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TSA Week in Review: February 1-17

Friday, February 22, 2019
Guns

From Feb. 1 through 17, TSA screened 34 million passengers and discovered 201 firearms in carry-on bags. Of the 201 firearms discovered, 63 were loaded and 28 had a round chambered. Bringing a firearm through the security checkpoint may result in a civil penalty of up to $13,333 and a disqualification from TSA Pre✓®. Repeat violations will result in higher penalties.

Learn how to properly travel with your firearms in checked baggage. Note that airline policies may differ from TSA’s, so we strongly recommend travelers check with their airline prior to traveling. Travelers should also review state and local firearm laws at both their departure and destination, as they vary.

All of the firearms pictured above were discovered in carry-on bags from Feb. 1 through17. View the full list of firearm discoveries.

Top row from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport:

  • TSA officers discovered a loaded 9 mm Smith & Wesson on Feb. 13. Law enforcement issued a citation to the passenger. On the same day, a loaded .380 Smith & Wesson pistol with a round chambered was discovered. Law enforcement issued a citation to the passenger.
  • TSA officers discovered a loaded 9 mm Springfield pistol on Feb. 17.

Middle row from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport:

  • TSA officers discovered a loaded .380 Ruger in a carry-on bag during X-ray screening on Feb. 11.
  • On Feb. 13, TSA officers discovered a loaded .380 Smith & Wesson during X-ray screening.
  • TSA officers found a loaded .380 Ruger was discovered during X-ray screening on Feb. 15.

Bottom row from Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport:

  • During X-ray screening, a loaded .380 Glock with a round chambered was discovered on Feb. 10. Law enforcement issued a citation to the passenger.
  • A loaded .380 Ruger was discovered during screening on Feb. 12. Law enforcement arrested the passenger.
  • This loaded .40 Glock was the second of three firearms discovered on Feb. 12 during X-ray screening. Law enforcement arrested the passenger. 

11-inch hatchet, throwing star, doubled edge knife

You can’t help but wonder where people are going that requires them to pack this stuff. If you’re planning on attending a class on blade sharpening or heading to a gun show for hearing-concious firearm enthusiasts, we recommend packing your blades and firearm suppressors in your checked bags. Packing these items in your carry-on bag may result in a civil penalty or arrest.

  • On the left, an 11-inch hatchet, throwing star, doubled edge knife, and a 13-inch machete were discovered in a passenger’s carry-on bag at Colorado Springs on Feb. 10.
  • On the right, a homemade firearm suppressor, or for the movie buffs – a silencer, was discovered in a carry-on bag at Witchita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport on Feb. 12.

Knives, ammunition and self-defense weapons

Knives, ammunition and self-defense weapons are allowed in checked bags. However, laws regulating possession of these items can vary from city to city, so be sure to do your homework before packing similar items. You can always check our website for what items are allowed in carry-on and checked bags.

Other notable items discovered in carry-on bags around the country include:

Top row:

  • A 2-inch pen knife was discovered at Newport News Williamsburg International Airport on Feb. 1.
  • Akron-Canton Airport officers discovered a throwing star necklace on Feb. 2.
  • Four throwing knives were discovered at Florence Regional Airport on Feb. 13.

Bottom row:

  • Three throwing knives were discovered at Ontario International Airport on Feb. 8.
  • An expandable baton along with 100 rounds of .40-caliber and 60 rounds of .233-caliber ammunition were discovered at El Paso International Airport on Feb. 10
  • Brass knucles with a blade attachment were discovered at St. Louis Lambert International Airport on Feb. 15.

TSA screening procedures prevent prohibited items and other threats to transportation security from entering the sterile area of the airport. Along with the finds highlighted in this post, our officers regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, BB and pellet guns, airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, stun guns, small pocket knives, and many other dangerous items.

As seen in the examples above, travelers often claim to have forgotten a prohibited item is in their bag. This can lead to a citation and in some cases arrest. Unfortunately, this happens far too often, so take the time to check your bags and the rules before heading to the airport.

Want to know how many firearms we found last year? Check out our 2018 blog post.

And don’t forget to check out our top 10 most unusual finds video for 2018.

Follow @TSA on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook.

Have a travel-related question? Ask TSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger

Jay Wagner

      Comments

      Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

      "..a homemade firearm suppressor, or for the movie buffs – a silencer, "

      Why was this confiscated? When it is not attached to a firearm, and you didn't mention any firearms that were found with it, it is simply a metal tube. This is no more dangerous that the handles of your average rolling carry-on bag.

      Submitted by Google Is Your ... on

      Because under the Gun Control Act and the National Firearms Act, silencers, suppressers, etc. are considered as firearms themselves. Firearms are illegal on aircraft.
      "The National Firearms Act of 1934. In 1934, Congress enacted the National Firearms Act, which used the tax power to set up a tax and registration system for certain arms and accessories. As enacted, the NFA applies to machine guns, short-barreled shotguns and rifles, “silencers,” grenades, mortars and various other devices."
      "The Gun Control Act of 1968. As amended, the 1968 Act is the main federal law for ordinary firearms. For the GCA, suppressors are treated the same as ordinary firearms."

      Submitted by RB on

      A while back I suggested adding percentage of weapons/passenger and you said it sounded like a good idea and would be added. Still waiting.

      Submitted by ANobody on

      "Why was this confiscated? When it is not attached to a firearm, and you didn't mention any firearms that were found with it, it is simply a metal tube. This is no more dangerous that the handles of your average rolling carry-on bag."

      SSSS asks a very valid question. I know that firearm parts are prohibited for fear of bringing the gun in piece by piece. but this is not a part of the firearm, this is an accessory to it. Scopes and other sights are allowed by this logic, why then not the suppressor?

      and, thank you for correctly using the term suppressor and not silencer (besides as a movie reference), as anyone who has ever shot with one knows they are anything but silent in real life.

      Submitted by CliffOnTheRoad on

      I do not want to say this but I have to side with the TSA for doing their job here.
      One msg board in 2010 was biased toward "hunk of metal" BUT searching more came up with this:

      United States Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44, firearm definitions includes: any weapon (including a starter gun) which will, or is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; ....

      To make fun of their definition, I suppose a load of bricks could be considered a weapon of Mass Destruction.

      Submitted by Annie Nonymous on

      There is no reason to have any part of a weapon on a carry on in flight. Unless you're a federal air marshal or law enforcement,please use some common sense.

      Submitted by 8 on

      As always, absolutely nothing you needed your slow, invasive, and ineffective naked body scanners to detect. Meanwhile, how many people suffered physical searches thanks to false alarms on these useless machines?

      Why are West Cooper and Jay Wagner unwilling to address, let alone answer, that question?

      How many weeks has it been since you last trumpeted something dangerous you found with the naked body scanners?

      Submitted by Patdown Or Assault? on

      How is a passenger to determine whether a pat-down by TSA crosses the line into sexual assault?

      Does any such line exist?

      What should a passenger who is being sexually assaulted during a pat-down do?

      Submitted by Redstone on

      Sexual assault? Please don't flatter yourself and stop watching online porn.

      Submitted by Redstone on

      Here is an easy answer. Put all this worthless junk in your checked baggage. Done deal.

      Submitted by Jay Wagner on

      @RB - Hi, RB! Sorry to keep you waiting. Along with the total number of firearms, I started adding the number of passengers we screened based on your suggestion.

      @ANobody - Thanks for your question. To clarify, when we discover a firearm or firearm parts we call local law enforcement officers who make the decision to confiscate the item. We don't confiscate any items. Others have already answered the question on why it is prohibited in carry-on by citing the various laws we use to define a firearm part versus accessory. Thank you for noticing that I used the correct term.

      @CliffOnTheRoad - I appreciate your comment and I'm glad you are a frequent reader and commenter on the blog. A bag full of bricks would cost a fortune in overweight bag fees. :)

      Submitted by The Original "RB" on

      Submitted by Patdown Or Assault? on Mon, 2019-02-25 11:00
      How is a passenger to determine whether a pat-down by TSA crosses the line into sexual assault?

      Does any such line exist?

      What should a passenger who is being sexually assaulted during a pat-down do?
      <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      I've seen this question asked many times with ZERO response from TSA or its Bloggers.

      Seeing as how TSA refuses to answer reasonable questions from citizens I'll give my non-lawyer opinion.

      Before a person gets a Pat Down from a TSA screener the TSA employee gives a detailed advisement of exactly how the pat down will be conducted. At no point in that advisement does the screener advise that they will make contact with the persons genitals.

      Taking the above into consideration I would put forth that genital contact is not part of the pat down process and any such contact is at a minimum assault if not sexual assault.

      If you are given a Pat Down by a TSA screener and they make any significant contact with your genitals then I would suggest a police complaint is in order.

      TSA is welcome to step up and clear the air on this matter.

      TSA, Ball, Court!

      Submitted by Ms E on

      You're crazy, non of it should be allowed on a plane, because people always come up with some crazy stuff to do.

      Submitted by RB on

      Submitted by Jay Wagner on Tue, 2019-02-26 01:23
      @RB - Hi, RB! Sorry to keep you waiting. Along with the total number of firearms, I started adding the number of passengers we screened based on your suggestion.
      *****************************************************************************
      Thanks for the update.

      Keeping things in perspective, the incident of a firearm carried by a passenger is .00059117647 firearms per passenger given 201 firearms and 34,000,000 passengers. While I agree that firearms are a concern I think the public deserves to know the scope of the problem which in all reality is rather minor.

      Of course when TSA has no other actual accomplishments to point to I guess it is a big deal for the agency.

      Seriously, if TSA can't interdict a big metal handgun what can TSA find?

      Submitted by Ms E on

      The thing is if people don't like how TSA does it's job, always complaining about things being taken, for my safety and the safety of other people that fly a lot, I don't have a problem with how they do their job, I'm glad they are check for any and everything dangerous that should not be taken on a plane, if you want to take it, drive where you need to go, all you complainers. Let TSA do what they need to do to keep up safe.

      Submitted by West Cooper on

      RB sez - "I've seen this question asked many times with ZERO response from TSA or its Bloggers."

      This is not true, I have posted before that if an indiivdual feels that they have had anything outside of the norm happen, then they should contact the STSO, and if they are not comfortable with approaching an STSO, then to reach out to TSA via one of the contact methods here. If the individual feels that an assault (of any kind) has happened, then they can reach out to the local LEOs for assistance.

      RB also sez - "TSA is welcome to step up and clear the air on this matter."

      We have in the past, I personally have in the past. We even did a video giving folks a visual and audio representation of what to expect during a pat down.

      TSA Blog Team

      Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

      "...if you want to take it, drive where you need to go, all you complainers. "

      Dearest Ms E,

      Please tell me which highway I can take to get from Tuscon to Honolulu. Which bus line would get me from Columbus Ohio all the way to San Juan in Puerto Rico?

      Submitted by Jared Hawk on

      Just as predicted. I see the same old statement again about your “naked body scanners”. And once again you are wrong, wrong, wrong.

      The Advanced Imagery Technology (AIT) Body Scanner does not, and will not use, save, or project a naked body for anyone to see or use. I help manufacture these machines, I know what I'm talking about. You DON'T!!! So stop with your agenda of trying to destroy the TSA!!!

      Oh and by the way, they found a ceramic knife last week in the AIT. It can be used as a weapon, and can be dangerous!!!

      Submitted by Now, Now, West on

      You keep not telling the truth. The question you have never addressed is where the line between a patdown and a sexual assault lies. Where is that line? How is someone to know how much gential groping is a patdown and how much more genital groping is an assault? How far into one's waistband are a screening clerk's fingers supposed to go in a patdown, and how much farther amounts to a sexual assault?

      A while back, TSA screening clerks in Denver were using your naked body scanners as an excuse to grope passengers they found attractive. Were those patdowns fundamentally different from the ones you and your ilk perform every day on innocent men, women, and children, with no dangerous objects found in 99.999999999% of these patdowns? Or are the patdowns you perform every day so invasive that nobody needs to add anything to them for them to be sexual assaults?

      Submitted by Jay Wagner on

      @RB - I'm glad we agree that firearms discovered at a security checkpoint is a problem. To provide even more scope, since 2008 we've seen an increase of firearms year after year. Last year we saw a 7% increase with an average of 11.6 firearms a day. You may feel this a minor problem, but we can't deny based on the trend, the problem is getting bigger. The goal with these posts is to inform the public and create awareness.

      @Susan Richart - Unfortunately, we're not able to share every incident in this blog. There are times when local law enforcement requests that we don't share an incident due to an ongoing investigation.

      Submitted by RB on

      Submitted by West Cooper on Tue, 2019-02-26 16:29
      RB sez - "I've seen this question asked many times with ZERO response from TSA or its Bloggers."

      This is not true, I have posted before that if an indiivdual feels that they have had anything outside of the norm happen, then they should contact the STSO, and if they are not comfortable with approaching an STSO, then to reach out to TSA via one of the contact methods here. If the individual feels that an assault (of any kind) has happened, then they can reach out to the local LEOs for assistance.

      RB also sez - "TSA is welcome to step up and clear the air on this matter."

      We have in the past, I personally have in the past. We even did a video giving folks a visual and audio representation of what to expect during a pat down.

      TSA Blog Team

      "if an indiivdual feels that they have had anything outside of the norm happen, then they should contact the STSO"

      You, as well as all of TSA, knows that video does not demonstrate clearly if genitals are touched.

      Does the norm require contact with a persons genitals?

      Why contact anyone in TSA? Contact police if you feel you have been assaulted by a TSA screener! If they do not advise that genital contact will occur then it shouldn't. If it does you have been assaulted!

      Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

      "..The Advanced Imagery Technology (AIT) Body Scanner does not, and will not use"

      Then how does it work? Does it just randomly pick people to alarm on? And pick a random spot to show the magic-yellow-threat-square? Seems like a really inefficient and extremely ineffective way of handling security.

      Submitted by The Original "RB" on

      Submitted by Jared Hawk on Tue, 2019-02-26 20:34
      Just as predicted. I see the same old statement again about your “naked body scanners”. And once again you are wrong, wrong, wrong.

      The Advanced Imagery Technology (AIT) Body Scanner does not, and will not use, save, or project a naked body for anyone to see or use. I help manufacture these machines, I know what I'm talking about. You DON'T!!! So stop with your agenda of trying to destroy the TSA!!!

      Oh and by the way, they found a ceramic knife last week in the AIT. It can be used as a weapon, and can be dangerous!!!
      ...........................

      So you are TSA Jared Hawk?

      The MMW WBI currently in use is the exact same MMW Imager that has been in use all along with one exception, the addition of Privacy Filters as required by Congress. The MMW WBI contract requires a machine that can both store and/or transmit images over common computer networks. While those capabilities aren't being used today, as far as we know, that doesn't mean that TSA couldn't use that capability to save or download an image if they found a reason too.

      These are the same machines where a Denver Regional Senior TSA Official described the WBI images as graphic (Pre Gumby Screen). It's clear that others in TSA, including persons past and present on this very blog lied about the WBI images. It may be a Gumby Image seen on the operator screen but that is not the raw image that is actually created by the MMW WBI.

      Submitted by The Original "RB" on

      Does the TSA Screener Advisement for a Pat Down describe how the Pat Down will be done?

      Does that advisement state if genitals "will be or will not be" felt during the process?

      If it is not disclosed then it isn't part of the pat down. Simple enough!

      Submitted by Hermann Fegelein on

      "Keeping things in perspective, the incident of a firearm carried by a passenger is .00059117647 firearms per passenger given 201 firearms and 34,000,000 passengers. While I agree that firearms are a concern I think the public deserves to know the scope of the problem which in all reality is rather minor."

      No, if the TSA clerks detected 201 firearms there would be 4020, given the 5% rate of clerks succeeding at doing the most basic part of their job. The problem is still minor. But check your number again, I think you left off some leading zeroes.

      Submitted by Nocaps on

      i request that the tsa end this blog. although informational it only serves as a device for the same handful or two of posters. it does not serve any other purpose than to push their agenda. there are other avenues where people can contact the tsa directly if they have questions or concerns. even the trolls on here complain about whether their comments is posted, or when it is posted, or what someone else was able to post but i wasn't, or continuously posting the same topic over and over again. this blog is not promoting anything positive.

      Submitted by Here We Go Again RB on

      Simply untrue. Watch the video demonstration the TSA has put out. The TSO CLEARLY not only demonstrates but describes the area they will be patting down, including the genital area. Obviously you haven't flown in quite a long time or you'd know this as well. So you are either trolling or just totally oblivious.

      Submitted by Susan Richart on

      Our friend Jared wrote: "Oh and by the way, they found a ceramic knife last week in the AIT. It can be used as a weapon, and can be dangerous!!!"

      Really? Why wasn't that mentioned in the "weekly roundup" of dangerous items found, especially in light of the discussion that has been going on here recently?

      West, Jay, anyone?

      Submitted by RB on

      Submitted by Here We Go Again RB on Thu, 2019-02-28 11:17
      Simply untrue. Watch the video demonstration the TSA has put out. The TSO CLEARLY not only demonstrates but describes the area they will be patting down, including the genital area. Obviously you haven't flown in quite a long time or you'd know this as well. So you are either trolling or just totally oblivious.

      ..........................

      I've flown twice this month. How many flights did you take this month?

      Submitted by Jared Hawke on

      The Original "RB" said:
      So you are TSA Jared Hawk?

      No. I manufacture the Advanced Imagery Technology Machines. It bounces radio waves off the person. It does not compare the result to a "Naked Body", there is no image at all. If you are going to spout your opinion, DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST!!!!!!!!!!

      Submitted by Jared Hawk on

      Susan Richard said:
      Really? Why wasn't that mentioned in the "weekly roundup" of dangerous items found, especially in light of the discussion that has been going on here recently?

      Sorry, I goofed, I somehow miss read the post about the Flask that was found on the person in the AIT. I apologize for the mistake. I will in the future make sure I state the correct post's. Please forgive me.

      Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

      ".. It bounces radio waves off the person."

      Do those radio waves go through the clothing to reach the naked body underneath?

      Submitted by RB on

      Submitted by Jay Wagner on Wed, 2019-02-27 14:52
      @RB - I'm glad we agree that firearms discovered at a security checkpoint is a problem. To provide even more scope, since 2008 we've seen an increase of firearms year after year. Last year we saw a 7% increase with an average of 11.6 firearms a day. You may feel this a minor problem, but we can't deny based on the trend, the problem is getting bigger. The goal with these posts is to inform the public and create awareness.

      @Susan Richart - Unfortunately, we're not able to share every incident in this blog. There are times when local law enforcement requests that we don't share an incident due to an ongoing investigation.
      .............................................

      How many more people traveled by air compared to the prior year, stated as a percentage? Was it roughly 7%?

      Submitted by RB's At It Again on

      Really RB,
      Well then, that's even more proof that you are trolling because then you'd be aware that when the patdown advisements are given, the Officer clearly mentions sensitive areas and demonstrates. It's also possible that you've never recvd such a patdown so you wouldn't have first hand experience, but, being the clearly observant person you are and since you seem to be an authority on the subject of patdowns I presume this is unlikely. So again, the only conclusion I can draw is that you are trolling.

      Submitted by How Is That Tro... on

      Why do you think it's trolling to accurately describe sexual assault as sexual assault?

      Submitted by RB on

      Submitted by Jay Wagner on Wed, 2019-02-27 14:52
      @RB - I'm glad we agree that firearms discovered at a security checkpoint is a problem. To provide even more scope, since 2008 we've seen an increase of firearms year after year. Last year we saw a 7% increase with an average of 11.6 firearms a day. You may feel this a minor problem, but we can't deny based on the trend, the problem is getting bigger. The goal with these posts is to inform the public and create awareness.

      @Susan Richart - Unfortunately, we're not able to share every incident in this blog. There are times when local law enforcement requests that we don't share an incident due to an ongoing investigation.

      ..................................
      @Jay Wagner

      I did a bit of checking and the increase of airline passengers almost exactly match the increase of firearms found.

      I'd post some screen shots but this blog is extremely limited in the ability to do anything above simple
      plain text.

      For reference:

      Annual growth in global air traffic passenger demand from 2006 to 2019

      https://www.statista.com/statistics/193533/growth-of-global-air-traffic-...

      Submitted by RB on

      Submitted by RB's At It Again on Sun, 2019-03-03 16:52

      Really RB,
      Well then, that's even more proof that you are trolling because then you'd be aware that when the patdown advisements are given, the Officer clearly mentions sensitive areas and demonstrates. It's also possible that you've never recvd such a patdown so you wouldn't have first hand experience, but, being the clearly observant person you are and since you seem to be an authority on the subject of patdowns I presume this is unlikely. So again, the only conclusion I can draw is that you are trolling.

      <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      Exactly what does TSA mean by the weasel words "Sensitive Areas"? Does that mean genitals or something more along the line of surgery incisions or sore areas on the body? TSA use to use the word "groin" but it was [pretty clear that TSA either didn't understand the meaning of the word "groin" or was just lying.

      I don't think many would disagree that TSA should be clear and straight forward in its actions. If TSA is going to grope genitals then that should be stated. Why is it so difficult for TSA employees to act with integrity and use clear plain English when describing the pat down?

      I have had several TSA pat downs, although it would be more correctly called a Grope. I just want TSA to be clear on what its employees intend to do.

      My answers to your personal attacks comply with TSA Blog guidelines. I wonder why your post was permitted? Are you a TSA employee who gets special treatment here? Jay?

      Submitted by Susan Richart on

      "Submitted by Here We Go Again RB on Thu, 2019-02-28 11:17
      Simply untrue. Watch the video demonstration the TSA has put out. The TSO CLEARLY not only demonstrates but describes the area they will be patting down, including the genital area."

      I never heard the word "genitals" used even once - use of euphemisms does not count as a full explanation of the pat down procedure. The only word I heard used was "sensitive areas" - there is no body part known anatomically as the "sensitive area". Also interesting in the video is that the description of the procedure is done by voice over, not the actual screener doing the procedure. What will happen if I ask the screener if she will be touching my genitals? Is she going to say "yes" or is she going to run to her supervisor saying that I am not cooperating? I'd bet I know the answer to that question.

      Submitted by Really? on

      No. No one is saying that. What is being said is that Trolling is when RB claims he frequently flies, so he has seen the process being demonstrated, yet insists that TSOs don't describe what they are doing during a patdown. It is clearly explained. AND if in fact there was sexual abuse during a patdown, there would certainly have been at least ONE case of such a thing going to court and the TSA being told to revise its procedures. Hasn't happened yet. Point of fact, the procedure have gotten MORE invasive over the years.

      Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

      "... yet insists that TSOs don't describe what they are doing during a patdown"

      I won't go in the Nudie-scanner so I always get the enhanced massage. Never once has an Agent told me they would be touching my genital areas. They tell me about the waist band but they never mention the other bits.

      I got my revenge because I worked up a bit of excitement before my last Pat down and gave the agent just a little bit more than he expected. Shortest inspection ever. And I don't just mean me.

      Submitted by Anonymous on

      Submitted by Really? on Thu, 2019-03-07 10:51
      No. No one is saying that. What is being said is that Trolling is when RB claims he frequently flies, so he has seen the process being demonstrated, yet insists that TSOs don't describe what they are doing during a patdown. It is clearly explained. AND if in fact there was sexual abuse during a patdown, there would certainly have been at least ONE case of such a thing going to court and the TSA being told to revise its procedures. Hasn't happened yet. Point of fact, the procedure have gotten MORE invasive over the years.

      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

      I didn't say I fly frequently. I said I had flown twice this month. Reading comprehension a problem for you?

      If anyone is trolling it is you and your multiple personalities.

      ..........................................................

      Submitted by RB on Thu, 2019-02-28 17:11

      ..........................

      I've flown twice this month. How many flights did you take this month?