The Transportation Security Administration is reminding travelers of the steps they can take to make getting through airport security easier this holiday season. MPB’s Evelina Burnett was at the Gulfport Biloxi International Airport to learn more.
A suitcase rumbles along the conveyer belt at the TSA security checkpoint at the Gulfport airport. Austin resident Jim Anderson was one of many travelers going through here, on his way back home. The seasoned traveler is a member of TSA’s Pre-check program, which can make getting through security faster, but he also takes other steps to make the process smoother.
"Always ahead of time, I put my liquid toiletries in a separate bag,' he says. "It's all the top of my bag, ready for me to grab. Before I even go through the line, I take everything out of my pockets and put it in my suitcase to make everything a little bit faster."
TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz says putting loose items in your bags instead of the airport bins can be a great idea, since travelers have left behind hundreds of items here, from iPads to keys to stuffed animals.
She says the agency also encourages travelers to double-check their luggage and carry-ons before heading out the door to make sure there are no prohibited items inside.
"We suggest that you unpack your entire suitcase and start packing again before you go on a trip," she says. "Because you could have used that suitcase last on a road trip, and there are a lot of items that you are permitted to have on the road that you can't have on the aircraft."
Koshetz says TSA officers here have stopped some 400 pounds of prohibited items this year. These include guns, knives, stun guns, screwdrivers, and even an old iron and a grenade.
"Someone had gone to a military exercise. He placed the grenade, which still had explosives in it, into his pocket, then tossed his vest into his checked bag," Koshetz says. "And it was spotted and alarmed, the bag, by our systems. An explosives expert who works for us was fortunately on site, and he was able to remove it so there was no harm done to anybody."
Also stopped: more than 35 gallons of items that are flammable or explosive - such as paint thinner, mace and sparklers - and so can't fly in either checked or carry-on baggage.