Last updated: 04:26 PM ET, Fri November 20 2015

TSA Continues To Keep Us Safe From Space Rangers

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | November 20, 2015

TSA Continues To Keep Us Safe From Space Rangers

A Pennsylvania family is accusing the Transportation Safety Administration of being too harsh when they threw away their five-year-old son’s toy gun before boarding their flight.

According to CBS Philadelphia, the Zilka family was returning home from a trip to Disney World when they went through security at the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport.

During the trip, the boy’s uncle had purchased him a Buzz Lightyear toy from the “Toy Story” movie franchise, but TSA officials at the Florida airport determined that the toy looked too much like a gun to be allowed on the plane as a carry-on.

Since the family only packed carry-on luggage for their trip and TSA requires realistic replicas of firearms to be checked, the officials at the Fort Lauderdale airport took the toy.

The boy’s father told CBS, “Once he realized what was happening and they weren’t giving his toy back, he immediately starts bawling, just tears streaming down his face. It was all I could to not to break down with him in that moment.”

The TSA released a statement to CBS Philadelphia about the incident:

“TSA officers are charged with protecting passengers and making final judgments on which items are permitted on aircraft. In our review of this situation, the officer’s decision complied with approved procedures. We recently reinforced that training on the procedures with every front line TSA officer. TSA officers have the discretion to deny passage of an item if they cannot definitively rule out that the item could be used as a weapon, or perceived to be a weapon, including replica weapons.”

“When passengers are informed that an item is prohibited from being carried into the cabin of an airplane, they are given options by TSA. One of those options is that passengers may place the item in a checked bag. Other options given to passengers who arrive at checkpoints with a prohibited item include handing off the item to a non-traveling companion, returning it to their car, and mailing it to their destination if that airport has a mailing center.”

“Those options are available to passengers and, in this case, were explained to the passenger by TSA. The passenger chose instead to voluntarily surrender the item to TSA, where it was placed in a locked bin along with other prohibited items and will ultimately be turned over to the state.”


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