Friday, June 27, 2014

TSA Week in Review – A Plethora of Credit Card Knives are Being Discovered (as well as some other interesting items)


Credit Card Knife
Credit Card Knife (BUF)

Credit Card Knives - There has been a growing trend in the number of credit-card knives discovered at checkpoints. Including this week, 186 credit card knives have been discovered. Check out this blog post for more information on credit card knives. 61 credit card knives were discovered just this week alone. 10 were discovered at San Francisco (SFO), nine at Nashville (BNA), five at Knoxville (TYS), five at Little Rock (LIT), four at Tampa (TPA), three at Billings (BIL), three at Grand Rapids (GRR), three at Long Beach (LGB), three at Minneapolis (MSP), two at Cincinnati (CVG), two at Colorado Springs (COS), two at Providence (PVD), two at Tri-Cities (TRI), and the remainder were discovered at Grand Forks (GFK), Manchester (MHT), Petersburg (PIE), Sarasota (SRQ), St. Croix (STX), Traverse City (TVC), Minneapolis (MSP), Williston (ISN), and Wilmington (ILM).
Spent Artillery Shell and Rounds (HNL), Inert Grenades (PDX)
Spent Artillery Shell and Rounds (HNL), Inert Grenades (PDX)
Inert Ordnance and Grenades etc. – We continue to find inert grenades and other weaponry on a weekly basis. Please keep in mind that if an item looks like a real bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited. When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays because the explosives detection professionals must resolve the alarm to determine the level of threat. Even if they are novelty items, you cannot bring them on a plane.  Read here on why inert items cause problems.

  • Two inert grenades were discovered in a carry-on bag at Portland (PDX).  
  • An inert flashbang grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at St. Louis (STL).
  • A spent artillery shell was discovered in a checked bag at Honolulu (HNL).
Brush Dagger (DEN), Razor Blade in Hat (TPA), Stun Phone (RIC)
Brush Dagger (DEN), Razor Blade in Hat (TPA), Stun Phone (RIC)

Artfully Concealed Prohibited Items – It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure prohibited items are not inside. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag or on your body, you could be cited and 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 razorblade was discovered in the hatband of a baseball cap at Tampa (TPA).
  • A hair brush dagger was discovered in a carry-on bag at Denver (DEN). 
  • Two knives were discovered under the lining of a hard-sided carry-on bag at 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…
Hatchet (MHT), Dagger (ORD)
Hatchet (MHT), Dagger (ORD)
Knuckle Stunner (PHX), Wolf Bow (ORD), Road Flare (LAN)
Knuckle Stunner (PHX), Wolf Bow (ORD), Road Flare (LAN)
Three Throwing Stars (JFK), Throwing Knife (JAX), Throwing Star (IAH)
Three Throwing Stars (JFK), Throwing Knife (JAX), Throwing Star (IAH)
Knuckle Knives - Top (JFK), Bottom (HNL)
Knuckle Knives - Top (JFK), Bottom (HNL)
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 Albuquerque (ABQ) passenger stated the following to a gate agent: “I have explosives in my pocket. We all have bombs. I have cyanide in my wallet.” He didn’t have explosives or cyanide.
  • A Rochester (ROC) passenger approached a ticket counter to check in and stated to the ticket agent that he had a bomb in his bag. He didn’t have a bomb in his bag.
Airsoft Gun (SMF)
Airsoft Gun (SMF)

Stun Guns – 25 stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation: Two were discovered at Dallas Love (DAL), two at Kansas City (MCI), Las Vegas (LAS), two at Phoenix (PHX), two at San Diego (SAN), and the remainder were discovered at Akron (CAK), Albuquerque (ABQ), Anchorage (ANC), Austin (AUS), Baltimore (BWI), Burbank (BUR), Denver (DEN), Kodiak (ADQ), Nashville (BNA), New York LaGuardia (LGA), Northwest Arkansas (XNA), Portland (PDX), Richmond (RIC), Sacramento (SMF), Texarkana (TXK), and Vegas (LAS).
Ammunition (SAN)
Ammunition (SAN)

Airsoft Guns – An Airsoft gun was discovered this week in a carry-on bag at Sacramento (SMF). Airsoft guns are prohibited in carry-on bags, but allowed in checked baggage. Airsoft grenades are not permitted in checked or carry-on bags. Read this post for more information: TSA Travel Tips Tuesday: Traveling with Airsoft Guns

Ammunition – When packed properly, ammunition can be transported in your checked baggage, but it is never permissible to pack ammo in your carry-on bag.




40 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 40 firearms, 35 were loaded and eight had rounds chambered. 

Firearms Discovered at (L-R / T-B) OMA, HOU & GPT
Firearms Discovered at (L-R / T-B) OMA, HOU & GPT
Firearms Discovered at (L-R / T-B) ATL, LAS, IAD, TVC, GSO & PIT
Firearms Discovered at (L-R / T-B) ATL, LAS, IAD, TVC, GSO & PIT
Firearms Discovered at (L-R / T-B)DAL, AUS, PDX & CHS
Firearms Discovered at (L-R / T-B)DAL, AUS, PDX & CHS
40 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 40 firearms, 35 were loaded and eight had rounds chambered.

*In order to provide a timely weekly update, this data is compiled from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly from what is reported in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will be actual numbers and not 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 line 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. 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 TSA Blog Year in Review for 2013. You can also check out 2011 & 2012 as well.

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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.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Annual Reminder: Fireworks Don't Fly on Airplanes



Fireworks Discovered by TSA Officers
Fireworks Discovered by TSA Officers

I know my annual fireworks reminders sound a bit silly, but travelers really do continue to pack them. I guess it’s not too surprising when you think about it. Over 900 firearms (most of them loaded) have been discovered in carry-on bags so far this year. In fact, 18 firearms were discovered in just one day earlier this month.



So, just for the record:



Fireworks are prohibited in both carry-on and checked bags. This includes all varieties including but not limited to:

    Travel Advisory poster
  • Aerial repeater fireworks
  • Aerial shell fireworks
  • Bottle rockets
  • Chasers
  • Firecrackers
  • Flying spinners
  • Fountains
  • Ground spinners
  • Missiles
  • Parachute fireworks
  • Poppers
  • Roman candles
  • Skyrockets
  • Smoke fireworks
  • Snakes
  • Snaps
  • Sparklers
  • Strobes
  • Wheels



Check out USA.gov’s Fourth of July page for all sorts of safety tips and cool information about Independence Day. And while you’re at it, check out our summer travel tips blog post.



Have a great holiday weekend and stay safe. 


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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.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Traveling With Firearms and Ammunition on Commercial Aircraft


Unloaded firearm in hard-sided lockable case.Firearms, ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames and receivers, are prohibited in carry-on baggage. Scopes are permitted.  

Travelers such as target shooters, hunters, collectors, etc., need to travel with their firearms and can do so by checking their firearms and ammunition as checked baggage, as long as proper packing guidelines are followed. 

Before I go any further, please take note: 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. For example, while firearms can be declared and checked with baggage in Cincinnati, it’s illegal in New York City due to possession laws. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies. Also, please note that other countries have different laws that address transportation and possession of firearms. If you are planning to travel internationally, check the regulations of the destination country to ensure compliance with their requirements. 

Failure to adhere to the following regulations will preclude passengers from traveling with firearms, ammunition or firearm parts. These regulations are strictly enforced and violations can result in state and local criminal prosecution, as well as civil penalties of up to $2,000 per violation.

    Unloaded firearm in hard-sided lockable case.
  • Travelers must declare all firearms to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
  • The firearm must be unloaded.
  • The firearm must be in a hard-sided container.
  • The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be pulled open with little effort cannot be brought aboard the aircraft.
  • If firearms are not properly declared or packed, TSA will provide the bag to law enforcement for resolution with the airline. If the issue is resolved, law enforcement will release the bag to TSA so screening may be completed.
  • TSA must resolve all alarms of checked luggage. If a locked case containing a firearm alarms, TSA will contact the airline, who will make a reasonable attempt to contact the owner and advise the passenger to go to the screening location. If contact is not made, the container will not be placed on the aircraft.
  • If a locked container alarms during screening and is not marked as containing a declared firearm, TSA will cut the lock in order to resolve the alarm.
  • Travelers should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation.
  • Travelers must securely pack any ammunition in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
  • Firearm magazines and ammunition clips must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm.
  • Small arms ammunition, including ammunition not exceeding .75 caliber for a rifle or pistol and shotgun shells of any gauge, may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as long as it follows the packing guidelines described above.
  • TSA prohibits black powder or percussion caps used with black powder.
  • There are certain limited exceptions for law enforcement officers who may fly armed by meeting the requirements of Title 49 CFR § 1544.219. Law enforcement officers should read our policies on traveling with guns.
http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/prohibited-items

Please be sure to double check your coats, bags and other personal items to ensure you don’t absentmindedly bring a firearm through the checkpoint. One of the most common reasons given when guns are found in carry-on bag is: “I didn’t know that was there!”



See you next week with more travel tips!

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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.