With Thanksgiving just past us and Christmas still to come, we're right in the heart of the holiday travel season, so it's a good time to remind you to stop leaving your laptop at TSA airport checkpoints.
This was underscored last week when a rep from the TSA shared a tweet (below), showing dozens of laptops stacked on a shelf, all left behind at TSA checkpoints at Newark International Airport in Newark, New Jersey.
In a 2014 story, Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, California, reported that roughly 20,000 items, each priced at $500 or more, were left at checkpoints around the country. Those items eventually get sent to TSA's Virginia headquarters, while less valuable objects make their way to re-sale shops.
The weirdest weapons TSA has confiscated
The weirdest weapons TSA has confiscated
TSA #TBT January 2007 --- This Los Angeles (LAX) traveler didn’t think his wardrobe through before coming to the airport. In addition to actual firearms, replica firearms (such as this belt buckle) are prohibited, as they can cause alarm in the airport/airplane environment.
This inert grenade novelty item was discovered in a traveler’s carry-on bag at Seattle (SEA). While it is kind of funny, it’s prohibited altogether from both carry-on and checked baggage. So what’s the big deal if it’s inert? First off, we don’t know it’s inert until explosives professionals take a closer look, and that takes time and slows down the line. It can even lead to a complete shutdown and evacuation. Also, imagine the person sitting next to you on the plane pulling this out of their carry-on. No big deal, right? For these reasons, anything resembling a bomb or grenade is prohibited from both carry-on and checked bags. #TSAGoodCatch
A Dallas Love Field (DAL) traveler had these throwing knives in their carry-on bag. All knives are prohibited from carry-on bags, but may be packed in checked baggage. #TSATravelTips
#TSAGoodCatch - Replica firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags. Knives are prohibited in carry-on bags. Knife guns? #Nope This was discovered in carry-on bag at Providence (PVD).
#TSAGoodCatch - This ornate jawbone tomahawk was discovered in a carry-on bag at Salt Lake City (SLC). Jawbone tomahawks (and all other tomahawks) must be packed in checked baggage.
#TSATravelTips - In addition to being a cute cat keychain, this is a punching weapon. Just as with brass knuckles, they’re prohibited from being packed or carried through the checkpoint. This one was discovered this week at the Norfolk International Airport (ORF). You can pack them in your checked baggage.
#TSAGoodCatch - This folding throwing star was discovered in a carry-on bag at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). These are prohibited from carry-on bags and should be packed in checked baggage. #Krull
#TSAGoodCatch - This comb dagger was discovered in a carry-on bag at the Lihue Airport (LIH) in Hawaii. Knives are always prohibited in carry-on bags no matter the size. Concealed knives can lead to fines and arrest.
#TSAGoodCatch - This folding knuckle knife was discovered in a carry-on bag at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Both knives and brass knuckles are prohibited from being transported in carry-on bags
#TSAGoodCatch - This #bejeweled lipstick stun gun was discovered in a carry-on bag at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). All stun guns are prohibited from being packed in carry-on bags or carried on your person.
#TSAGoodCatch - This inert anti-tank landmine was discovered in a checked bag at Austin (AUS). If an item looks like a real bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited. When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays because our explosives detection professionals must respond to resolve the alarm. Even if they are novelty items, you are prohibited from bringing them on board the aircraft.
#TBT - May 2014 - This mallet was discovered in a traveler’s carry-on property at the Burlington International Airport (BTV). Items such as sledgehammers and mallets are considered bludgeons and are prohibited from being packed in carry-on bags. Checked baggage is fine.
#TSAGoodCatch - This ice pick concealed inside of a cane was discovered in a traveler’s carry-on property at Newark (EWR). Concealed weapons can lead to fines and arrest.
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Among the more interesting items of recent note was a replica of Negan's bat from The Walking Dead (the TV swag wasn't lost, it was taken by the TSA as a potential weapon).
So if you're one of the rushed travelers who take off with your belt, shoes, and carry-on but not with your MacBook Air, there is hope, though. The TSA has a searchable database of TSA headquarters for each airport online.
But you can also reach out on Twitter or Facebook if you notice your laptop didn't make it with you.
And in case you want proof that you can potentially recover a lost laptop, one traveler, whose laptop was in the recently shared Newark stack, posted on Twitter that he was able to get in touch with Newark TSA after the photo was posted and got his device back.
Just got off the phone with Newark TSA who found my laptop! Thanks for tweeting this @thepointsguy
On its Instagram page, the TSA offers one more tip: "If you haven't already, tape a business card or a piece of paper with your name and contact info to the bottom of your laptop. This will allow us to attempt to contact you via a page or phone call before you board your flight. It will also allow us to contact you if you've already left."