Seriously? TSA officials show things people tried to bring through ABIA checkpoint

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Austin (KXAN) — At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Thursday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offered a look at some prohibited items that have been surrendered by passengers at checkpoints. 

Texas airports rank high for the number of guns caught

In 2018, more than 20,000 pounds of prohibited items were confiscated at ABIA, TSA officers said the most common items among those were liquids (like full water bottles) and knives. TSA explained that some of those items, like liquids and gels, get thrown away, others are donated to the state property office. No, TSA does not sell any of these items. 

Part of the reason TSA had this outreach in Austin is because ABIA ranked 8th in the country in 2018 for the most guns caught in an airport, with 93 guns caught in 2018 (of those 76 were loaded). 

Other Texas airports ranked high on the 2018 list for the number of firearm discoveries, Dallas-Love Field ranked 9th with 89 guns, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston ranked 6th with 117 guns, and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport ranked 2nd with 219 guns. 

TSA says that in 2018, 4,239 firearms were discovered at U.S. airport checkpoints,  a record number and an increase over the 2017 number by 7%.  Firearms can travel in locked, hard-sided case as checked baggage but not through checkpoints, TSA says.  Firearms have to be unloaded and declared at the airline ticket counter to be checked as baggage. 

If you try to bring a gun through the checkpoint at TSA Precheck, you will have your Precheck privileges revoked.

Items surrendered

On April 30, someone tried to take a case of “unique knives” in their carry on luggage through Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport. Just three days before that, “multiple replica detonators” were found ins someone’s checked back at San Antonio International Airport. 

Among the things confiscated at ABIA TSA checkpoints, on May 15, they found two “inert projectiles” in a passenger’s carry on luggage, the agency wrote in a blog post on their website. In the same week, they discovered a novelty grenade bottle opener at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport checkpoint and a box of sparkler fireworks in someone’s bag at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. 

What you can’t bring through the security checkpoint

These are some of the items will have to be surrendered at the security checkpoint. You can save yourself the headache by checking to make sure they are not in your bags. All of these items can travel with you if you have them in a checked bag. 

  • Liquids larger than carry-on size (3.4oz/100 ml)
  • hockey sticks
  • blowtorches
  • tasers
  • kitchen knives
  • baseball bats
  • brass knuckles 
  • drill bits
  • aerosol cans 
  • box cutters
  • bows and arrows
  • bowling pins 
  • ski poles 
  • kayak paddles 
  • concealed knives
  • mace
  • corkscrews
  • darts
  • ice picks
  • pocket knives
  • razor-type blades
  • crowbars
  • cattle prods
  • screwdrivers

While animal bones and skulls aren’t on their prohibited items list, TSA recommends that you check any bones you may be trying to bring with you as you travel. 

What you can’t bring to the airport, ever

Explosives are absolutely prohibited, even fake ones TSA says. If you bring an explosive to the airport, you will not only wind up with a fine of up to $13,333 from TSA, you will also be charged by law enforcement and receive possible jail time. 

A busy travel season expected

On Thursday, TSA is also sharing travel tips and demonstrating how to pack a firearm for travel in checked baggage. 

Carrie Harmon, a spokesperson with TSA, said the agency is trying to get the word out to travelers about what they can and can’t bring because this is expected to be an especially busy travel season in Austin. 

During the Memorial Day period (the Thursday before Memorial Day through the Tuesday after the holiday) in 2019, TSA says they screened 155,000 passengers at ABIA — 12% more passengers than in the previous year. 

Harmon said that TSA expects to screen close to 30,000 people each day at ABIA in the summer of 2019. 

“We always recommend you arrive inside the airport two hours in advance of your flight,” Harmon said, adding that it will be especially important to do so in Austin this summer. Over summer and during holiday seasons, airports see move travelers who aren’t regular airport visitors, Harmon said.

Harmon added that another thing travelers can do to speed up the security checkpoint process is to remove plastic bags they are using to carry their liquids during screening. She said that passengers are remembering to carry their liquids in clear ziploc bags for their carry-ons, but some forget to pull them out and place them in a bin during screening, which can stall the screening process. 

TSA officers at ABIA told KXAN that the top thing passengers can do to speed up security lines is to remove their food and beverages from their bags and make them visible for screening. 

Still have questions about what you can and can’t bring? 

Check out the TSA website. 

You can even Tweet photos and questions to the TSA to find out about specific items. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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