TSA reminds travelers of what not to pack in carry-ons

KENNER, LA (WVUE) - Travelers learned some of what to expect from security at airports and train stations over the holidays.

Transportation Security Administration agents showed items that will cause trouble for travelers if they try to pack the items in bags.

Lines of travelers packed Armstrong International Airport Friday and it will likely get busier in the coming weeks as the holidays approach, which is why TSA is ramping up security.

"The TSA here in this airport screens approximately 17,000 passengers a day on an average day, and we will be going up to approximately 20,000 people a day on the peak days," TSA Spokesperson Sari Koshetz said.

Koshetz said TSA employees screen 44,000 bags a day for apparent or concealed dangers. Last year across the state, TSA stopped 80 guns. So far this year, they've stopped 83.

"That includes 56 right here in New Orleans, and almost every one of them was loaded. We still have some very busy weeks to go, so we are pretty certain we're going to unfortunately set a record, and it's not the kind of record we want to set," Koshetz said.

For those who choose to travel with a firearm, it has to be in a checked bag, declared to the airline and kept inside a hard-sided case, locked and unloaded.

"If you come to the checkpoint with your firearm, you face a civil penalty from the TSA of up to $13,000, and you might be arrested. You might not be going to your destination, you might be going to jail," Koshetz said.

Firearms aren't the only weapon screeners have their eyes out for.

"Threat items that are disguised inside an everyday item, so it just looks like a pen but in fact there's a pretty evil knife in there," Koshetz said.

Then there's what could potentially be the most dangerous weapon, explosives.

Explosives expert Billy Booth said while going through checkpoints may be a hassle, the outcome is worth it.

"Since 9/11, in the United States, not one airplane's been blown out of the sky with an improvised explosive device, and not one airplane has been used as a weapon of mass destruction because of what TSA does every day," Bomb Expert Billy Booth said.

Making sure no matter where travelers are heading for the holidays, they make it there safely.

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