Item Confiscated By TSA, But Man Still Allowed To Fly; Should He Have Been?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Following 9/11 there was a huge crackdown on what is allowed on airplanes. Most comply, but it is shocking what some passengers still try to bring aboard — everything from chainsaws filled with gasoline to active grenade launchers.

Though many at John F. Kennedy Airport were eager Friday for their Memorial Day weekend getaways, some were asking just how friendly the skies are after Transportation Security Administration agents discovered an eight-inch knife with a four-and-a-half-inch blade, artfully concealed in a traveler’s shoe, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.

The weapon was confiscated and the man from Far Rockaway was ticketed, but he then boarded his flight for Buffalo, officials said. That left many very confused.

“You need to be taken aside and pay some kind of consequence,” one passenger said.

“I don’t think he should have been allowed to board the plane. They should have done really good background security check,” another said.

LaGuardia knife

A passenger bound for Buffalo tried to sneak this eight-inch knife on a plane on May 25, 2012, the TSA told CBS 2. (Photo: CBS 2)

“This is part and parcel of an entire security network and fabric, and it is essential that these screening programs work, are continuously updated, and that we know who’s getting on the plane and what they are carrying,” former New York State Homeland Security chief Michael Balboni said.

Balboni said when “illegal weapons” are found police need to be called, passengers need to be interrogated and airlines must be notified.

Recently at New York and New Jersey airports passengers were allowed to fly after giving up their concealed weapons. Officials said the following items have been found by security agents: a knife in a walker, knuckle knife, a hairbrush dagger, a wallet knife, hand grenades, a belt buckle knife and a spear gun.

“There are people who will artfully conceal things and they’re just trying to check the system out so they can go on YouTube or go on their blogs and say they beat the system,” former John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia Port Authority Police commissioner  Kenneth Honig said.

When asked why these people are allowed on the plane even after their items are detected and confiscated, Honig said: “Well, the TSA confiscates a lot of items. If they were to notify the airlines and police on every prohibited — not illegal — but prohibited item, from their point of view, it would be very time consuming. It would delay a lot of people.”

But tell that to the average traveler.

“A hundred percent the police and TSA should tell the airlines,” one person said.

Security experts agree the TSA, police and airlines need instant notification, among themselves, when concealed or illegal weapons are confiscated, before the smuggler boards the plane.

On Friday night the TSA told CBS 2 that an arrest or airline notification is up to local law enforcement.

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