Get through TSA faster by leaving these items at home

Leave your weapons at home to avoid screening delays

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you plan to fly this holiday, the Transportation Security Administration expects it to be one of the busiest Thanksgivings on record.

More than 25 million travelers are expected to be screened at TSA checkpoints throughout the week. That’s a 7 percent increase from last year. 

READ MORE: Thanksgiving travel expected to be record-breaking

The Transportation Security Administration has some pointers for getting through the airport and security lines quicker.

Leaving your weapons at home is one good way to avoid slowing down the process. 

Over the year, the Jacksonville International Airport has confiscated several guns of different calibers, and a number of sharp objects, including different types of knives and a machete. TSA also confiscated items like household tools and common self-defense items, like cans of mace and tasers. 

"Every once in a while, I get an item or two where I'm taken aback and I wonder where the person's mind was at," TSA Officer Sara Sierra said. "Security doesn't always cross the average person's mind because the majority of the people are innocent-minded. They have no ill-intent."

Some of those potentially innocent but still prohibited items included power tools, a barbell and sharp objects.

TSA wants to remind travelers that bringing these items can shut down the entire screening process and ruin things for everyone waiting to make it through the line.

“It’s dangerous. It’s going to stop this process. And it’s going to potentially delay flights from taking off. If the traveler is lucky, it might delay that flight from taking off. But I can’t guarantee that that plane is not going to take off without that passenger,” said Brian Cahill with the Transportation Security Administration.

Cahill said in the last two weeks alone, 140 firearms have been detected nationwide at checkpoints, and 80 percent were loaded. 

"It is going to bring this process to a halt. When a firearm is detected, the whole system stops and it is going to stop for 15 or 20 minutes," Cahill said.

If you do bring a gun through security, it could result in a $13,000 fine and an arrest. With this being such a busy travel time, TSA also recommends passengers get to the airport at least two hours before their flight.

To help streamline the process of getting through security, follow the rules, including what to do with liquids, like aerosol sprays. If it's over 3.4 ounces, it's not flying. 

Airport authorities said there are several peak times, but generally the busiest time is first thing in the morning.

If a prohibited item is discovered inside carry-on luggage at a security checkpoint, the person attempting to carry it onto the plane does have a few options. They can go back to the ticket counter, and have that bag checked. If they have a car parked at the airport, they can take that item to their car and leave it there. There are also some mailing options at the airport.

For more information, go to https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/all.

About the Authors: