Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Travel Tips Tuesday: Keeping Your Items Secure During Screening (and What to Do if Something Goes Missing)

Every day, throughout the country, for a variety of reasons, passengers leave something behind at security checkpoints. You’d be surprised to see what TSA sends to the airport lost and found if officers can’t reunite the item with the passenger before they leave. Sometimes passengers leave items in the bowls available for watches or keys, sometimes they forget a small bag because they’re distracted or in a rush, and regrettably, sometimes an item out in plain sight becomes too attractive to others in the vicinity of the checkpoint.

Today’s travel tips are designed to ensure that everything you bring through the checkpoint leaves the checkpoint with you. And if something goes missing, we’ll do our best to the extent we can, to help you figure out how to get it back.

Keep valuables in your bag, not the bowl. One of the tips I share with family and friends most often is to put your wallet, phone, watch, jewelry or other small items in your carry-on bag while you’re in line or when you’re loading items into the bins.  The bowls provided at checkpoints are great for loose change or a pack of gum left in your pocket, but don’t put valuables in them. When the X-ray belt gets really packed, these bowls can be overlooked or forgotten. Expensive items in open bowls may prove tempting to other passengers. While not a regular occurrence, just last week, two passengers were caught stealing items from other passengers at two different airports. 

Less bling, less risk. Sometimes jewelry ends up in a bowl because it’s too bulky to be worn during screening or because the passenger assumes the jewelry has to be removed and takes it off at the last minute. Pack any jewelry you think might have to come off for security in your carry-on bag and put it on after you go through security. 

Report stolen items immediately. As soon as you know a bag or item is missing, notify a TSA officer or airport law enforcement officer immediately. TSA can often work with the airport and local law enforcement to review closed-circuit television footage, identify who may have taken the item and reunite the passenger with their item. Sometimes someone grabs the wrong bag by accident, but anyone caught stealing items will be arrested.

Listen for airport announcements. When possible, some airports can make announcements to let passengers know an item was left behind at the checkpoint.  You never know when the missing item may be yours, so if you hear the announcement, it’s a good idea to check to make sure you have everything.  It’s much easier to get your item before you depart than after you have landed at your destination.   

Contact Lost and Found.  If you realize, after you get to your destination, that you left something behind at the security checkpoint, visit the lost and found contacts page on tsa.gov for phone numbers at every airport.  Be ready to provide a description of the item and the day and approximate time it was left behind.  If your item is found, TSA will work with you to either pick the item up if you’re returning to the airport or mail it to you, at your expense.
 
 
Lynn
TSA Blog Team

 

 

 

25 comments:

Susan Richart said...

Why don't you share your last name with us, Ms. Dean?

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Nick O. said...

Lynn, why didn't you explain the process for getting our stuff back if a screener has (allegedly) taken it?

Really, if our stuff goes missing out of our bags or when going through the xray, the screeners are also suspect. What do we do? What does TSA do? Do they keep screeners from leaving or interacting with other screeners so our stuff doesn't get hidden or passed to an accomplice?

Do TSA supervisors immediately view the checkpoint video recordings to see who (passenger, airport employee, TSA employee) who took the item?

Will you or West actually answer these questions? (It seems like the only time someone from the TSA replies is if they are asked if they'll reply. Lame and obvious.)

Anonymous said...

Have lost item reports increased or decreased since TSA started forcing travelers to empty their pockets, remove belts, etc. to accomodate the weaknesses of the slow, invasive, and ineffective naked body scanners it started using for primary screening in 2010?

Why does TSA continue to use a slow, invasive, and ineffective technology that is so faulty it cannot distinguish between a handkerchief and a bomb?

How many TSA employees have been fired for stealing from passengers? Have more been fired in the four years since TSA imposed the use of naked body scanners than in the four years prior to the imposition of naked body scanners?

Adrian said...

My advice is to not put your stuff on the belt until your patdown agent is present and ready to actually do the patdown. Otherwise, you end up spending several minutes with your belongings out of your line of sight while they park you behind the AIT waiting for someone who's willing to do your patdown.

Too often, the agents will insist that you put your items through the x-ray while the lines for the imager and the opt-outs are several minutes long. Just politely tell them that you'll send your stuff through when they're ready to let you through.

RB said...

Why are travelers required to remove everything from their pockets along with belts and shoes? Doing that is in no way part of a limited administrative search for WEI.

Why is TSA still playing the LGA game? At no time has anyone demonstrated a stable LGA type weapon that could be introduced. If there was such a weapon then why are confiscated LGA's just tossed into common trash bins right at the checkpoint instead of being treated like the risk they are?

Why does TSA demand ID since producing ID is in no way related to a limited administrative search for WEI? Please demonstrate how some TSA employee looking at ID's improves security.

Why are airport workers, including TSA employees, not screened to the same degree that travelers are? These people have a much greater opportunity to introduce contraband without detection into the sterile area due to TSA policies that treat certain groups differently, certainly not a Risk Based Assessment.

When will TSA produce the results of the Whole Body Strip Search Machine Notice of Proposed Rule Making that was ordered by a federal court, ignored by TSA for over a year,and a full year plus has elapsed since the comment period closed?

Why is TSA so afraid of the citizens of this country and does everything possible to block, impede, and ignore the public's right to know what its government and agencies are up to?

One could almost believe that TSA doesn't believe in the United States Constitution.

RB said...

http://m.ktvu.com/news/news/crime-law/woman-successfully-boards-flight-lax-san-jose-with/ngwTR/

Is it a new TSA policy where a person doesn't need a ticket to clear the TSA TDC and security?

Susan Richart said...

RB, the spokesperson for SJC implied in a television interview that the TSA's failure to check the woman's ID never compromised security.

If that is so, then why are IDs being checked?

So now we all know that ID has absolutely nothing to do with security and it appears that the airport realizes that also.

Secondly, apparently the TSA was not going to mention this incident until they were asked about it be the media. I wonder why that is?

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

RB said...

Susan Richart said...
RB, the spokesperson for SJC implied in a television interview that the TSA's failure to check the woman's ID never compromised security.

If that is so, then why are IDs being checked?

So now we all know that ID has absolutely nothing to do with security and it appears that the airport realizes that also.

Secondly, apparently the TSA was not going to mention this incident until they were asked about it be the media. I wonder why that is?

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

August 7, 2014 at 6:27 AM
.................
Apparently not only did TSA not check this woman's ID TSA didn't even check her ticket.

I am in the "ID doesn't matter" crowd given that the purpose of TSA is to conduct a Limited Administrative Search but TSA has also decided to exclude people from the sterile area unless they are ticketed or have a gate pass.

So how does a person get past TSA's vaunted professional (you must federalize to professionalize) security screeners without a ticket?

A bigger question is what discipline will be applied to the TSA screeners at that airport?

And let us not forget this is the same airport where a teenager was able to crawl into the wheel well of an airplane undetected and made his way to Hawaii. Seems TSA is completely incompetent at SJC!

I am not surprised that TSA wasn't going to talk about this incident. TSA never talks about how incompetent it and its employees are.

Smoke and Mirrors, smoke and mirrors.

That is the TSA our EIGHT BILLION TAX DOLLARS PER YEAR pays for.

I say the public is getting ripped off!

@skywaymanaz said...

I said in a previous post the No Fly List was a bad idea. For one thing it is pointless since anyone with half a brain could figure out how to evade it and fly anyway. Now even TSA seems to be admitting inadvertently it's merely bureaucratic make busy work. 99% of the reason TSA asks for ID is because the airlines don't want to be the bad guy and do it themselves. They all wanted this requirement 25 years ago to crack down on fraud with ticket resale and frequent flier account misuse. No airline wanted to be the first to do it. They lobbied for years to make it a federal requirement. It was hastily implemented in 1996 after a non terrorist accident. TSA will officially claim they need the ID verification to match you against the No Fly List. Screened is screened though so if TSA is really doing their job that shouldn't be an issue. The No Fly List has the potential to be abused to say put everyone in the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street on it, not to mention anyone who criticizes TSA. I'm sure many who work for TSA or DHS would say that is unthinkable things would go that far. Well it was unthinkable not that long ago airport security would put their hands inside our underwear or probe for resistance there. If TSA is seriously telling us with a straight face security wasn't compromised by letting her through then even they know the No Fly List vetting is a joke.

Anonymous said...

Why does TSA check under my watch during the "enhanced patdown"? The face of my watch is about the size of quarter. What exactly could be hidden under my watch that would be a danger to a plane? If there is a viable threat that could be hidden under a watch, couldn't a terrorist just put the threatening item *inside* the watch?

Anonymous said...

What is the status of the case in which the fake screener patted down women in a private screening room at the airport in San Francisco? How does TSA have authority over this case, given that investigations of public intoxication and sexual assault are not within TSA's purview? If what happened in the private screening room was sexual assault and/or illegal detention, how are TSA procedures in the private screening room not considered sexual assault and/or illegal detention as well?

Anonymous said...

Still nothing about radiation exposure rates for TSOs. Hobby Lobby defense?

Anonymous said...

rb said:
"That is the TSA our EIGHT BILLION TAX DOLLARS PER YEAR pays for."
what percentage of the federal budget is this?

Anonymous said...

i take all the items out of my packets and put them in my carryon. it allows me to get through a lot easier and i dont have to worry about leaving items behind. once i get to the otherside i pick up my bag and put everything back in my pockets at the gate area. its always worked well.

RB said...

Anonymous said...rb said:"That is the TSA our EIGHT BILLION TAX DOLLARS PER YEAR pays for."

what percentage of the federal budget is this?August 8, 2014 at 8:11 AM
____________________________________
What's your point?

Are you suggesting that waste, fraud, and abuse in government spending is ok as long as it is below a certain threshold amount?

Ever wonder why federal spending is out of control?

RB said...

Anonymous said...i take all the items out of my packets and put them in my carryon. it allows me to get through a lot easier and i dont have to worry about leaving items behind. once i get to the otherside i pick up my bag and put everything back in my pockets at the gate area. its always worked well.August 8, 2014 at 8:13 AM
___________________________________
Doesn't it concern you that TSA's $250,000 Strip Search Machines false alarm on something as harmless as a receipt for that cup of coffee you bought on the way to the airport?

Or consider a pair of mens slacks. The side pockets usually consist of a layer of the outer material and two layers of material making up the pocket. So why doesn't the machine alarm in this case? Or is that kind of thing that results in the extremely high incidence of WBI false alarms?

TSA is only allowed by law for a limited administrative search for the sole purpose if finding WEI. Having to remove everything from our pockets to satisfy the poor performance of TSA screening systems violates the carve out for TSA limited administrative searches.

SSSS for Some Reason said...

Anonymous said...
rb said:
"That is the TSA our EIGHT BILLION TAX DOLLARS PER YEAR pays for."
what percentage of the federal budget is this?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Any percentage is too big for what they do.

There is absolutely *no* reason for the TSA to be doing what they do or how they go about doing it. The FAA does provide mechanics to the airlines, nor pilots. They define the standards the mechanics and pilots must abide by to maintain their FAA Certifications.

The TSA should do exactly the same.

They can write the standards, provide the testing against those standards, and asses penalties for failure to comply to the standards.

We would get some actual security out of the deal and it would cost considerably less than the 8 billion we are paying for the Kabuki show we are getting now.

Anonymous said...

I undergo secondary screening every time I fly, meaning the pat-down, often time the TSA agents are extremely rude and unhelpful. They tell you to put your stuff through the x-ray and then it takes 15 minutes to find a female agent for the pat down. Or, since I've learned, they yell at you if you don't put your stuff through while they look for an agent.

Once they find an agent, often times the agents are completely uncooperative and will not gather up your belongings instead telling you to watch your stuff from far away while they do the pat down and impossible task and contrary to the rule to keep your stuff with you and not leave things unattended.

This happened to me at BWI, female agent would not pick up my stuff, let me far away for screening and then the agents at screening were trying to figure out whose stuff was unattended, it was mine but only b/c the agent forced me to leave it.

Agents should pick up stuff and take it with them to the screening area, I know passengers are not permitted to touch their belongings during screening.

Anonymous said...

RB said...
Susan Richart said...
RB, the spokesperson for SJC implied in a television interview that the TSA's failure to check the woman's ID never compromised security.

If that is so, then why are IDs being checked?

So now we all know that ID has absolutely nothing to do with security and it appears that the airport realizes that also.

Secondly, apparently the TSA was not going to mention this incident until they were asked about it be the media. I wonder why that is?

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

August 7, 2014 at 6:27 AM
.................
Apparently not only did TSA not check this woman's ID TSA didn't even check her ticket.

I am in the "ID doesn't matter" crowd given that the purpose of TSA is to conduct a Limited Administrative Search but TSA has also decided to exclude people from the sterile area unless they are ticketed or have a gate pass.

So how does a person get past TSA's vaunted professional (you must federalize to professionalize) security screeners without a ticket?

A bigger question is what discipline will be applied to the TSA screeners at that airport?

And let us not forget this is the same airport where a teenager was able to crawl into the wheel well of an airplane undetected and made his way to Hawaii. Seems TSA is completely incompetent at SJC!

I am not surprised that TSA wasn't going to talk about this incident. TSA never talks about how incompetent it and its employees are.

Smoke and Mirrors, smoke and mirrors.

That is the TSA our EIGHT BILLION TAX DOLLARS PER YEAR pays for.

as someone that says that tsa needs to go away and go back to pre 9/11 standards then why would you worry about this? in pre 9/11 security you did not need a boarding pass or id to go to the gate area. so why are you slamming the tsa for something that you want to have happen?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...rb said:"That is the TSA our EIGHT BILLION TAX DOLLARS PER YEAR pays for."

what percentage of the federal budget is this?August 8, 2014 at 8:11 AM
____________________________________
What's your point?

Are you suggesting that waste, fraud, and abuse in government spending is ok as long as it is below a certain threshold amount?

Ever wonder why federal spending is out of control?

trying to put things in perspective. your view of what to spend or not is not the issue.

Nick O. said...

Still waiting for a response to my August 6 questions.

What can we, the flying public, do if we suspect a TSA employee took something while we're still at the screening area?

Lynn? Bob? West?

GSOLTSO said...

Nick O sez - "What can we, the flying public, do if we suspect a TSA employee took something while we're still at the screening area?"

Sorry, missed that one earlier. The first step is to contact the Supervisor for that checkpoint (if you begin to suspect while there). That STSO would be the one responsible for inititating the process of getting to the bottom of a situation. They would most likely contact the TSM, and things would begin to happen from there.

If you are not actually at the checkpoint/airport when you begin to suspect, the first step would be to contact the lost and found number for the airport you departed from. You can look those numbers up here.

If you are unable to locate the items you are missing by using the lost and found, the next step is to file a claim with TSA. The claim guidance page can be found here.

If you have a clearly articulable reason for suspecting a specific individual (TSA or not), you may contact the local police responsible for the airport you are in/departed from. The local LEOs are the ones responsible for handling claims of theft.

As a final resort in a situation like this, you may also contact Talk To TSA to provide feedback directly to TSA here.

I hope these suggestions can provide you some direction to proceed if you find yourself with items missing.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Sorry Nick, the last link in my previous post was supposed to be this one!

West
TSA Blog Team

Nick O. said...

That is sort of helpful, West Cooper. Thanks okay.

GSOLTSO said...

Nick O. sez - "That is sort of helpful, West Cooper. Thanks okay."

You are quite welcome, I am glad it gave some info you were looking for!

West
TSA Blog Team