TSA: What can go on airplanes?

TSA: What can go on airplanes? 49 CFR Part 1540 By Fred Workley The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued 49 CFR Part 1540 [Federal Register: Feb. 14, 2003 (Vol. 68, No. 31)]. This interpretive rule provides guidance to...

IV. Lists are not exclusive

Neither the prohibited items list nor the permitted items list contains all possible items. A screener has discretion to prohibit an individual from carrying an item into a sterile area or onboard an aircraft if the screener determines that the item is a weapon, explosive, or incendiary, regardless of whether the item is on the prohibited items list or the permitted items list. For example, if a cigar cutter or other article on the permitted list appears unusually dangerous, the screener may refuse to allow it in sterile areas. Similarly, screeners may allow individuals to bring items into the sterile area that are not on the permitted items list.

In addition, items may be prohibited from the cabin of an aircraft, or allowed in only limited quantities, by DOT regulations governing hazardous materials. Individuals with questions about the carriage of hazardous materials on passenger aircraft may call the Hazardous Materials Information Center at (800) 467-4922.

This is not a substantive rule. Rather, it explains to the public, airport personnel, screeners, and airlines how the TSA interprets certain terms used in an existing rule, 49 CFR 1540.111. Generally, an interpretive rule is not likely to impose an economic impact distinct from the impact of the underlying rule. This interpretive rule does not expand the universe of items that passengers will not be allowed to bring into sterile areas or on board aircraft beyond the types of items that currently are considered prohibited weapons, explosives, and incendiaries under the underlying rule.

The resulting economic impact of this rule is nonsignificant by the government. Passengers and other persons with items that may not be brought into sterile areas have several options, some of which include transporting the prohibited item in checked baggage, mailing it to a destination, or returning it to their car. These persons can also choose to voluntarily abandon the property in TSA-provided receptacles, at which point title of the property transfers to the government. The rule does not affect manufacturers' or distributors' ability to sell items that may not be brought into sterile areas or passengers' ability to purchase them (prohibited items sold in sterile areas must be shipped to the purchaser). While little or no adverse economic impact is expected, some unquantifiable economic benefit may result from the fact that this interpretive rule will expedite the screening process at the nation's airports by assisting passengers in deciding how to handle specified items before passengers reach the checkpoint. Based on this analysis, this interpretative rule is not considered a "significant regulatory action."

For further information contact: For technical questions contact Vicky Skelly, Aviation Security Specialist, Air Carrier Division, Office of Aviation Security Policy, TSA-9, Transportation Security Administration, 400 Seventh St., SW, Washington, DC 20590; telephone (571) 227-2641, e-mail Vicky.skelly@tsa.dot.gov. Legal questions may be directed to Ellen Siegler, Attorney, TSA-2, Chief Counsel; telephone (571) 227-2723, e-mail ellen.siegler@tsa.dot.gov. You can obtain an electronic copy of this interpretive rule and other TSA rulemaking documents using the Internet (1) Accessing the Government Printing Office's web page at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html; or (3) Visiting the TSA's Laws and Regulations web page at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.tsa.dot.gov/public/index.jsp. In addition, copies are available by writing or calling the individual in the for further information contact section.

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