Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
TSA screens almost four hundred million passengers so far this year
The TSA has screened 375,432,402 passengers at its checkpoints since January, discovered almost 1,000 weapons in carry-on bags and has steadily expanded its Pre Check program to 20 airports nationwide this year, according to the agency's online spokesman.
The agency’s “Blogger Bob” Burns summed up the agency’s year-to-date activities in an expansive post on the agency’s Web blog on Aug. 14. Burns said TSA screens almost 1.8 million passengers per day, but it has also had to contend with more than a few “high profile” stories of bad checkpoint experiences in the last eight months. Those include false reports of nail clipper confiscation, claims TSA agents mistreated a deaf passenger passenger and also mistreated a passenger with a feeding tube.
Burns said complaints about checkpoint experiences are low, however. Out of the 375,432,402 passengers who have traveled through the agency’s checkpoints so far this year, Burns said 30,204 have submitted a complaint, equating to 0.008% of the total number of passengers.
Burns noted that TSA’s Pre Check pre-screening program has expanded to five airlines and 20 airports, and has processed more than 2 million passengers. By the end of year, he said, TSA hopes to have the program available at 35 of the busiest U.S. airports.
Between January and July, 821 firearms have been discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, said Burns -- almost four per day. Of those, he said, 691 were loaded, and 210 were locked and loaded with a round chambered.
The most popular caliber of gun discovered so far this year has been the compact .380 -- with 197 found. Firearms have been found at a total of 160 airports, he said, with Atlanta TSOs finding the most – with 56 so far this year. The agency has also found explosives, including one live 40 mm high-explosive grenade, a bottle wrapped in black electrical tape and filled with flash powder, and three M-80 fireworks; a black powder flask filled with 5oz. of black powder; even an explosively-viable cannonball; and a live blasting cap.
He said screeners have also been finding more inert grenades in luggage than in years past.