SEA), Savannah (SAV), and Washington Dulles (IAD).


What Not to Say at an Airport – Statements like these not only delay the people who said them but can also inconvenience many other passengers if the checkpoint or terminal has to be evacuated:

  • A passenger at San Juan (SJU) told the gate agent that she had an atomic bomb in her bag. She had to explain to Puerto Rico Port Authority Police, FBI, and TSA that she was just joking.

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 -- to mention a few…



8 large knives.

                                                    Firearms Discovered This Week


3 loaded firearms.
6 loaded firearms.


21 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 21 firearms, 20 were loaded and seven had rounds chambered.
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.

*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.



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.



Bob Burns 
TSA Blog Team 

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