TSA: Passengers should double-check bags to decrease delays during holiday rush

Dec 18, 2023, 2:10 PM | Updated: Dec 19, 2023, 5:39 am

SALT LAKE CITY During the busy holiday season, the Transportation Security Administration at the Salt Lake City International Airport is reminding flight passengers to save everyone time by checking their bags for items that do not meet guidelines. 

From now through Jan. 3, nearly 500,000 people are expected to make their way through the airport. That swell of foot traffic means more passengers through security. 

A table displaying confiscated items by TSA at Salt Lake City International Airport on Dec. 18, 2023. (KSL TV)

A table displaying confiscated items by TSA at Salt Lake City International Airport on Dec. 18, 2023. (KSL TV)

TSA said it expects to screen more than 429,000 people through the airport’s security checkpoint during the holidays in 2023. Given the holiday circumstances, the last thing anyone on the premises wants is delays in the security line.

TSA said bringing prohibited items in a carry-on bag is the number one culprit for slowing down the line. It said it could add anywhere from five to 10 minutes to the wait time or completely stop the line.

As for what is prohibited, if you can think of it, TSA has probably seen it. Some of the items that have been stopped in security at the SLC Airport include knives, machetes, multi-use tools with knives, and liquids that do not meet the guideline amount. Steven Solis, lead TSA officer in Salt Lake City, said he has seen a lot.

“This is a machete. We don’t want machetes going on the cabin of a plane,” Solis said.

TSA said if items are confiscated, people most often say they have those items because they did not know it was in their bag. 

“I think a lot of times, we grab a bag. We think it’s empty on the inside. Liners of the bags are dark, so are some of these things that get left behind from a camping trip or whatever they used it for last,” said TSA Federal Security Director Matt Davis.

Solis said it’s similarly important for passengers traveling home for the holidays with gifts in tow to wait on gift wrapping until they’ve arrived at their destination.

“This is just a prime example of being able to look inside if we need to — not having to open up any gifts that were wrapped,” Solis said. He said he had to unwrap three different gifts on Monday morning.

“We want to leave that to whoever’s receiving the presents,” Solis said.

TSA asked passengers to arrive three hours early to beat any rush and get through security with ease. Most ticket counters open at 4 a.m. with a few security lanes staying open overnight; security teams are said to be working around the clock to get passengers home safely for the holidays. 

To find a list of what’s allowed on the plane, visit TSA.gov or send questions to TSA’s socials on X or Facebook for real-time answers. 

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TSA: Passengers should double-check bags to decrease delays during holiday rush