On August 7th, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) posted a photo to their Twitter account, reminding travelers that fireworks are not allowed in baggage (neither as carry-on nor checked). The post was prompted by an individual who thought it was okay to do so, attempting to fly from Orlando to Chicago with 1,290 firecrackers.
Over a thousand firecrackers
The details and a corresponding photo were posted in a tweet by the account for the TSA spokesperson for Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. This post was then shared by the broader TSA twitter account:
That’s 1,290 firecrackers that were brought to the @TSA checkpoint @MCO by a 36-year-old man flying to Chicago. Flammable and explosive items may not be in your carry-on nor in your checked bags! pic.twitter.com/3J4Kge9j2b
— TSAmedia_SariK is now @TSA_Gulf (@TSA_Gulf) August 7, 2020
As you can see, the person at the center of this incident is an unidentified 36-year-old male flying from Orlando to Chicago. Several airlines fly direct between the two major cities, these include Frontier, Spirit, United, American, and Southwest. However, these details were not disclosed by the TSA.
A potentially unnecessary reminder
While most of our readers are familiar with the travel process, it couldn’t hurt to review some of the policies set by the TSA. According to the organization’s website,
“Carrying prohibited items may cause delays for you and other travelers, but they may also lead to fines and sometimes even arrest.”
The TSA’s website – and essentially every airport and airline website has a section on permissible and prohibited items. This can range from the glaringly obvious (sharp, weapon-like objects and explosive materials) to the trickier items such as liquids in containers over 100ml.
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Thus, it is always a good practice to look through your baggage to confirm that nothing was left in a random pocket or compartment from a previous road-trip that may not be cleared for flight.
The penalty for traveling with fireworks
In fact, the TSA states that having “consumer fireworks, novelty fireworks, professional display fireworks; flares; gunpowder (10 oz. or less)” counts as a Security Violation and can come with a penalty of $350 to $2,050. Additionally, a criminal referral can be added.
Simple Flying contacted the TSA spokesperson responsible for Orlando Airport. Below is the response we received confirming that a civil penalty will be issued:
“Yes, the individual will face a civil penalty from the TSA. The fine for packing fireworks can range from $350 to $2,050. We consider fireworks to be a serious risk whether in your carry-on or checked bag, so they cannot fly!”
Referral for criminal investigation and enforcement is appropriate when there appears to be a violation of criminal laws. These are different and separate from the civil penalties assessed by the TSA.
According to the TSA, its civil penalty amounts are based on published Sanction Guidance. Proposed penalty amounts are generally set at the low end of each violation category range. In some cases, however, penalties may be higher based on aggravating circumstances (e.g., repeat violations).
Have you ever had anything confiscated by airport security? Do you feel like it was justified or over-the-top unnecessary? Please share your stories with us by leaving a comment.