NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Friday marks the official start of Memorial Day Weekend, and as travelers head to the airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reminds travelers of what not to pack in carry-on luggage.
A rather busy weekend is expected as the TSA estimated roughly 7,000 passengers will make their way through the Charleston International Airport on Friday. They said on Saturday, the trend upwards will continue as nearly 8,500 are expected to take flight.
Mark Howell, the TSA Spokesperson, said for context, last Sunday was the busiest weekend at the Charleston International Airport post-pandemic, as 8612 passengers were recorded. He said while it will be busy, it won’t be the busiest day they’ve had so far this year.
Howell said for many, this weekend will be their first time traveling since COVID-19 restrictions have eased. This is why he, along with the airport, is looking to remind the public that the federal mask mandate remains in effect.
The TSA said that travelers will need to have their masks from the time that they step inside the door and all the way through the security checkpoint and onboard the aircraft.
Even more, with 11 firearms confiscated this year at the Charleston International Airport and a total of 12 in 2021, Howell explained there’s a right way and a wrong way to carry. He said, “bringing it to the security checkpoint is the absolute wrong way to do it. It’s going to lead you to a possible arrest and a civil penalty from TSA, so a very costly mistake for bringing it to the checkpoint. Now, the right way to do it is to leave it in a locked hard-sided case, declared to the airline and then you pick it up at your destination.”
And with more traveling, Howell warned all to double-check your carry-on for items such as drinks, tasers, and pepper spray as lines will increase and fines will be issued.
He went on to say, “outside of the weight or the kind of things we get, we mentioned that it could be 10 minutes unless we get law enforcement involved. But just think about the number, each one of those things on the table is essentially another person in front of you in line. When you have those prohibited items come to the checkpoint, we’re going to go through the options to get rid of it, and then you have to go through screening again—so every time you do that, it’s going to bring the lines up.”
If an item is confiscated, you cannot get it back when you return from your destination. The TSA explained that contractors from Alabama come to pick the items up.
The TSA also made note that as more become vaccinated and summer travel ramps up, be sure to arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to your departure.