If you plan on flying anywhere for the holidays, you might want to double check your luggage. What you pack in your suitcase could hold up your wait times or worse, keep you off your flight all together.
Items like knives, power tools and self defense weapons, like tasers, are all prohibited on aircrafts by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA). When items are brought through TSA checkpoints, travelers can make the decision to surrender the items or leave them with someone at the airport.
The Kansas City International Airport (KCI) collects over 500 pounds of surrendered items each month. Officials anticipate that number will increase this month as more people begin traveling for the holidays.
The TSA at KCI has seen an increased number of firearms being brought to the airport, a total of 64 firearms have been brought to the check point despite them not being permitted in carry on luggage.
“Firearms at the checkpoint are going to get you a potential citation or an arrest from local law enforcement.It’s also going to get you a civil penalty from TSA that can go up to $13,000 on the first offense.So it’s a very costly mistake for forgetting to take your firearm out of your bag,” TSA Regional Spokesman Mark Howell said.
While sensitive items like firearms and ammunition can be placed in checked luggage with specific guidelines, TSA officials say that by bringing prohibited items in your carry on luggage will almost double your wait time to get through checkpoints.
“As these things come to the checkpoint, we are going to go through those options with them, and then we have to put them through rescreening. So each one of these knives, each one of these tools in another person in front of you in line. And as you can imagine when we get into the holiday travel season or any busy period, that small ripple becomes a tidal wave over a period of time,” Howell said.
For those hoping travel with gifts for family and friends, TSA recommends using gift bags or waiting until you arrive at your destination to wrap the gifts to avoid package inspections and ruined holiday wrapping.
KCI anticipates the December 26 and 27 to be their busiest days and recommends travelers arrive at least two hours prior to their flight.
For more information on TSA guideline logon to www.TSA.gov.