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Transportation Security Administration

TSA Week in Review: March 18 - 31

Tuesday, April 02, 2019
firearms

Sorry I missed you last week… I was off visiting the Last Frontier State! If you’re from the lower 48, you might not be aware that aviation is a HUGE deal in Alaska, with TSA officers securing 23 airports throughout the year. To put that in context, Texas – a state that is home to almost 29 million people – has 26 federalized airports. The population of Alaska? Just under 738,000.

Why are there so many airports in Alaska? Because most of Alaska’s towns are only reachable by plane. As a result, Alaskans are real pros when it comes to airport security. So follow the tips below and learn to fly like an Alaskan!

And if you find yourself in Anchorage this summer, keep an eye out for our newest explosives detection canine, Messi-Masi, and handler Raven.

ANC explosives detection canine and handler

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog posting!

Between March 18 - 31, TSA screened 33.3 million passengers and discovered 161 firearms in carry-on bags. Of the 161 firearms discovered, 141 were loaded and 55 had a round chambered.

A total of 328 firearms were discovered in March 2019; that is 13 less than last year!

Imagine saving the $13,333 – which could be the civil penalty you’d pay for bringing a firearm to the security checkpoint – and putting it toward your trip to Alaska this summer. The amount of ulu knives and oosiks you could buy! Not putting yourself in a position to be arrested would be a plus, too.

So keep that spending money and check out our transporting firearms and ammunition page to learn how to travel with your firearm. Also, remember to take a look at your airline’s policies and the laws at your destination as rules and laws vary.

Review all the firearm discoveries from March 18 to 31 in this chart.

explosives cover

Packing real, replica or inert explosives will lead to a bad time for everyone. When TSA officers discover anything that resembles an explosive, they call in explosives specialists to assess the situation. This can lead to delays and missed flights, a civil penalty or Yukan be arrested. Not a good situation!

Pictured above from the left:

  • A inert initiator was discovered in a carry-on bag by Fayetteville Regional Airport on March 23.
  • Even though baseball season just started, that doesn’t mean you can pack your baseball grenades! An Austin-Bergstrom International Airport passenger learned this lesson after packing an inert one in their checked bag on March 28.
  • TSA officers at Fayetteville Regional Airport were busy this week! On March 30, officers discovered an inert training grenade during checkpoint screening.
  • El Paso International Airport TSA officers were a bit surprised after discovering two inert C-4 blocks in a carry-on bag on March 31.

 Concealment Cover

Alaska the question, but Juneau the answer already! It’s totally normal to cable-tie your pocket knife to your carry-on bag’s frame, right? No.

Seriously, attempting to conceal prohibited items can lead to civil penalties or arrest! Trust me when I say, the checked bag fee is cheaper than the civil penalty. This knife was discovered during X-ray screening by TSA officers at St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlson International Airport on March 19.

Smoke grenades

Holy smoked salmon, that’s a lot of smoke grenades! I’m not just blowing smoke when I say that smoke grenades are not allowed on planes. Whether it’s red, green or blue smoke, just go ahead and leave it at home.

Pictured above from the left:

  • TSA officers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport discovered an M18 smoke grenade in a checked bag.
  • Three smoke grenades were found in a carry-on bag at Oakland International Airport on March 23.
  • Also on March 23, TSA officers at Tallahassee International Airport discovered a smoke grenade during checked baggage screening.

 knives

When I say knives are not allowed in carry-on bags, I’m not saying it just for the halibut! No matter the size or type, from kitchen knives to pen knives, pack ‘em in your checked bags. We also ask that you secure any sharp blades to prevent an accident to those who may be handling your bag.

Pictured above, top row from the left:

  • TSA officers at George Bush Intercontinental Airport thought they were experiencing déjà vu when they discovered the exact same knife for the second day in a row by two different passengers.
  • Stiletto shoes can be worn or packed in carry-on bags; however, a stiletto knife must be packed in checked bags as a Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport passenger learned on March 25.
  • On March 20, Nashville International Airport TSA officers discovered old blue in a carry-on bag.

Pictured above, middle row from the left:

  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport TSA officers found a double-edged knife on March 18.
  • Also on March 18, three throwing knives were packed in a carry-on bag at Dallas Love Field Airport.
  • TSA officers at Los Angeles International Airport stopped a passenger from carrying a double-edged knife onboard the aircraft on March 18.

Pictured above, bottom row from the left:

  • A passenger attempted to carry on three different knives at John F. Kennedy International Airport on March 28.
  • Two key knives were discovered by TSA officers at T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island during X-ray screening.
  • Oakland International Airport officers discovered a pen knife on March 20.

Our mission at TSA is to ensure you get to your destination safely by keeping dangerous items off planes. The most common explanation we hear from travelers is “I forgot it was in my bag.” Don’t be that person. Save yourself some money and embarrassment and thoroughly check your bags for prohibited items before heading to the airport.

If you think this blog features all of the prohibited items we found between March 18 and 31, you’re mistaken. Every day our officers stop way more prohibited items than what is featured in this post. Like way more.

Remember to come prepared. For a list of prohibited items, be sure to use the What Can I Bring? tool. If you have questions about the security process, reach out to AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger. Our AskTSA team will happily answer even the most outlandish travel-related questions.

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

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

Want to learn more or see the other wacky finds? Follow us @TSA on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook.

Jay Wagner

Comments

Submitted by Just Curious on

Love the dog photo, are they trained to go right to the genitals?

Submitted by Dee Dee Krakowski on

Great article! You did an amazing job and really kept my interest. I look forward to reading your future articles.

Submitted by RB on

If you think this blog features all of the prohibited items we found between March 18 and 31, you’re mistaken. Every day our officers stop way more prohibited items than what is featured in this post. Like way more.
...............
Yeah, things like harmless water.

Submitted by Bob Carter on

Nice work Jay! It was a pleasure having you here. To add another little fact about Alaska. Alaska has 2-1/12 times the landmass of Texas. We could split in half and Texas would be the third largest state. ;)

Submitted by Patty on

Glad they check the water.

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

Submitted by RB "...Yeah, things like harmless water."

This is dangerous! We can't let this through security!

Agent tosses bottle into rubbish bin right next to a security line full of people "Just throw it away because it's not like it's dangerous or anything."

Submitted by Molopolo2015 on

RE-REAL ID COMPLIANT WHICH WILL TAKE EFFECT ON OCTOBER 1, 2020, AS ANNOUNCED BY TSA, WHICH REQUIRES EVERY AIR TRAVELERS TO PRESENT DRIVER'S LICENSE OR ANY ACCEPTABLE IDENTIFICATION. THIS IS A GOOD IDEA, HOWEVER, I HAVE SOME SUGGESTIONS. TSA MUST ONLY REQUIRE A PASSPORT. WHY? I BELIEVE THAT SANCTUARY CITIES/STATES ALSO ISSUED DRIVER'S LICENSE, STATE ID, SENIOR CITIZENS ID AND ETC? HENCE, PASSPORT IS A VERY EFFECTIVE SYSTEM AND MUST BE THE ONLY IDENTIFICATION BY ALL LAND, AIR AND SEA PASSENGERS BY PROPERLY EXAMINING THE DATES OF THE LEGAL STAY OF THE HOLDERS IN THE U.S. WHY WAIT FOR OCTOBER 1, 2020? TSA ADMINISTRATOR DAVID P PEKOSKE SIR, IN THIS SYSTEM YOU, OR, TSA IN GENERAL, CAN SURELY ASSIST ICE, CBP, USCIS AND THIS SITTING ADMINISTRATION TO WIPE-OUT THE MORE THAN 11M ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS NOW FLOODING IN THE U.S.

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

".., WHICH REQUIRES EVERY AIR TRAVELERS TO PRESENT DRIVER'S LICENSE OR ANY ACCEPTABLE IDENTIFICATION. "

Why does who you are matter in regards to airport security? You have to go through the metal detectors, or step into the nudie-scanner, no matter who you are so why does ID matter?

Submitted by FrequentFlyer on

I see you week in and week out complaining out things that happen within airport security or something TSA has done. If you spent as much time researching and understanding their polices as you do be snarky on here, maybe you would understand why they do the things that they do. Might I suggest looking up Richard Reed, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot for a better understanding.

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by Molopolo2015 on Thu, 2019-04-04 15:31
RE-REAL ID COMPLIANT WHICH WILL TAKE EFFECT ON OCTOBER 1, 2020, AS ANNOUNCED BY TSA, WHICH REQUIRES EVERY AIR TRAVELERS TO PRESENT DRIVER'S LICENSE OR ANY ACCEPTABLE IDENTIFICATION. THIS IS A GOOD IDEA, HOWEVER, I HAVE SOME SUGGESTIONS. TSA MUST ONLY REQUIRE A PASSPORT. WHY? I BELIEVE THAT SANCTUARY CITIES/STATES ALSO ISSUED DRIVER'S LICENSE, STATE ID, SENIOR CITIZENS ID AND ETC? HENCE, PASSPORT IS A VERY EFFECTIVE SYSTEM AND MUST BE THE ONLY IDENTIFICATION BY ALL LAND, AIR AND SEA PASSENGERS BY PROPERLY EXAMINING THE DATES OF THE LEGAL STAY OF THE HOLDERS IN THE U.S. WHY WAIT FOR OCTOBER 1, 2020? TSA ADMINISTRATOR DAVID P PEKOSKE SIR, IN THIS SYSTEM YOU, OR, TSA IN GENERAL, CAN SURELY ASSIST ICE, CBP, USCIS AND THIS SITTING ADMINISTRATION TO WIPE-OUT THE MORE THAN 11M ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS NOW FLOODING IN THE U.S.
.............................
TSA doesn't care about Border Jumpers, they can clear TSA security without having anything but a citizen is going to get the third degree and a genital grope.

Submitted by Heidi Zschach on

So glad to have a fellow fan. Jay, I agree with Dee Dee, your writing is as informative as it is entertaining.

Submitted by Eyeroller on

Salt

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by FrequentFlyer on Fri, 2019-04-05 04:49
I see you week in and week out complaining out things that happen within airport security or something TSA has done. If you spent as much time researching and understanding their polices as you do be snarky on here, maybe you would understand why they do the things that they do. Might I suggest looking up Richard Reed, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot for a better understanding.

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

Exactly where do you suggest finding TSA policies so we better understand why TSA does what it does. I've asked time and time again if TSA screeners are required to make genital contact when doing a TSA PAT DOWN. But TSA hides almost everything from the public just to limit their liability. I

It's simple, there is no way to find out why TSA does what it does, like groping children's genitals.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Might I suggest looking up Richard Reed, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot for a better understanding."

Reid failed, because shoes are a stupid way of delivering explosives. That's why no one has ever tried to do that again, even in countries without TSA's creepy foot fetish.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab also failed, because underwear is a stupid way of delivering explosives. That's why no one has ever tried to do that again, even in countries without TSA's creepy sticking-hands-in-underwear fetish.

And the 2006 plot was purely aspirational: There were no liquid explosives (because there aren't any stable enough to get on a plane without blowing yourself up), nobody had bought a ticket, and nobody even had a passport, and it was stopped by intelligence services, not airport employees playing dressup.

Meanwhile, a TSA screener at Denver turns out to be a pedophile. Do you think he enjoyed patting down children at the checkpoint?

Submitted by Anonymous on

And this is why I keep asking if TSA screeners are required to make contact with a persons gentials. If they are then that should be disclosed. If they aren't then there are some serious problems because it happens far too often. Not saying that this guy did anything on the job but is TSA giving guys like this a place to engage in their perversions?

https://www.skyhinews.com/news/tsa-agent-arrested-friday-in-denver-for-s...

"TSA agent arrested Friday in Denver for suspected child sexual abuse recently charged with same crime in Grand County"

"A TSA agent who was arrested last week on multiple child sexual assault charges in Adams County had been arrested last month in Grand County on similar charges."

Simple fact of the matter is that TSA screeners cannot be trusted and hiding critical information from the public deepens that distrust!

Submitted by Not RB - Thankfully on

Nope.
RB, you've been here long enough to know that's simply not true. 3 out of 3 wrong or grossly exaggerated. But I see you're just trolling along again.

Submitted by When Is Enough,... on

Ok. So, you've paid your money for TSA Pre-Check and/or CLEAR and in doing this you and your background has been checked by numerous US Govt Agencies. So why do we have to spend more money again, to secure another form of “required” background check? *If you have the TSA Pre-Check, it should trump any need for the Real ID Card.. When will Enough, be Enough.

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

Submitted by FrequentFlyer... "I see you week in and week out"

So you spend as much time here as the rest of us but when we do it somehow it's bad?

"If you spent as much time researching and understanding their polices"

All of my efforts to research TSA policies are met with obfuscation and/or claims of SSI. We can't know the rules, they are secret, so your claim that we don't understand their policies rings very, very hollow.

"...Might I suggest looking up Richard Reed"

The Shoe Bomber? Whose own ineptitude prevented his attack? And even if we would have been able to detonate the explosives in his shoe the only thing he would have been successful at doing would be killing himself and injuring the people immediately next to him? The guy who didn't have enough explosive to damage the aircraft more than cosmetically? The guy who was subdued by passengers and crew when it was figured out he was up to no good? The guy who was not stopped by TSA in any way? Is that the guy I should be looking up?

"... Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab"

The 'Underwear Bomber?' Another one whose own ineptitude prevented his attack from being successful? Who had enough explosives in his britches to kill himself, maybe the people sitting next to him, and still not do anything more than cosmetic damage to the plane? And, again, the one that TSA had no part in stopping? And even using him as the excuse to install the big and very slow and very, very expensive nudie-scanners could still be attempted today? Is that they guy I should be looking up?

"and 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot"

The fabled "Liquid Explosives" plot. Terrorists making plans on paper is one thing, making it happen is quite another. The plan only works on paper, the concentrations of the chemicals required to actually take down an aircraft are not stable enough to transport in the manners laid out in the plan. The concentrations of the chemicals suggesting the plot would have done nothing more than kill the bombers, injure the people sitting immediately around them, and done nothing more than cosmetic damage to the aircraft. And the entire plot, by the way, was not stopped by TSA in any way. British Intelligence gets all the credit for this group of morons trying to play at being bad guys.

"...for a better understanding."

Maybe you should take the TSA Cheerleader hat off for a minute and think critically about the stuff you are promoting. You may think it's great that we're spending $7,600,000,000 tax dollars every year to defend our skies from the last attack vector and doing so no better than a mall cop protects the local food court in that mall. I do not and will continue to point out the problems with TSA to anyone and everyone who will listen.

Submitted by FlyingOldMan on

FrequentFlyer:

My wife and I are frequent flyers in our 70s with 50+ each flying business and leisure. I miss the days when I could walk on the Eastern Shuttle National Airport with next to no security, pay onboard with a credit card and conceivably fly home the same day. But those days are gone and they're not coming back. I didn't enjoy the boarding lines where I was randomly pulled out old overweight white guy while my wife went ahead with my ticket and ID. Teething problems and that's gone too. We understand the problems and understand the issues and the changes.

We were early on Global Entry, TSA Pre, Clear, etc. Everything. We go to the airport prepared. We do whatever is most up to date and most likely to work for us and TSA. Usually it works pretty well. The TSA people have a tough job and aren't getting rich. We came through MIA-NYC during the government shutdown on a day when the ATC system nearly collapsed under the weight of the shutdown and horrific weather all along the East Coast. You couldn't find better guys than we met on either end of that trip to and from MIA ex NYC.

I use a wheelchair most of the time at the airports - departure is always a little messier because they have to bring chairs though security. I had a problem getting through a couple of months ago after foot surgery - the boot triggered an alert for unknown reason. It didn't on return. Everyone was okay - took a while to get a supervisor to do the required check, but I'm not complaining.

But chatter about driver's licenses is silly. You provide identification that they want. That's my job. It is a waste of everyone's time to get into the weeds about undocumented aliens traveling on a driver's license. The Sanctuary Cities argument is myth. My state is accused of being a sanctuary state. It's not, but we license all drivers. It is a safety issue for other drivers to have everyone licensed.

But the one place that argument does not belong is at the airport. The TSA is not INS - and their job is to get us on the planes and in the air safely and then off again. I'm sure they cooperate with INS, TSA is about air security. I'm not going to ask that they write new rules for a relative handful of people that would create a situation that makes little sense. Try flying through JFK or Atlanta (you probably have) and think about a way to screw it up.

You make the real points. TSA does a good job. They do the research and they get a whole lot of people on airplanes safely.

Submitted by Anon on

"Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 2019-04-09 08:28

"Might I suggest looking up Richard Reed, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot for a better understanding."

Reid failed, because shoes are a stupid way of delivering explosives. That's why no one has ever tried to do that again, even in countries without TSA's creepy foot fetish.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab also failed, because underwear is a stupid way of delivering explosives. That's why no one has ever tried to do that again, even in countries without TSA's creepy sticking-hands-in-underwear fetish.

And the 2006 plot was purely aspirational: There were no liquid explosives (because there aren't any stable enough to get on a plane without blowing yourself up), nobody had bought a ticket, and nobody even had a passport, and it was stopped by intelligence services, not airport employees playing dressup."

proof that trolls on the blog have ABSOLUTELY no idea what they are talking about.

Submitted by Put Up Time on

Anon, what statements in the comment you're replying to are incorrect? Please be specific.