TSA. airport security

Alarming & heartwarming TSA Tweets

We’re still missing the corny communications TSA’s Blogger Bob Burns once shared with the public, but Lisa Farbstein and the team on duty now are doing a great job of keeping the public informed with light but serious messages about what can and cannot go through airport security checkpoints.

The tweets about the guns and other weapons people try to take through airport security checkpoints always alarm us, but this Tweet and the story of a TSA officer finding and returning a lost diamond is very heartwarming.

Vote for TSA’s Cutest Canine

Here’s something cute and furry for a Friday.

National Dog Day is coming up on August 26. And in preparation for that holiday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is having a contest to pick the cutest canine from its roster of more than 1000 dogs trained to sniff out explosives.

Four furry finalists were in the running, chosen from those nominated by their handlers.

To narrow it down to a winner, the first match-up took place on Wednesday, August 19 between two of the finalists.

And it looks like Kajila from Honolulu’s Daniel Inouye International Airport (HNL) won that round.

On Thursday, August 20, the public was asked to pick their favorite between pup Lexa-Alexey from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Ron, who works at Oakland International Airport (OAK).

Voting in this second round ends early Friday morning.

On Friday, August 21, the winners of the first two rounds will go head to head, with the overall winner to be announced on August 26, National Dog Day.

You can vote on TSA’s InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

TSA’s explosives detection canines have serious job descriptions.

They’re tasked with screening passengers, cargo, mass-transit, and maritime systems, and they support other security missions. Each dog is specially trained and paired with a TSA handler.

If you see these dogs at the airport, you may want to pet them.

Don’t do that.

TSA says that “While TSA canines are sociable, they are working dogs and they should not be petted or fed by anyone except their handlers.”

Don’t take your gun to the airport

It’s been a while since we took a look at the count of guns and other dangerous items travelers try to take through airport security checkpoints.

For the record, firearms, grenades and a long list of other dangerous – or dangerous-looking items – aren’t permitted airside in airports.

Yet each week passengers do show up at airport checkpoints with guns, live ammunition and other prohibited items in carry-on bags.

During the peak Thanksgiving holiday period, between November 18 and December 1, TSA officers found 153 firearms in carry-on bags.

Of those 153 firearms discovered, 127 were loaded. And 47 of those firearms had a round chambered.

In addition to firearms, TSA officers also found this novelty item at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on November 25. Grenades and inert grenades, no matter how cute, are on the list of items to leave home.

These grenades also showed up recently at airport checkpoints.

In this picture:

An empty grenade discovered by TSA officers at Louisiana’s Monroe Regional Airport on December 1.

An empty grenade discovered during X-ray screening at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on November 24. 

A novelty belt buckle grenade discovered at Louisville International Airport on November 28.

According to TSA, the most common reason travelers give when firearms and other dangerous items are discovered in their carry-ons is “Oops, I forgot that was in there.”

What happens to people who get caught with these items at the airport?

Some get fines up to $13,333. Some get arrested. And TSA Pre-check members run the risk of losing their status.

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.