Security

TSA’s travel tips for getting souvenirs home from Comic-Con

TSA’s blog has some helpful information for anyone heading home through San Diego International Airport after attending Comic-Con International this week – and for those traveling with collectibles and souvenirs from this or any other special event.

TSA suggests that if you’re traveling with a collectible item that has an original seal on it that you don’t want broken, that you ship it home instead of taking the chance that the seal will broken during a TSA search.

Getting dressed up in a costume to attend an event? TSA reminds travelers that neither replica weapons nor real weapons should be placed in carry-on bags and that while both replica weapons and real weapons can be packed in checked bags, actual firearms must meet packing guidelines and be declared.

And, TSA s suggests that if you’re traveling with a lot of brochures, comic books or other books that you put them in your carry-on bag and then place them in a bin prior before sending them through the x-ray machines.

Those items can show up as dense blocks and “Packing these items in checked bags may cause alarms leading to bag searches that can cause a significant slowdown in the screening process leading to delays and bags possibly missing their flights,” says TSA.

TSA’s Week in Review is dynamite

Each week the Transporation Security Administration shares a tally of the firearms its officers find at airport checkpoints.

I find that list both fasciniating and frightening.

From June 4 through 10, for example, 78 firearms were found in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints around the country.

Of those 78 firearms, 61 were loaded and 25 had a round chambered.

Alarming? Yes. A record? Not at all.

The guns are scary, but so too are the other prohibited items that TSA tells us travelers try to take on board with them.

For example, last week’s ‘catch’ included the replica Improvised Explosive Device (IED) pictured above that was found in a traveler’s carry-on bag at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

It looks like it could be real and TSA reports that after finding this item, the checkpoint was closed down for almost 20 minutes before the Chicago Police Bomb Squad was able to respond and clear the item.

Most people found with firearms in their carryon bags tells the authorities that they just ‘forgot’ they had their guns in the bags they grabbed on the way to the airport. But that replica IED? What were they thinking???

Want TSA PreCheck? Go buy some paper.

Summer is coming and checkpoint security lines at airports around the country are going to get longer.

So if you haven’t signed up for TSA’s PreCheck program yet, now would be a good time.

Don’t want to take an extra trip to the airport to do that? You may not have to if you’ve got a Staples office supply story nearby.

Staples office supply company and Idemia, the company that has the TSA contract to enroll people in the PreCheck program, have teamed up to set up IdentoGO enrollment centers in 50 Staples stores.

The cost of enrollment in the TSA PreCheck program is $85 and is good for five years at $17 per year.

Need to get new passport photo or a certified birth certificate?  Those IdentoGO Centers at Staples will help with those too.

 And if Staples isn’t in your community, check this site for another place to sign-up for TSA PreCheck.

TSA found a record number of firearms at airport checkpoints in 2017

We knew it was coming, but now it is official:

According to the Transportation Security Administration, a record setting 3,957 firearms were found in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country during 2017.

That’s a 16.7 percent increase (556 more) over the 3,391 firearms found in 2016, an average of 76.1 firearms per week and an average of 10. 8 firearms each day.

Of the firearms found during 2017, 84 percent (3,324) were loaded and 34.8 percent (1,378) had a round chambered.

Firearms were found at 239 airports, with the most in any one month (31) discovered in August at Hartsfield-Jackson Altanta International Airport.

Top 10 Airports For Firearm Discoveries In 2017:

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): 245 (222 Loaded)

Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW): 211 (165 Loaded)

George Bush Intercontinental Airport – Houston (IAH): 142 (124 Loaded)

Denver International (DEN): 118 (102 Loaded)

Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX): 115 (109 Loaded)

Tampa International (TPA): 97 (90 Loaded)

Orlando International Airport (MCO): 94 (82 Loaded)

Dallas Love Field (DAL): 93 (81 Loaded)

Nashville International (BNA): 89 (71 Loaded)

Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA): 75 (60 Loaded)

 

Fliers love Orlando Int’l Airport – and other new rankings

This year Orlando International Airport (MCO) gets top ranking for satisfaction among the “mega” airports in J.D. Power’s 2017 North America Airport Satisfaction Study.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) came in second and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas ranked third, with scores of 778, 767 and 765,  respectively, out of a possible score of 1000.

Among large airports, John Wayne Airport in Orange County topped the list with a score of 796, followed by Tampa International Airport (795) and Dallas Love Field (790).

Sacramento International Airport got the highest marks among the medium airports (810), followed by Indianapolis International Airport (807), and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (806).

The study, one of several ‘biggies’ that come out each year, ranks traveler satisfaction with mega, large, and medium North American airports by weighin six factors (in order of importance): terminal facilities; airport accessibility; security check; baggage claim; check-in/baggage check; food, beverage and retail.

J.D. Power notes that ratings are up 18 points overall compared to last year’s all-time high, due to a 25-point increase in satisfaction with security checks (thanks to a drop in TSA staffing issues) and more satisfaction with check-in/baggage check (+19 points) and food, beverage, and retail (+15 points).  Self-service bag-check kiosks and other bag-tagging technologies got credit for raising satisfaction with the baggage check process.

Here are the Top 10 airports in each category:

“Mega” airports:

  1. Orlando International Airport
  2. Detroit Metroplitan International Airport
  3. McCarran International Airport
  4. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  5. Denver International Airport
  6. Charlotte Douglas International Airport
  7. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
  8. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
  9. San Francisco Internaitonal Airport
  10. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Large Airports

  1. John Wayne Airport
  2. Tampa International Airport
  3. Dallas Love Field
  4. Nashville International Airport
  5. Portland International Airport
  6. Willliam P. Hobby Airport (Houston)
  7. San Diego International Airport
  8. Reagan National Airport
  9. Salt Lake City International Airport
  10. Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport

Medium Airports

  1. Sacramento International Airport
  2. Indianpolis International Airport
  3. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport
  4. Jacksonville International Airport
  5. Palm Beach International Airport
  6. Southwest Florida International Airport
  7. Pittsburgh International Airport
  8. Raleigh-Durham International Airport
  9. Buffalo Niagara International Airport
  10. Ontario International Airport

You can see the full lists and the scoring here.