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Tag: Airports

TSA Reveals Top 10 ‘Good Catches’ of 2020, Including a Meth Burrito

By Steve Neavling

From a gun-shaped wine holder to methamphetamine stuffed in a burrito, TSA officers found some unusual items in 2021. 

TSA released its “Top 10 Catches of 2021,” which lists its most bizarre findings by airport security workers.

The list is revealed in a video, which counts down to the No. 1 strangest item, and each is accompanied by a clever quip. 

The idea is to remind passengers of the kinds of items they’re not allowed to take on a plane. 

Here’s the list: 

1. Chainsaw, found at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

2. A revolver-shaped wine bottle holder, found at Sacramento International Airport.

3. Fireworks, found at Syracuse Hancock International Airport.

4. A “heavy-duty” machete, found at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

5. Bear spray, found at Destin-Fort-Walton Beach Airport.

6. A “well-worn” cleaver, found at Harrisburg International Airport.

7. A firearm-shaped belt buckle, found at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

8. Meth hidden in a breakfast burrito, found at William P. Hobby Airport.

9. An antique revolver, found at Newark Liberty International Airport.

10. Bullets in a stick of deodorant, found at Atlantic City International Airport.

The 2020 list included firearms, a grenade, and a jar with a dead baby shark. 

TSA Employees Hit Hardest by COVID-19, with More Than 12,500 Workers Infected

By Steve Neavling

More than 12,500 TSA employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. 

Of those, 33 have died, according to TSA data.

No federal agency has been harder hit by the virus than the TSA. 

Most of the infected employees are screening officers, who have frequent contact with travelers. 

Miami International led the nation in COVID-19 infections, with 658 employees testing positive. John F. Kennedy International in New York followed with 546, and Los Angeles International Airport had  452.

Other airpots with at least 200 infected TSA employees:  

Newark Liberty International 455

Chicago O’Hare International 444

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International 418

Orlando International 404 

Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport 391

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International 374

George Bush Intercontinental in Houston 316

McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas 276

Phoenix Sky Harbor International 273

Logan International in Boston 259

Philadelphia International 217

LaGuardia in New York 214

Denver International 206

40% of TSA Employees Face Potential Termination As Vaccine Deadline Looms

By Steve Neavling

About 40% of TSA’s workforce remains unvaccinated and could be terminated if they don’t roll up their sleeves by the Nov. 22 deadline. 

TSA Administrator David Pekoske told CNN that he’s “very hopeful” that the agency’s roughly 24,000 employees will meet the deadline. But for those who don’t, there are “contingency plans” being developed, he said.

“We have about 60 percent of our workforce has been vaccinated, that that number needs to go quite a bit higher over the next few weeks,” Pekoske said. “We are building contingency plans for if we do have some staffing shortages as a result of this, but I hope to avoid that.”

Pekoske is using town hall meetings to encourage employees to get vaccinated. 

But it may be too late for some employees. The Moderna vaccine, for example, is administered four weeks apart. It takes another two weeks for the patient to be considered fully vaccinated. 

The deadline, created by President Biden’s administration, comes just before the busy Thanksgiving travel period. 

TSA Seizes Record Number of Guns at Airport Checkpoints This Year

By Steve Neavling

The TSA seized a record number of guns at airport security checkpoints this year, with three months left in 2021 and fewer passengers traveling due to COVID-19. 

In the first nine months of this year, TSA officers stopped 4,495 passengers who tried to carry firearms through checkpoints, setting a 20-year record. The previous record was 4,432 in 2019. 

A decade ago, 1,320 guns were seized. 

“The number of firearms that our TSA officers are stopping at airport checkpoints is alarming,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement. “Firearms, particularly loaded firearms, introduce an unnecessary risk at checkpoints, have no place in the passenger cabin of an airplane, and represent a very costly mistake for the passengers who attempt to board a flight with them.”

It’s not entirely clear why more travelers are bringing guns to airports. 

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport led the nation in gun seizures at 391 this year, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with 232 and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston with 168, the agency said.

TSA Scrambling to Hire New Officers As Air Travel Reaches New Pandemic Records

By Steve Neavling

The TSA is so understaffed that it’s asking office employees to work at airports for up to 45 days. 

Acting TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye is urging office employees to voluntarily take up non-screening duties such as management of security lines, ABC News reports

“TSA is experiencing an increase in passenger volumes at checkpoints, and anticipating a significant summer surge in travel,” Darby wrote in a memo. 

Nearly 2 million people were screened on Sunday, setting a new pandemic record for air travel. 

The TSA’s goal is to hire 6,000 new officers as summer travel increases. But so far, the TSA has only hired 3,100 new officers. 

Officers who accept employment are being officered incentives such as $1,000. 

“We have been averaging over 5,000 Transportation Security Officer applications per week,” a TSA spokesperson said.

TSA Reveals Top 10 ‘Good Catches’ of 2020, Including Dead Baby Shark

Baby shark submerged in liquid. Photo via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

A dead baby shark, a bundle of Roman candles and a book full of knives. 

Those were among the TSA’s list of top 10 “good catches” of 2020, underscoring the sometimes bizarre discoveries at airport inspections. 

Other items on the list include a smoke grenade, cigar humidor resembling a bomb, marijuana hidden in a shampoo bottle, and a long gun hidden in the lining of a suitcase. 

The top finding? Two TSA canine handlers at the Liberty International Airport who “caught each other” and tied the knot in June. 

“On June 25, 2020, two TSA handlers professed their fur-ever love for each other! How dog-gone cute is that?”

Rate of Firearms Seized at Airports Doubled in 2020, TSA Says

Guns seized by TSA.

By Steve Neavling

The TSA revealed Tuesday that the rate of firearms detected at airport security checkpoints doubled in 2020. 

The agency discovered about 10 firearms per million passengers last year, twice the rate of 2019 and “at a significantly higher rate than any other years since the agency’s inception,” TSA said in a news release.

In all, TSA officer detected 3,257 guns on passengers or in their carry-on bags at checkpoints in 2020. About 83% of the firearms were loaded. 

“I commend our officers for their commitment to TSA’s security mission by identifying and stopping these weapons at the TSA checkpoints. Firearms are strictly prohibited onboard planes in the passenger cabin,” Senior Official Performing the Duties of TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye said in a statement. “Bringing a firearm to a TSA security checkpoint poses a serious risk to TSA officer and passenger safety, and doing so may result in significant fines or arrest.”

 Firearms were detected at 234 airports nationwide. The most were discovered at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and Denver International Airport rounded off the top 5. 

More Than 1,000 TSA Employees Infected with Coronavirus

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

More than 1,000 TSA employees have tested for the coronavirus, and six have died, the agency revealed Thursday.

No federal agency has been hit harder by COVID-19 than the TSA, whose employee have close contact with the public.

The TSA will now require its employees to wear face shields while screening passengers. TSA employees also mush change their gloves after every interaction with the public.

The TSA has come under fire for failing to adequately protect its employees.

“Right now they’re bringing people back to work and the social distance is not in total effect,” Hydrick Thomas, president of the union that represents the officers, told The Washington Post. “Employees are still complaining there’s too many of them in one area.”

TSA employees have been infected at more than 125 airports.