Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TSA Travel Tips: Traveling With Musical Instruments



Guitar
To help passengers who are traveling with instruments, TSA partnered with musical organizations around the country to understand the challenges of transporting musical instruments, and we recommend the following:

  • Instruments can be checked or carried on the plane. Check with your airline about gate-checking or stowing your instrument in the cabin prior to travel so you can fully understand their policies. 
  • If you have a fragile instrument, we recommend you carry it on the aircraft. Brass instruments are safe to check as baggage as long as you have the proper case. 
  • Our officers need to either X-ray or physically inspect your musical instrument. You’ll be involved in the process as much as possible and can advise the officer of the best way to handle the instrument.
  • Your instrument may need to undergo an explosives trace detection test which involves running a soft cotton or paper swab across the case and instrument. 
  • It is not uncommon to check instruments as checked baggage and there are manufacturers that make road-worthy and tough travel cases that will prevent damage. So basically, it’s best to not pack your guitar in a soft-sided case and check it as baggage instead.
  • When checking your instrument as checked baggage, include short written instructions, where an officer will notice them, for handling and repacking your instrument. Make sure these instructions are clear and understandable to someone with no musical background. 
  • When possible, we encourage you to stay with your instrument while security officers screen it to make sure it is repacked properly.  
  • If you check your instrument as baggage, be sure it is either unlocked or that you are using a TSA-recognized lock. If your case is locked with a lock we can’t open, we may have to remove the it if the instrument needs to be inspected. 

If you have any other questions or concerns, or would like to report an issue you had while traveling with your instrument, please reach out to the TSA Contact Center or our Talk to TSA online inquiry form. 


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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.

Friday, September 26, 2014

TSA Week in Review - 48 Firearms Discovered This Week in Carry-On Bags (40 Were Loaded)

discovered loaded firearm
Loaded firearm discovered at SAT
48 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 48 firearms, 40 were loaded and 11 had rounds chambered. (Edited 1-1-2015)

Artfully Concealed Prohibited Items – It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure you are not carrying prohibited items. 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. 
  • When TSA officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) opened a checked bag for a routine inspection, they discovered many household items, like baby wipes, coffee, lemonade mix, and a box of cat litter. After a closer look, they found two disassembled .40 caliber handguns, 350 rounds of ammunition, and 58 bricks of marijuana (33 pounds) concealed in the products. The traveler was arrested on state charges by the Port Authority Police.
  • A cane sword was discovered at New York Kennedy (JFK).

Discovered ammunition, firearms and marijuana
Firearms, Ammunition, and 33 Pounds of Marijuana (JFK)
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 many other prohibited items too numerous to note.

Stun Guns – 13 stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags. Two were discovered at Denver (DEN), and the remainder were found at Buffalo (BUF), Dallas Love (DAL), Gainesville (GNV), Knoxville (TYS), Las Vegas (LAS), Lewiston (LWS), Lubbock (LBB), Minneapolis (MSP), Oklahoma City (OKC), Raleigh-Durham (RDU), and Syracuse (SYR).


Table for discovered firearms in carry-on bags list
(Edited 1-1-2015) *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.

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.

Friday, September 19, 2014

TSA Week in Review - 33 Firearms Discovered This Week in Carry-On Bags (22 Were Loaded)



Discovered firearms
Three firearms discovered at a Chicago O'Hare TSA Checkpoint
33 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 33 firearms, 26 were loaded and seven had rounds chambered.

Artfully Concealed Prohibited Items – It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure you are not carrying prohibited items. 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. 

Discovered hairbrush dagger
A hairbrush dagger was discovered at Fairbanks



Discovered inert grenade
Discovered at CHS
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 this week in carry-on bags at Charleston (CHS), and Atlanta (ATL).
Stun Guns – Seven stun guns were discovered this week at checkpoints across the nation: Two were discovered at Las Vegas (LAS), two at San Jose (SJC), and the remainder were discovered at Atlanta (ATL), Lubbock (LBB), and Memphis (MEM).

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 many other prohibited items too numerous to note.

Discovered knives
Knives Discovered in Carry-on Bags at EWR








Discovered bullet knife
Bullet Knife Discovered at SFO

Discovered ammunition
Ammunition discovered in carry-on bags at IAH

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.



Discovered firearms
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) MSY & GPT
Discovered firearms
Clockwise From Top Left, Firearms Discovered at: HOU, PIT, GPT & RSW
33 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 33 firearms, 26 were loaded and seven 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.

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.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Summer Wait Times Down Despite Busiest Summer in Years


Wait times at the security checkpoint are way down compared to last summer. So, what are we doing differently? Well, we’re providing the most efficient security in the most effective way possible. .


Table: Layeres of U.S. Aviation Security
(Click for larger picture and more info)
All of our layers of security are still firmly in place. You would think all of the layers would slow things down, but we’ve become more efficient by changing the way we do business, and risk-based security programs like TSA Pre✓™ have a lot to do with that. TSA Pre✓™ is based on the understanding that the vast majority of people traveling pose little to no threat to aviation and therefore TSA can expedite their security screening process at the checkpoint.



Our goal is to get travelers through the line in 20 minutes or less. In most cases, it’s far less than that!

Take a look at some wait time statistics from June through August:
  • TSA officers screened about 173 million people. 
  • 99.6 percent of all passengers waited in line less than 20 minutes. 
  • 99.98 percent of passengers in TSA Pre✓™ moved through the checkpoint in less than 10 minutes.
So, while things are moving faster, our vigilance remains the same.

Have you applied for TSA Pre✓™ yet?  

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.