TSA: Don’t forget to check your carry-on bags

Kent County

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Hundreds of pounds of items are surrendered to Transportation Security Administration officials at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport each year.

In the past six weeks, around 250 pounds of things were handed over at the TSA checkpoint because those items aren’t allowed on airplanes. Some of those items included a meat cleaver and a toy grenade.

“Something as small as an oversized liquid or a bottle of water can exponentially make the lines grow. Make sure to take five minutes before you leave to come to the airport and do a quick sweep of everything you’ve got to make sure you don’t have anything that would be dangerous on an aircraft,” said TSA regional spokesperson Mark Howell.

People who bring a prohibited item in their carry-on bag have options other than handing it over to TSA.

“We’re always going to give you the option to get rid of it. That could be putting it in a checked bag, taking it to your car or giving it to someone who brought you to the airport. At many airports, they have mailers where you can, if it’s allowed in the mail, send it back to yourself,” Howell said.

Many people wonder what happens to the items they leave behind with TSA.

“Whenever we have a surrendered item, we collect them up, and we have a no-cost contract with the Michigan surplus office. So, they will come and pick the items up and dispose of them. Sometimes they will throw away the item or sometimes they’ll resell them,” Howell said.

Some of the most common confiscated items are things like water bottles and pocket knives. But the number of guns people pack in their carry-on bags is growing. Last year at the Ford airport, there were five guns confiscated, and three guns have taken by TSA so far this year.

“Ten years ago, we found 800 (guns confiscated across the country). Last year we had more than 4,200. It’s growing very quickly,” Howell said.

A mistake like that can be costly.

“It’s going to get you a citation or an arrest, depending on what the local law is. But we’re also going to issue you a civilian penalty and that can go up to a max of $13,333. It’s a very costly mistake for forgetting to check your bag,” Howell said.

Visit TSA’s website to learn more about what is allowed in carry-on bags.

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