Be Sure to Unpack Before You Repack

Know What Is In Your Bag Before Heading to Your Alabama Airport
Local Press Release
Monday, November 2, 2020

Passengers:  remember to unpack before you repack for a flight!

Many travelers have driven instead of flying to locations in recent months and they may have their gun or other prohibited items in their suitcase, purse, backpack or computer bag.  Now is the time to be sure that is not the case.

Passengers continue to bring firearms, knives, brass knuckles, ammunition and other items to the checkpoint that will result in a bag search and possible arrest by our law enforcement partners. Across the state of Alabama, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers have stopped 39 guns at the checkpoints so far this year. Thousands of pounds of other prohibited items have been intercepted by the TSA in Alabama including a dagger and a bow and arrow.  

The most recent guns stopped in Alabama were a gun stopped on Saturday at Huntsville (HSV) and guns on October 19th and 25th at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth (BHM) international airports.  All three guns were loaded.

Year-to-date, here are the totals for guns stopped by the TSA at the airports in the state:  23 at BHM; eight at HSV; five at Mobile Regional; and one each at Montgomery Regional, Mobile Downtown and Northwest Alabama Regional airports.

“The TSA takes your security seriously and we want to remind you that no guns should be brought to the checkpoint ever,” said TSA Federal Security Director for the State of Alabama Gail Linkins. “Be sure to unpack before you repack for a flight and know where your gun is.”

 Passengers bringing a firearm to a TSA federal security checkpoint will be assessed a civil penalty up to $13,669 and this civil penalty is independent of whether you are arrested or face criminal charges from our law enforcement partners. You will also lose your TSA PreP® privileges.  Fines may be assessed for other prohibited items brought to the checkpoint as well.

Passengers are responsible for knowing what the laws are on each side of their trip. This is especially important if you are leaving the state. The only way a gun can be transported by air is in checked luggage.  The gun must be declared to the airline at check-in, unloaded and placed in a locked, hard-sided case.

Here are additional stress-reducing travel tips:

Separate food for X-ray screening. Passengers should place their carry-on food items into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin. Food items often trigger an alarm during the screening process; separating the food from the carry-on bag lessens the likelihood that a TSA officer will need to open the carry-on bag and remove the food items for a closer inspection. This requirement allows social distancing, reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a person’s container of food and reduces potential for cross-contamination. TSA Precheck members do not need to remove items from their bags.

Remember 3-1-1. Liquids, gels and aerosols shoulc be 3.4 ounces or less in carry-on bags except in response to COVID-19, TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. Passengers are required to remove the hand sanitizer from the carry-on bag before being submitted for X-ray screening.

Maintain social distancing. Passengers should maintain social distance from other travelers throughout their security experience – in the queue, through the screening process, while collecting items from bins and after completing the security screening process.

 Wear facial protection. TSA officers are wearing facial protection. Travelers at many airports are required to wear face protection as well.  Passengers may need to adjust their masks during the screening process.

Skip the bins. Travelers are encouraged to remove items such as belts and items from their pockets, like wallets, keys and phones, and put them directly into their carry-on bags instead of into the bins to reduce touch-points during the screening process.