TSA Week in Review: March 18 - 31

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

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.



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

About This Blog

The purpose of this blog is to share the latest news and helpful information with the public. If you have questions about TSA or the information presented here, please contact our AskTSA customer care team on Twitter or Facebook.

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