TSA

TSA Year in Review – another record for firearms

Sea-Tac security line

You’d think air travelers would have gotten the message by now. But evidently not.

The TSA has done its 2016 tally and found that another record has been broken for the number of  firearms found in carry-on bags and on passengers at airport checkpoints.

According to TSA’s Year in Review report 3,391 firearms were found during 2016.

That’s 28 percent more than the 2,653 firearms found in 2015.

According to TSA’s report, of the 3,391 firearms found during 2016, 83 percent were loaded and the most firearms – 198 – were found at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Top 10 airports for firearms discoveries:

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL):198
Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW): 192
George Bush Intercontinental Airport – Houston (IAH):128
Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX):101
Denver International (DEN): 98
Orlando International Airport (MCO):86
Nashville International (BNA):80
Tampa International (TPA):79
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS):78
Salt Lake City International (SLC):75

Beyond firearms, TSA finds lots of other odd things in travelers’ bags.

 

TSA’s Top 10 most unusual finds for 2016

The TSA has issued its Top 10 list of the most unusual items found at airport checkpoints in 2016.

All are somewhat alarming, although not all were prohibited from being carried onto a plane.

For starters, there were five dead endangered seahorses inside an oversized bottle of brandy,  a replica suicide vest spotted and a trailer hitch cover shaped like a hand grenade.

Then there was the five-bladed flogger someone tried to take onto a plane at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

The list also includes a Hello Kitty-themed firearm found at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut and a movie prop corpse that was spotted at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport checkpoint that evidently had a ticket and was permitted to board, along with its very much alive travel companion.

All ten items are featured in the quirky video in which TSA social media specialist Bob Burns offers a charmingly corny countdown of the list.

 

Most items in the video will be familiar to those who follow the TSA blog or its popular Instagram account, where the agency shares a weekly report on the number of firearms (loaded and unloaded) and posts photos of notable “finds.”

Travelers who would like to make sure the contents of their carry-on luggage aren’t included in TSA’s 2017 Top Ten List can check to see if an item is permitted on the TSA’s “Can I bring my… through the security checkpoint” tool or on the “Ask TSA” Facebook Messenger site.

Another record number of firearms found at airport checkpoints

TSA guns august 18

There’s got to be something wrong with the fact that, on the heels of the havoc caused by false reports of gunfire at JFK Airport, and after so many years of being reminded that it is prohibited to take firearms through airport security checkpoints, the TSA reports yet another record breaking week for discovering firearms in carry-on bags at the nation’s airport security checkpoints.

According to the TSA’s blog, between August 12 and August 18, TSA officers found 81 (!!) firearms in passengers’ carry-on bags. Of those 81 firearms, 70 were loaded and 30 had a round chambered.

80 firearms founds beats the record of 78 firearms found, a record set just week.

 

 

More – and more creative – ways to pay for TSA PreCheck

TSA PreCheck Enrollment Center at IND Airport - courtesy TSATSAS PRECHECK

Enrolling in TSA PreCheck seems to be the #1 solution being proposed to whittle down the wait times in security checkpoint lines in the U.S.

But the $85 fee is a deterrent to many travelers.

Now there are some news ways to cover that fee.

Today, Club Carlson, the rewards program for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, is announcing that, starting July 1, 2016, program members will be able to swap 65,000 points for an authorization code that can be used towards the $85 application fee for five years of TSA PreCheck.

This may be the first hotel rewards program to offer TSA Precheck as a redemption option, but it is unlikely that it will stand alone for long.

There’s another way travelers can use points instead of cash for the TSA PreCheck fee:

Thanks Again, the program that lets travelers earn points for purchases at airports and exchange them for miles, hotel rewards and Visa prepaid cash cards, now allows members to cash-in Thanks Again Points for TSA Pre-Check at airports across the United States.

“We wanted to give consumers a reward option that saves them more than just money,” said Marc Ellis, Thanks Again CEO, “Expedited screening for Thanks Again members will cut-down the time spent in standard security lines and give travelers an enjoyable travel experience from the very beginning of their journey, making it a win for TSA and security overall.”

It will take 4,250 Thanks Again points to get a TSA PreCheck promotion code from the program app to cover the $85 fee.

“I think redeeming frequent flier points or miles for TSA Pre Check fees is an exceptional idea,” said Jay Sorensen of IdeaWorks, “I also know airlines are considering offering this as a perk for their elite tier members.”

What happens if you use your points (under either program) to get a PreCheck promotion code but get denied during the application process?

The policy is the same as if you paid by cash: no refunds.