With one of the busiest travel days at Kansas City International Airport upon us, the Transportation Security Administration on Wednesday displayed a table full of items prohibited aboard flights.
Sure there was the canister of shaving cream, the tube of toothpaste, the package of juice. But also: knives hidden in a statue, bullets, a crowbar and inert hand grenades — all surrendered at KCI.
“This one is a little scary — it’s going to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up,” said TSA spokesman Mark Howell, as he picked up a grenade. “When we get these at the checkpoint, we’re going to see it on the X-ray, and we’re going to see the outline image.”
Howell was at KCI to show what prohibited items have been found at KCI as a reminder to travelers about what is and isn’t allowed aboard aircraft as well as to discuss travel tips for speeding through the screening process.
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“This small, inert grenade can cause major delays at a checkpoint,” Howell said. Local law enforcement and explosive technicians would be called in, and the checkpoint would be shut down.
Howell displayed the items near the security checkpoint for Gates 76-79 in Terminal C on the eve of what is expected to be one of the busiest travel days at KCI.
The Kansas City Aviation Department has projected that more than 715,000 passengers will pass through KCI this holiday season, which began Dec. 15 and runs through Jan. 5.
The busiest travel days are expected to be Thursday and Friday.
“It’s a good idea to allow extra time when you come to the airport,” said Joe McBride, a KCI spokesman. “You may be a savvy business traveler, but the folks in front of you may not travel all that often.”
It’s a good idea to know what you can and cannot take on board a flight, he said.
“It helps us, especially when we get into the busy holiday travel season, when people follow the rules,” Howell said. “All the things you see on the table today, think about it like another passenger in front of you in line.”
The screeners will go through the passenger’s options to get rid of the item: put the item in checked luggage at the airline ticket counter; place the item in your car if you parked at the airport; give it to someone who dropped you off at the airport; or mail the item to yourself, if the item is allowed as postal mail.
The net effect is that the person will have to go through screening again, he said.
“A lot of people choose to ultimately surrender it at the checkpoint to get through to their gate on time,” Howell said.
The TSA averages about 200 pounds of surrendered prohibited items at checkpoints in Kansas City per month, not including gels, liquids and aerosols — the most common prohibited items.
Because the airport will be busy this time of year, Howell offered these tips to travelers:
▪ Get to the airport two hours before the scheduled departure time.
▪ Allow extra time if traveling with oversized luggage like skis or if parking at the airport.
▪ Keep an eye on weather.
▪ If bringing gifts, don’t wrap them because screeners might need to unwrap the gifts if they have to do a secondary screening.
▪ If traveling with alcohol as a gift, put the bottles in your checked baggage because of the 3.4 ounce limit on liquids carried onto aircraft.
Travelers with questions about items they want to carry onto aircraft can go to the TSA’s website or MyTSA app and use the “Can I bring my …” tool. They can also send questions to @AskTSA on Twitter and Facebook.