TSA

TSA finds a gun hidden in a chicken at a Florida Airport

Let’s give credit to the TSA officers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) who cracked the case of the passenger whose carry-on luggage contained a raw chicken with a gun hidden inside.

TSA takes offenses like this seriously. But the agency isn’t above cackling and crowing about finds like this on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

“There’s a personal fowl here…” TSA noted in its Instagram post, adding that “The plot chickens as we barrel our way closer to Thanksgiving.”

The chicken puns didn’t stop there.

Far from it.

Courtesy OSU Special Collection & Archives, via FlickrCommons

TSA said it was thankful its officers “are always working around the cluck to keep you safe” when noting the “hen you believe it?” find at the Fort Lauderdale airport.

“We hate to beak it to you here, but stuffing a firearm in your holiday bird for travel is just a baste of time. This idea wasn’t even half-baked; it was raw, greasy, and obviously unsupervised. The only roast happening there is this poor packing choice.

Feather you like it or not, there are rules for traveling with guns and ammunition. So, don’t wing it; roost over the proper packaging info through the link in our bio.

Guns in chickens are the least of it

While the gun-in-a-chicken scheme is unusual, TSA officers have a lot of experience spotting guns at Florida airports

Earlier this month the TSA noted that so far this year a record 700 guns had been found at Florida airport checkpoints and nearly every one of these guns was loaded. “Most had ammunition chambered,” TSA said.

Here’s some of the breakdown, as of November 3:

Orlando International Airport (MCO): 129 guns;

Ft. Lauderdale -Hollywood International Airport (FLL): 120 guns:

Tampa International Airport (TPA): 102 guns;

Miami International Airport (MIA): 83 guns;

Jacksonville International Airport (JAX): 58 guns;

Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW): 37 guns;

TSA says in Florida, and in many other states, most passengers found with firearms at the checkpoint are arrested or issued notices to appear in court.

“Passengers face a civil penalty from the TSA that can reach as much as $13,910 and that is imposed regardless of whether the individual is arrested by our law enforcement partners,” TSA reminds travelers. And “If the traveler is in the TSA PreCheck program, those privileges will be lost for a period of time, possibly permanently.”

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 5,972 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year. As of mid-September 2022, more than 4,600 guns had been found. And given the uptick in firearm ‘finds’ the TSA has been reporting around the country, it’s a good bet that the tally will break a record again this year.

Travel Tidbits From An Airport Near You

TSA May Still Make You Wear A Mask

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a ruling that allows the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to require mask-wearing on planes, trains, and other forms of transport.  

The TSA stopped enforcing a mask mandate in April of this year after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask mandate was struck down by a federal judge in Florida.

Are you still wearing a mask when you fly? COVID is still out there and we’ve seen lots of people wearing masks in airports and on planes.

Longer Hours for SEA’s Spot Saver program

Hate waiting in long airport security lines?

A great amenity popping up at airports is a program that allows travelers to make a timed reservation to go through the security line.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) was the first airport in the U.S. to offer the service, which they call Spot Saver. And it has become so popular that SEA is now expanding the program, just in time for the upcoming busy holiday travel season. 

Previously, the advanced check-in option for security checkpoint lines was only available during the busiest times of the day, until 1 p.m. Now travelers can use the service afternoons and evenings as well.

Other airports around the country offer a similar service. Check your airport’s website for the option before getting in that long security line.

New Airport Socks Alert

The Stuck at The Airport fashion reporter has a great collection of airport socks. And it looks like there’s an opportunity to add a new pair to the collection.

Here’s how to get them:

Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD) turns 60 this month, on November 17. And throughout November, airport visitors who purchase three items in the Duty Free Americas shops can show their receipts and get a free pair of socks. But only 1000 pairs are available.

There will also be special events on the airport’s anniversary day, November 17, including free cookies and throwback prices for coffee.

Crazy scary!? TSA found 3000+ guns at airport checkpoints so far this year

Here’s a packing tip: check your pockets, your purse, your briefcase, duffel, or carry-on bag to make sure you aren’t taking your gun – your loaded gun (!) – with you to the airport.

As travel returns to ‘normal,’ the Transporation Security Administration reports an uptick in the number of guns, and – we repeat – loaded guns – being discovered at airport checkpoints.

Gun owners tell us that responsible gun owners always know where their gun is located. TSA says most people found with a gun in their carry-on say “they forgot” they had that gun on them.

In some cities and states, ‘forgetting’ you have a gun in your carry-on can result in a fine of more than $10,000 – or jail.

Or, depending on local laws, TSA may just tell you to (properly) put the gun in checked luggage. Or leave it behind.

But we’re headed for trouble. Last week TSA reported that in the first 6 months of 2022, TSA officers have already found more than 3,000 guns at checkpoints around the country.

That’s an average of 17 guns per day. And at this pace, TSA will surpass the previous record of 5,972 guns found at airport checkpoints in one year. That record was set in 2021, a year when far fewer people were traveling.

Any ideas for how to stop this?

TSA’s first airport checkpoint turns 20

Then: the first TSA Checkpoint was a BWI. Photo courtesy TSA

It feels as if the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has always been in charge of security at airports.

But TSA was created in November 2001, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

And, beginning on April 30, 2002, Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI) became the very first airport in the nation to be ‘federalized.’ It became the first airport to have security screening taken over by the newly formed agency.

BWI and TSA officials marked that anniversary on Friday at the airport and shared background on what was happening at the time.

“The ‘TSA Start-Up Team’ at BWI built a ‘War Room’ on the lower level of C Concourse and began testing new screening methods, checkpoint designs, standard operating procedures, and more,” TSA said in a statement. “The team’s main tasks were to establish the new agency and its security mission and write policies and procedures that adhered to the requirements of the law that created TSA. They were to build a fully federalized workforce of security screening officers to replace private contract screeners.”

Many of the early Transportation Security Officers trained at BWI before they were deployed across the country.

Today there are 430 federalized airports and 64,000 TSA employees nationwide.

TSA Checkpoint at BWI now. Photos courtesy TSA

Mask mandate off. For now.

On Monday a federal judge in Florida struck down the Biden administration’s mandate requiring masks to be worn in airports, on airplanes, trains, buses, and on other forms of public transportation.

The ruling is being reviewed. But late Monday, the Transportation Security Administration issued a statement informing the public that:

Due to today’s court ruling, effective immediately, TSA will no longer enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs. TSA will also rescind the new Security Directives that were scheduled to take effect tomorrow. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time.

TSA’s announcement was followed by messages from airports and airlines saying they too would no longer enforce the mask mandate.

Here are a couple of airport tweets on the subject. Note the tweet from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) where masks are still required.

Airlines were pretty quick to declare that they would no longer be requiring passengers to wear masks on board either.

American Airlines, Alaska Airines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country, United Airlines and most every other airline issued a statement and/or sent out a social media post.

You may – and maybe should – still wear a mask when you travel

While masks may no longer be required when traveling, it may still be a good idea to wear a mask in busy airports and on airplanes and on public transporation to and from the airport.

Coronavirus infections are on the rise in many communities and you, or someone around you, may be immunocompromised and easily susceptible to the current COVID variant, the flu, or whatever else may be going around.

There are also still a lot of unvaccinated people out there. So wearing a mask is an easy way to protect yourself and those around you.

If you decide to no longer wear a mask when traveling, please be respectful of those who continue to wear them.