Friday, November 15, 2013

TSA Two Weeks in Review (11/01/13 – 11/14/13)

Loaded Firearm (IDA)
Loaded Firearm (IDA)
75 Firearms Discovered in the Past Two Weeks – Of the 75 firearms, 66 were loaded and 19 had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.
Two inert C4 demolition explosives were discovered in the carry-on bag of a passenger at Honolulu (HNL).
Two inert C4 demolition explosives were discovered in the carry-on bag of a passenger at Honolulu (HNL).
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 - real or not. 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.

  • Two inert C4 demolition explosives were discovered in the carry-on bag of a passenger at Honolulu (HNL).
  • An inert grenade was detected in the carry-on bag at Spokane (GEG).
  • 12 Airsoft grenades and two Airsoft flash grenades were discovered in checked baggage at Minneapolis St. Paul (MSP).

Stun Guns – 20 stun guns were discovered over the last two weeks in carry-on bags around the nation. Four were discovered in Denver (DEN), two in Atlanta (ATL), two in Burbank (BUR), two in Cleveland (CLE), two in Phoenix (PHX), and the remainder at  Corpus Christi (CRP), Jackson (JAN),  New York Kennedy (JFK), Las Vegas (LAS), Minneapolis (MSP), Richmond (RIC), Seattle (SEA), San Francisco (SFO). 

Top to Bottom - Left to Right: Cane Sword (CAK), Cane Sword (DTW), Dagger (BUR), Folding Saw (EWR)
Top to Bottom - Left to Right: Cane Sword (CAK), Cane Sword (DTW), Dagger (BUR), Folding Saw (EWR)
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 the past two weeks where prohibited items were found by our officers in strange places.

  • A cane sword with a 16-inch blade was discovered at Detroit (DTW).
  • A dagger belt buckle was discovered at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).
  • A credit card knife was discovered in Albuquerque (ABQ).
  • A belt buckle knife was discovered at Saipan (GSN).
  • A knife, a multi-tool, and a credit card multi-tool were detected concealed inside the pull handle of a carry-on bag at Detroit (DTW)

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 to Right: Ammo Discovered at ONT, CMH, DTW
Left to Right: Ammo Discovered at ONT, CMH, DTW
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.

Airsoft Gun (SNA)
Airsoft Gun (SNA)
Airsoft Guns – Airsoft guns were discovered in carry-on bags over the last two weeks at Myrtle Beach (MYR), Salt Lake City (SLC), Sacramento (SMF) and Orange County (SNA). 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

Firearms Discovered in Carry-On Bags 
Top to Bottom - Left to Right: Firearms Discovered at ABQ, BNA, PHX, SAN, PIT, MIA
Top to Bottom - Left to Right: Firearms Discovered at ABQ, BNA, PHX, SAN, PIT, MIA
75 Firearms Discovered in the Past Two Weeks – Of the 75 firearms, 66 were loaded and 19 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.

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

TSA 2013 Holiday Travel Tips

Holiday Travel Banner

As in past years, I have again put together a list of helpful travel tips and links to make your holiday travel a little easier. 

TSAprecheck Logo
TSA Pre™ and other Risk Based Expedited Screening: TSA continues to expand TSAPre✓™, an prescreening initiative designed to expedite checkpoint screening primarily for known travelers and active duty service members, with similar benefits for passengers 12 and under and 75 and older. Through this program, TSA is able to reduce, although not eliminate, the need for a pat-down. TSA Pre✓™ is currently available in 100 airports. To date, more than 18 million passengers have been screened through TSA Pre✓™ lanes! Remember, entering incorrect information can lead to not being selected for TSA Pre✓™. 

Military Travel: If you’re traveling for the holidays as a member of the U.S. Armed forces, be sure to read the travel tips at this post.  

TSA Contact Center: The Contact Center (TCC) hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 11 p.m., Eastern Time; weekends and federal holidays, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., Eastern Time. The TCC can be reached at 866-289-9673. Passengers can also reach out to the TSA Contact Center with questions about TSA procedures, upcoming travel or to provide feedback or voice concerns. 

TSA Cares Helpline: Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and medical conditions can call the TSA Cares helpline toll free 855-787-2227, 72 hours prior to traveling with any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. A TSA Cares helpline representative is available during all TSA Contact Center hours. 

The MyTSA App: Would you like TSA information anywhere, anytime?  Use the MyTSA app. Among the great features, there’s a “Can I Bring My…” tool. Do you want to know if you can pack a certain item? This is the tool for you. Type in the name of the item you’re curious about and it tells you if the item is permitted or not, along with packing tips. A wait time feature is also available. It relies on crowd sourcing, which means the more people who use it, the better. 

KnivesKnives: Knives of all sizes are prohibited in carry-on bags. However, you can pack them in your checked luggage. 

Wrapped gifts are allowed, but not encouraged: Wrapped gifts are allowed, but we recommend waiting until you land to wrap them. If there’s something in the gift that needs to be inspected, we may have to open it. Our officers try their best not to mangle the gift wrap, but it’s not a guarantee and it also slows down the line for everybody else when we have to do this. 

Liquids, Gels & Aerosols: If you’re checking a bag, make your life simple by packing liquids in your checked luggage. That way, you don’t have to worry about the liquids rules.  (If you’re concerned about them leaking, do what I do and put them in a zip-top bag.)  But I know that doesn’t work for everyone if you’re only bringing a carry-on bag. If you have to take liquids in your carry-on, please continue reading… You can read here for more details. This gist is that 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:

  • Beverages: Wine, liquor, beer, and all of your 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. Sometimes there’s a fine line between a beverage and hazmat.
  • 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.
  • Deodorant: Stick deodorant is not limited to 3.4 oz or less, but gel or spray deodorant is.
  • Some Snow Globes are Permitted Now: TSA now allows small snow globes in carry-on luggage when packed in a passenger's plastic 3-1-1 bag. Snow globes that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces (approximately tennis-ball size) will be permitted if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit in the same one clear, plastic, quart-sized, re-sealable bag as a passenger’s other liquids.
  • Gel Inserts for shoes are now permitted.
  • Foods: Cakes, pies, bread, donuts, turkeys, etc., are all permitted. Here is a list of items that should be placed in your checked bags or shipped: cranberry sauce, creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.), gift baskets with liquid or gel food items (salsa, jams and salad dressings), gravy, jams, jellies, maple syrup, oils and vinegars, sauces, soups, wine, liquor and beer.
Dry Ice: Did you know that you can take dry ice in your carry-on or in checked baggage? Read here to find out how to use dry ice to keep your favorite Thanksgiving vittles preserved while traveling.

Loaded GunDouble Check Your Bag for Guns: Seriously!!! If you read our Week in Review posts, you’ll see that our officers find guns every day at checkpoints in the U.S.  A good percentage of those are loaded. Save yourself a bag check, a police interview and a potential arrest by making sure you leave your firearm at home. 

Shaving Razors: You can get more info from our blog post on this subject where the pictures will answer all of your questions.

Forgotten or Lost IDs: If you have lost or forgotten your ID, you will still be permitted to fly as long as you help us verify you are who you say you are by answering a few questions. Read this post for more information.

Medication: One of the more popular questions we get from travelers is: “Can I travel with my medication.” The answer is yes, with some qualifiers. Here are a few tips that you might find helpful.

Traveling With Children: Did you know that children 12 and under can keep their shoes on? If you’re going on a family trip this summer, be sure to click here for more tips.

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 and fishing gear.

Traveling With a Pet: TSA does not prohibit travel with pets. However, it is very important that you contact your airline first so they can let you know about any requirements, fees, or restrictions they might have. Read here for more information.

How to Avoid Additional Screening:  The most important tip to help you avoid additional screening is to take everything out of your pockets before screening and put 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. If you have a hidden medical device (insulin pump, ostomy bag, brace, etc.), please let the officer know. 

Jewelry: Should you remove jewelry or keep it on to go through security? The answer, in most cases is that you can keep it on, but there are a few different choices that you can make based on what kind of jewelry it is. Read this post for more information. 

Batteries: You can’t go anywhere without some kind of battery these days. Read this post to learn about what types of batteries you can travel with.

Happy Holidays! 

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