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"TSA says security rules are sinking in"
Monday, January 7, 2008
TSA says security rules are sinking in
Confiscate fewer items at Logan
The Boston (MA) Globe
More than six years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, passengers at
Logan International Airport finally seem to be getting the hang of the new
Transportation Security Administration officers seized 59.2 percent fewer
knives, box cutters, explosives, and other dangerous items from carry-on
bags at Logan than they did in 2006, and 64.1 percent fewer than in 2005,
new agency figures show.
With the government lifting a ban on cigarette lighters in carry-on bags in
August, the number of items seized at Logan checkpoints last year fell by
more than half, to 237,796 items from 503,012 a year earlier, according to
administration spokeswoman Ann Davis. The drop came even as passenger volume
through Logan checkpoints increased 1.2 percent, to just under 16.5 million.
"We're always pleased to see the number of prohibited items seized at the
checkpoints trend down, and we certainly hope that we'll see it continue to
go down in 2008," Davis said. Many of the items the TSA seizes, Davis said,
have been packed inadvertently by people who don't fly often.
"We continue to ask those folks who don't fly frequently to check the list
at our tsa.gov website and make sure they know what they can and can't
bring," she said.
Besides the ban on weapons, knives of any kind with blades over 4 inches,
and tools over 7 inches long, airport security rules meant to thwart
terrorists or hijackers from mixing bombs on board also restrict liquids and
gels in carry-on bags to nothing bigger than 3 ounces. Passengers' liquid
and gel containers must fit in a one-quart clear plastic bag.
Among items seized at Logan last year were a single gun - the first in three
years, a fully loaded .38-caliber handgun a North Carolina businessman said
he forgot was in his bag when he got on a Detroit-bound flight July 30 - and
29 pieces of fireworks, 384 box cutters, 897 knives or blades over 3 inches
long, and 1,283 items deemed dangerous or deadly, which can include
everything from large tools and sporting equipment to rocks.
The flow of contraband from Logan continues to supply a state-run surplus
goods store in Concord, N.H., called the White Farm, where the state of New
Hampshire resells pocket knives, tools, and other possible-weapon items
seized from Logan and other New England airports.
Some frequent Logan passengers said they have seen signs that more people
understand and are heeding the carry-on restrictions, and agreed the biggest
problem is with infrequent air travelers.
"I have noticed that it seems to be a somewhat more fluid process to get
through security over the last few months," said Neil Bergquist, a
pharmaceutical industry consultant from Brighton who travels most weeks for
"I think most people - at least those who travel regularly - are getting
more accustomed to putting their liquids in plastic bags and leaving their
Swiss Army knives at home," he said.
Bergquist said he was struck by how much longer it took to get through
security lines during the Christmas travel week when, for example, he was
held up in line behind a woman who was trying to bring six large bottles of
perfume as gifts, which TSA officers had to order her to remove from her
Another regular business traveler, Carl Rubin, a partner at Monument Data
Solutions, a Needham computer consulting firm, said he agrees that fewer
travelers seem oblivious to the rules.
"There are signs all around and the TSA workers are constantly reminding
people what to do," Rubin said.
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