TSA had a busy year in 2015:
TSA officers screened 708,316,339 million passengers (more than 1.9 million per day), which is 40,780,330 million more passengers than for the same timeframe in 2014.
In addition to screening more than 708 million passengers, TSA officers also screened 1.6 billion carry-on bags, 432 million checked bags and 12.9 million airport employees!
Federal air marshals flew more than a billion miles this past year keeping the skies safe.
The TSA Pre✓® application program has reached a new milestone with more than 2 million travelers enrolled. TSA Pre✓®, which opened its first application center in December 2013, now has more than 350 application centers nationwide, including locations at 38 airports.
Nationwide, less than two percent of passengers waited in line longer than 20 minutes.
44 percent of passengers screened in 2015 received some form of expedited screening.
Amongst other notable mentions and accolades, TSA’s Instagram account was named the fourth out of 100 best accounts to follow by Rolling Stone Magazine. To date, the account has grown to nearly 400,000 followers.
Also significant, 2,653 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging more than seven firearms per day. Of those, 2,198 (83percent) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at a total of 236 airports; 12 more airports than last year. There was a 20 percent increase in firearm discoveries from 2014’s total of 2,212. Pictured are just some of the firearms discovered in 2015.
Top 10 airports for gun catches in 2015:
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): 153
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): 144
George Bush Intercontinental Airport - Houston (IAH): 100
Denver International Airport (DEN): 90
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): 73
Nashville International Airport (BNA): 59
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA): 59
Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL): 57
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS): 54
William P. Hobby Airport (HOU): 52
In addition to firearms discovered this year, there were many hazardous items that passengers attempted to travel with this year including:
Ten tubes of black powder were discovered in a checked bag at Salt Lake City (SLC). Black powder is prohibited from both carry-on and checked baggage.
Two pounds of gun powder and 600 rounds of ammunition were discovered in a checked bag at the Richmond International Airport (RIC).
Black powder was also discovered this year at Denver(DEN), Houston(IAH), Savannah(SAV) and Boston(BOS).Live smoke grenades were discovered this year at Las Vegas (LAS), Tucson(TUS), Austin(AUS), Columbus(CMH), Tulsa(TUL) and Madison(MSN).
These are just a few of the hazardous items discovered in 2015.
These are just a few of the incidents where ammunition was discovered in carry-on bags.
Officers also find inert items that appear very realistic. The problem with these types of items is that we don’t know if they are real, toys or replicas until TSA explosives experts are called upon. Inert items can lead to disruption, closed terminals and checkpoints, which often result in canceled or delayed flights. Here are some of the more interesting inert items found last year:
A checked bag at Seattle (SEA) belonging to an active duty military passenger contained two-feet of replica demolition cord, two blocks of replica Semtex and four blocks of replica C4. Inert IED training aids are never permitted in carry-on or checked bags.
TSA officers also discovered: Replica sticks of dynamite at Las Vegas (LAS), a scale model of an explosive drilling device at Houston Intercontinental (IAH), an inert 120mm tank round at Reno (RNO), an inert artillery round at Washington - Dulles (IAD), an inert mortar round at San Antonio (SAT), an inert 81mm mortar round at Great Falls (GFT), a realistic replica stick of dynamite at Honolulu (HNL), an inert grenade projectile at Tampa (TPA), an inert mortar shell at Austin (AUS), an inert rocket propelled grenade at Raleigh-Durham (RDU), a practice landmine at Boston (BOS), a replica 30 mm projectile at Kansas City (MCI), a replica Claymore mine at Las Vegas (LAS), and an inert anti-tank projectile at Tulsa (TUL).
These are some of the inert grenades discovered in 2015.
There were many instances last year when travelers attempted to hide items, or the items they packed were disguised to look like other items. TSA officers regularly find sword canes, credit card knives, belt buckle knives, comb/brush knives, knives hidden in shoes, knives hidden in thermoses and knives hidden under the bag lining near the handle mechanism. Here are a few instances that stood out:
A knife was discovered in a traveler’s carry-on bag at Jacksonville (JAX). He was permitted to leave the checkpoint so he could place the knife in his car. The knife was discovered again upon his return taped to a fishing lure.
A non-metallic knife was discovered concealed under a passenger’s pants during a pat-down at Lihue (LIH).
A multi-tool was discovered inside of a hollowed out shaving cream can at Omaha (OMA).
A folding credit card knife was discovered concealed in a cardboard instant coffee container in a carry-on bag at Bishop International (FNT).
A multi-tool was detected inside this flashlight's battery compartment at New Orleans (MSY).
A knife wrapped in a computer power cord was detected at Ketchikan (KTN).
Two knives were discovered inside a hidden compartment in the sole of a shoe at Wichita (ICT).
An Orlando (MCO) traveler concealed two handguns, one unassembled rifle, and an unidentified amount of ammunition inside three amplifiers in a checked bag.
A concealed disassembled .22 caliber firearm was discovered at Daytona Beach (DAB). The frame of the gun was concealed in saw blades and the cylinder was mixed in with socket wrenches in a checked bag. The grip and firing pin were discovered in the carry-on bag inside a shaving kit.
A knife was detected under the cushion of a child safety seat at New Orleans (MSY).
Three daggers were discovered inside a zip-up folder at Tucson (TUS).
These are some of the cane swords and stun canes that were discovered in 2015. While TSA works to keep dangerous items off of commercial aircraft, when contraband is found, it must be reported to local law enforcement. Here are a couple of the more interesting narcotics discoveries:
A D-size battery with a screw-off top was discovered at Tulsa (TUL). A small amount of marijuana was inside of the battery.
Marijuana concealed in candy wrappers was discovered in a carry-on bag last week at the Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).
Various incidents involving narcotics last year. Some are hidden while others are in plain sight.
Our officers discover thousands upon thousands of sharp items in carry-on bags. Here are some of the many sharp items discovered in 2015.
The year also provided the need for travelers to surrender a few odd items:
A sickle was discovered in a carry-on bag at Newark (EWR).
An 8-inch double-edged knife was concealed and detected in a replica statue of the Eiffel Tower in a carry-on bag at Oakland (OAK).
A monster with a grenade was discovered at Eagle County (EGE).
A novelty grenade fishing lure was discovered at Anchorage (ANC).
Ay, Chihuahua! It’s always important to double check your bags before traveling, especially to make sure your Chihuahua hasn’t stowed away inside one of them. That’s exactly what happened at New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) Airport. While resolving a checked baggage alarm, an officer was shocked when he found a dog in the bag! Apparently, the dog climbed in while its owner was packing her suitcase. TSA worked with the airline to identify the owner, and the two were happily reunited.
Link’s master sword (Legend of Zelda) was discovered in a traveler’s carry-on bag at Oakland (OAK).
An inert cannonball was discovered in a checked bag at Lexington (LEX).
A weapon resembling a Klingon bat'leth was discovered in a carry-on bag at San Juan (SJU).
A speargun was discovered in a carry-on bag at Salt Lake City (SLC).
A jawbone tomahawk and an inert pineapple grenade were discovered in a carry-on bag at Las Vegas (LAS).
A meat slicer was discovered in a carry-on bag at the Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW).
These novelty bottles of bath salts topped with wax-covered lids and fuses were discovered in a checked bag at the Denver International Airport (DEN) and resulted in a 20-minute evacuation while bomb specialists cleared the items. What looked like possible explosives were just wedding souvenirs. The bride and groom’s names both start with "T"; thus "TNT.”
These Ninja climbing claws were discovered in a carry-on bag at Savannah/Hilton Head (SAV).
One round of ammunition and OxyContin were discovered inside this cane at Las Vegas (LAS).
TSA officers discovered Batarangs this year at several airports around the nation.
This samurai sword was discovered attached to a compound bow in a carry-on bag at Austin (AUS).
This is just a few of the containers of bear mace discovered in 2015. Thanks for reading this year’s run down of the more notable items TSA officers discovered in 2015. Keep in mind that far more was discovered than those listed in this report. When bag searches are needed, the line slows down. If you haven’t read them yet, make sure you check out our year in review posts for 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.
TSA Blog Team