Commissioner Nikki Fried Shares Tips for Avoiding Scams During Older Americans Month / 2022 Press Releases / Press Releases / News & Events / Home


Tallahassee, Fla. — With May marking Older Americans Month, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumers Services Nikki Fried is sharing tips to recognize and avoid consumer fraud scams, specifically those that target seniors.

“With $3 billion in annual losses from scammers among older Americans, it is critical to educate our seniors and caretakers of elderly loved ones on how to recognize the signs of fraudulent activity to protect against fraud,” said Commissioner Fried. “Together, we can help raise awareness of the warning signs to protect against becoming a victim of fraud and crack down on those criminals targeting seniors – not just during Older Americans Month but year-round.”

General Rules to Avoid Scams:

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommend the following tips to help avoid fraud:

  • Resist pressure to take immediate action. Scammers will try to isolate you and will use scare tactics to create a sense of urgency. Don’t be rushed, and don’t believe anyone who says you don’t have time to talk to a friend or family member. Take the time to do your own research and talk with someone you trust.
  • Do not send money. If you are contacted by someone asking you to transfer money for them, it is most likely a scam. Wiring money is like sending cash. Once you send it, it’s gone. It is also never a good idea to deposit a check from someone you don’t know, especially if the stranger is asking you to wire money back to them.
  • Be wary of gift cards and cryptocurrency. Scammers utilize these forms of payment because they are hard to trace. Once the information from your gift card is obtained, it can be used by anyone. No legitimate business or government agency will insist that you pay with a gift card. For this same reason, anyone asking you to pay with cryptocurrency is likely a scammer. Cryptocurrency payments do not come with legal protections and once sent, are almost impossible to recover. 
  • Report fraud. If you are contacted by anyone using the previous listed methods to pay or send money, please report the incident to FDACS online or by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-FL-AYUDA).  Additionally, please report to the FTC at ftc.gov.

Most Common Financial Scams Targeting Seniors

According to the National Council on Aging, seniors are more susceptible to the following scams:

Government Imposter Scams: An imposter scammer pretends to be someone you trust, oftentimes a government agency like the Social Security Administration, or the Internal Revenue Service. The scammer can have a fake name or number show up on your caller ID to convince you. Often, they will inform you your Social Security or Medicare benefits are in danger if you do not pay a fee or provide identifying information.

  • Do not trust the phone number: Often scammers will spoof the phone number from a relevant agency.
  • How to proceed. If you or a family member divulged personal identifying information or initiated a payment, follow these steps to protect yourself from further harm.

Grandparent or Emergency Scams: Emergency scams usually target parents, grandparents, or other family members. In these instances, someone calls or sends a message claiming to be a child or grandchild in trouble or the friend of a family member who is in trouble and urges the targeted victim to wire money immediately to help with an emergency.

  • Validate before you send money. Confirm the person’s identity before taking any steps to help. Ask the person questions that only your loved ones would know and be able to answer.
  • Verify with others. Before you send any money, verify the story with someone else in your family or circle of friends.

Computer Tech Support Scams: Tech support scams rely on convincing you of a serious problem with your computer. In doing so, the scammers will sell you services to “repair” your computer or will request remote access allowing them to find personal information on your device. 

  • Consider who is calling. If you receive an unexpected phone call about your computer, hang up. Legitimate tech companies will not contact you by phone about a computer problem.
  • Do not call. If you see a pop-up window on your computer screen about potential threats, do not call the number. Real security warnings will never ask you to call a phone number.

Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams: There are many legitimate sweepstakes offered in Florida. Prizes in legitimate contests are awarded solely by chance, and contestants don’t have to pay a fee or buy something to enter or increase their odds of winning. In fraudulent schemes, “winners” almost always have to pay to enter a contest or collect their “prize.”

  • Verify the sweepstakes. Any sweepstakes offering prizes totaling more than $5,000 must file with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This also applies to sweepstakes based in other states if they are conducted in Florida. Call 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-FL-AYUDA) to verify.  
  • Never pay money to receive money. No purchase or entry fee is required in legitimate sweepstakes. Legitimate sweepstakes also don’t require you to pay shipping or handling fees, insurance, or taxes to collect your prize.
  • Don’t be deceived by official looking mail. It is unlawful for a promoter to lie about an affiliation with or endorsement by a government agency or any other well-known organization.

Romance Scams. A romance scam occurs when a criminal creates a fake online identity and uses it to gain the affection and trust of a victim. In romance scams, also called confidence scams, the criminal deceives a victim into believing they have a trusted relationship and then uses the relationship to persuade the victim to give money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the scammer.

  • Consider what you post. Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.
  • Research the person. Look at photos and profiles using online searches to see if the image, name, or details have been used elsewhere.
  • Look for suspicious behavior. Actions such as promising to meet in person, yet always having an excuse why he or she can’t, or trying to isolate you from family and friends can be signs that you are communicating with a scammer.

What should consumers do?

  • File a consumer complaint: To file a complaint, complete FDACS’ online form or call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) en Español.
  • Share your story: Share your story with friends and family or on social media to help others avoid falling victim to similar scams.
  • Review our consumer resources: Consumers can find helpful tips and recourse on our website: FloridaConsumerHelp.com.

Background: FDACS Division of Consumer Services is Florida’s state consumer protection agency, responsible for regulating charities, handling consumer complaints, and protecting against unfair and unsafe business practices. The Division regulates businesses including motor vehicle repair shops, pawnbrokers, health studios, travel sellers, intrastate movers, professional surveyors and mappers, sweepstakes/game promotions, and telemarketers.

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T-Pain Releases ‘That’s Just Tips’ Single Ahead Of New Tour





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Austin airport releases travel tips ahead of expected busy travel season


Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) has released tips for airline passengers as the days ahead are expected to be busy. AUS expects an estimated 28,000 passengers will fly in and out of the airport each day between March 31 to April 4, 2022. 

The airport expects these trends to continue regularly on Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays. The busiest time is early in the morning before 8 a.m.

Although the expected trends may not exceed AUS’s single busiest day of 35,298 passengers set in October 2021, the number of travelers shows AUS has recovered from pandemic losses. 

The high number of travelers is expected to continue through the summer due to more flights to nonstop destinations being available, and more available airline seats. AUS expects to break their passenger record this year at 20 million. The last record was set at 17.3 million passengers in 2019. 

AUS leadership met with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to address passenger wait times and continue to improve passenger flow and TSA staffing levels. AUS leadership also met with the Consolidated Rental Car Facility (CONRAC) operator and requested an after-action report to understand the cause of Monday morning’s traffic backup and to identify solutions to prevent it from reoccurring. 

The jet fuel shortage alert that was issued for airlines on Monday, has been lifted and normal fueling operations resumed on Wednesday, March 30. AUS reports that no airlines experienced any canceled, diverted or delayed flights due to the alert.

Airlines are no longer requested to fly into AUS with extra fuel now that the on-site shortage has reached a two-day supply. However, most airports average a 5-7 day fuel supply. 

Passenger Travel Tips 

To help manage expectations and prepare passengers for busier days at AUS, the airport recommends travelers only bringing carry-on luggage should arrive at least two hours before their boarding time for domestic flights and three before their boarding time for international flights. For travelers checking luggage, traveling with small children or in a large group, and those flying out of AUS for the first time in a while, it’s recommended to give yourself extra time in addition to the two and three hour recommendations to make it on time to your gate. 

Flight Check-In Tips 

Those traveling without checked luggage can skip the airline ticket counters and head directly to security screening checkpoints use these time-saving check-in options:

  • Use the lower curbside and upper curbside for drop-off — from the lower level, passengers can quickly get upstairs to ticketing and security via escalators and elevators.
  • Self-service flight check-in kiosks that allow travelers to print their boarding passes and bag tags are available inside the terminal, across from the airline ticket counters.
  • In addition to traditional check-in procedures, select airlines offer outside curbside check-in.
  • Travelers can also save time by checking in for their flight using their airlines’ mobile app and a mobile boarding pass.

TSA Screening and Packing Tips 

TSA Checkpoints open at 3:30 a.m. and Checkpoints 1 and 2 West offer TSA PreCheck and Clear screening. There is also a new security checkpoint near Southwest ticketing, Checkpoint 2 East. This checkpoint will be open during peak travel times for all passengers going through general screening. All checkpoints lead to all gates and airlines in the Barbara Jordan Terminal. For more information about what can and cannot be brought through TSA security, visit TSA.gov.

Health & Safety Tips 

The TSA’s face mask requirement has been extended to April 18, 2022. Face masks are required for individuals across all transportation networks throughout the U.S. including airports. Passengers who do not comply with the mask requirement may be denied entry or boarding and could face civil penalties. 

Parking & Passenger Drop-Off Tips 

An expected increase in passengers means more vehicles are dropping off and picking up passengers. AUS is encouraging drivers and passengers to use whichever level has the least congestion. Drop off for departures on either the upper or lower level. There are escalators and elevators for passengers to quickly get upstairs to ticketing and security from the lower level. Those looking to park onsite can visit ABIAParking.com to reserve a parking space and check for real-time parking availability before arriving at the airport. 

For arriving passengers getting picked up by a ride-share service, a tram is available on the first floor of the Red garage to take passengers from the terminal to the ride-share pick-up area located on the first floor underneath the rental car facility.

Information for Allegiant and Frontier Travelers 

Passengers flying with Allegiant or Frontier will depart from The South Terminal. All other airlines operate out of the main Barbara Jordan Terminal. The two terminals must be accessed separately, as they are not connected. The South Terminal is located at 10000 Logistics Lane, near US 183 and Burleson Road. If dropped off at the Barbara Jordan Terminal, passengers can use a shuttle bus, which picks up from the curb-side departure level, to get to the South Terminal.

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MORE HEADLINES: 
Austin Bergstrom International Airport lifts jet fuel shortage alert
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport experiences jet fuel shortage
Austin airport struggles with long TSA wait times, fuel shortage

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IMG releases 2022 Travel Resource Guide


As the travel season revs up, the International Motorcoach Group (IMG) is releasing its digital 2022 Travel Resource Guide.

IMG

The guide delivers information about member companies to help those who are planning group trips, such as family reunions, team transfers to sporting events, wedding parties or escorted tours to conventions.

“This has been a go-to publication for those looking for motorcoach transportation for many years. From individual planners to those contracting tour series or meetings and conventions, IMG’s Travel Resource Guide is easy to use and provides pertinent information to make purchasing decisions. As a digital publication, the guide can be saved to a desktop and easily accessed,” said IMG President Bronwyn Wilson. 

The 46-page guide provides key contact details for each member company, plus details about the types of vehicles and services offered. A gateway city guide also allows for quick reference when searching for an IMG provider.

“We know that, as business returns, the IMG network is a reliable source for transportation, important after two years of very little work for our industry. IMG members remain at the forefront with respect to enhanced training, safety, maintenance and customer service excellence,” Wilson said.

The network of 54 motorcoach operators throughout North America says its commitment to high standards and qualifications, to which member companies must adhere, adds yet another layer of confidence for customers.

IMG says members support unconditionally an extensive network in the form of on-road assistance from coast to coast and member-to-member services. The assembly is a private, invitation-only organization of primarily family-owned companies that operate to a Code of Excellence. Each individual member company maintains a proven service record and shares in the collective ideals of excellence.

Related:

IMG companies collectively named 2021 Operator of the Year



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Kansas Senators Will Travel To Eastern Europe – News Releases


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall, M.D. joined a press conference following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address to Congress this morning. Senators Moran and Marshall will be traveling to Poland and Germany this week to gain more insight on needed security support for Ukraine and NATO readiness.

“America should do what America does best – protect freedom and liberty for our own citizens and for people around the world,” said Sen. Moran. “President Zelenskyy’s address to Congress was a powerful and moving reminder that the United States must continue to take action to aid Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s unprovoked attack, assist refugees fleeing Ukraine, support our NATO allies and make certain Vladimir Putin pays for his aggression. The United States has the capability to provide further resources to Ukrainians through defensive military equipment, food aid and medical supplies to give Ukraine a fighting chance not only to survive but to win. We must demonstrate through our actions that we stand with Ukraine and our European allies in the fight for democracy.”

Click HERE to Watch Sen. Moran’s Full Remarks

“I do believe the Unites States can do so much more – that we can show more compassion and we are doing that by helping getting food and medical supplies to the people of Ukraine,” said Sen. Marshall. “Our sanctions on Russia could be much stronger and President Biden is delaying implementation of so many of the sanctions – we are basically continuing to fund this Russian war. I do believe we can get MiG-29s, A-10s, more drones, and more anti-aircraft missiles, but President Biden has to step forward and start leading. I am committed that there will be no American bloodshed in Ukraine – this has to be a war that is led be Europe. We will be standing beside and behind but we don’t want American pilots in the air space or American boots on the ground. We must do all we can to help the brave people of Ukraine.”

Click HERE to Watch Sen. Marshall’s Full Remarks

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JH Travel and Tourism Board releases annual report – Buckrail


JACKSON, Wyo. — The Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board (JHTTB) released their annual report reflecting on fiscal year 2021, running from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.

The report includes information on lodging tax revenue and spending, marketing and campaigns, hotel occupancy, national park visitation and airport stats by season.

According to the report, from June 2020 to July 2021, a total of $6,884,687 in Lodging Taxes funded the town and county and JHTTB.

A 5% lodging tax is applied to overnight stays at lodging facilities. Three percent is given to the state to fund the Wyoming Office of Tourism and the Wyoming Tourism Board. The remaining 2% stays in Teton County, with 60% of these funds managed by the JHTTB for destination marketing, tourist education, events, and other tourism-related initiatives. The Town of Jackson and Teton County manage the remaining 40% and use the money to mitigate the impacts of tourism on infrastructure.

In fiscal year 2021, the town and county received $2,753,875 from the lodging tax and JHTTB received $4,130,812. According to the report, JHTTB spent 47% of the toal funds, or $1,947,350, on destination marketing/paid media.

Lodging tax revenue was highest in June of 2021 with a total of $750,611 collected.

JHTTB also shared more information on their new project to create a sustainable destination management plan (SDMP). The board has contracted with a consulting team from George Washington University’s International Institute of Tourism Studies working with Confluence Sustainability to lead the SDMP.

The goal of the SDMP is to “create messaging that aligns with the values of our community, attracts visitors who are most desirable for our destination, and educates them on lower-impact ways to enjoy our beautiful surroundings,” Chairman Brian Gallagher said in the report.

The study is set to be completed in September 2022.

The complete report is available here. More information on the sustainable destination management plan is available here.



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The Travel Institute Releases New Edition of Certified Travel Associate Program


The Travel Institute has released the 10th edition of its Certified Travel Associate (CTA) program.

The new edition has been completely updated and contains all-new sections, including Marketing and Promoting Your Business, a five-lesson, in-depth module including key marketing principles as well as expert guidance on successful marketing strategies and tactics.

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There’s also the new Accepting and Processing Payments, a three-lesson module focused on financial terminology, a “how-to” on payment processing best practices and security protocols recommended for all transactions, as well as cover-to-cover updates throughout all 15 learning modules.

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“The travel industry is changing before our eyes and the agent role is more challenging than ever. With new processes, protocols and rules across geographies, suppliers and more daily, agents need greater knowledge AND an upgraded arsenal of practical and professional skills to keep up and to get ahead,” said Guida Botelho, CTIE, director of training, The Travel Institute. “For agents looking to attract more clients, grow sales, enhance value, communicate better, improve efficiency, become more marketable and, of course, earn more, the CTA 10th Edition helps accomplish these goals and more,” Botelho asserted.

The new edition has received praise from travel advisors. Rhonda Stanley, CTA, CTC, vice president talent development for Toronto-based Travel Agent Next Door, said the new edition is “simply fabulous.”

“Success doesn’t just happen,” said Stanley. “Agents who apply the knowledge and step-by-step advice from the new CTA program will absolutely have greater success.”

Lisa Sheldon, CTIE, president of the Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association, praised the new sections.

“The new payments module is critical to every agent’s everyday success,” Sheldon said. “Protecting client payment information is imperative” and “understanding agency and vendor payment procedures is key.”

Petras noted that clients are looking to travel advisors more and more these days.

“Along with saving time and money, travelers gain peace of mind, expertise, and more working with a travel pro; the last two-plus years has truly illuminated the undeniable value educated agents bring to the table,” she said.

The Travel Institute experienced an 83 percent increase in 2021 visits to the non-profit education leader’s Certified Travel Agent Directory, a no-cost, consumer-facing directory for consumers seeking out credentialed agents.

Content changes in the instruction include updates to Business Ethics with legal guidance on travel sellers law, E&O insurance and more. There are new tips in Customer-focused Selling and an update to Touring the World’s Canada, China, South Pacific and Africa geographies. There are also new marketing ideas and initiatives for Selling All-Inclusive Resorts and Selling Special Interest Travel; and an important “what to do/not do” section on Travel Insurance, including US and Canada-specific advice.

CTA students choose from online and/or print options for curriculum, utilizing flexible scheduling and a self-study format. Once they graduate, students have access to The Travel Institute’s Certified Graduate Toolkit.





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US News & World Report Releases 2022 ‘Best Hotels’ Rankings


Leading global rankings authority U.S. News & World Report today released its twelfth annual Best Hotels list, having selected 2022’s top hotels and resorts from among more than 35,000 evaluated in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, the Caribbean and Europe.

While international travel has not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels and many countries still maintain restrictions on foreign visitors, these top-ranked hotels carry on providing top-shelf guest services and amenities, beckoning to lockdown-weary travelers who are eager to plan their post-pandemic escapes.

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“The travel industry has faced many disruptions over the past two years, highlighting the need to support and recognize hotels that continue to maintain excellent standards,” said Zach Watson, senior travel editor at U.S. News. “The 2022 Best Hotels rankings offer a dependable guide for travelers to use when organizing their next trip, whether that’s in a few weeks or later in the year.”

Named the number one Best Hotel in the USA was The Peninsula Chicago, with its elegant, airy overall atmosphere, and ultra-luxurious wellness, dining and accommodations offerings. For reviewers, standout elements included the expansive, indulgent Peninsula Spa; the AAA Four Diamond Shanghai Terrace restaurant, which sports a sophisticated 1930s supper club vibe; and a tasteful afternoon tea service in the lobby.

Montage Kapalua Bay, an exquisite island sanctuary occupying 24 beachfront acres on blissful Maui, took second place, while Acqualina Resort & Residences on the Beach in Miami’s Sunny Isles Beach ranked third among all the nation’s hotels. U.S. News cited both properties’ exceptional levels of guest service, immaculately kept grounds, plush accommodations and wide selection of on-site amenities as the bases for its selection.

In addition to grading the Best Hotels in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, the Caribbean and Europe, the U.S. News Travel team also ranked several particular types of properties in these destinations to offer would-be guests informed guidance on the best options in each category.


Vintage, car, automobile, vehicle, Packard, Peninsula, Chicago, hotel, entrance
A vintage Packard automobile sitting outside the entrance to The Peninsula Chicago. (photo courtesy of Peninsula Hotels)

For travelers desirous of open-air, outdoor-oriented vacations, the outlet has set forth the Best Resorts and Best All-Inclusive Resorts. And, for the first time, select 3.5-star properties have been incorporated into the among hotels, resort and all-inclusive resort rankings in Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean in order to provide vetted options for travelers who seek relaxing beach vacations at more affordable price points.

“The Best Resorts and Best All-Inclusive Resorts lists offer information on everything from the number of pools and restaurants on-site to the daily activities available and nightly resort fees (if applicable). The easily accessible information allows travelers to fully enjoy these luxurious resorts without spending months planning,” Watson explained.

U.S. News’ Top Hotels rankings also provide prospective travelers with listings of the top hotels and resorts across various destinations that have been sorted according to niche criteria—such as Best Boutique Hotels, Best Casino Hotels, Best Spa Hotels, Best Golf Hotels, Best Beach Hotels, Best Lake Hotels, Best Pet-friendly Hotels and more.

Below, we’ve listed the top five of U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best Hotels in each given destination.


Peninsula Chicago, Peninsula, Chicago, hotel, exterior
Exterior of The Peninsula Chicago. (photo courtesy of Peninsula Hotels)

Best Hotels in the United States:

The Peninsula Chicago

Montage Kapalua Bay

Acqualina Resort & Residences on the Beach

Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa

Hotel Bel-Air


Rosewood Hotel Georgia
Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo via Rosewood Hotel Georgia)

Best Hotels in Canada:

Rosewood Hotel Georgia

The Ritz-Carlton, Montréal

Fairmont Pacific Rim

Auberge Saint-Antoine

Fogo Island Inn


Spa Montage Los Cabos
Spa Montage Los Cabos. (photo courtesy of Spa Montage Los Cabos)

Best Hotels in Mexico:

Montage Los Cabos

Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection

Rosewood Mayakoba

Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort

One&Only Palmilla


Aerial view of Eden Rock (Courtesy of Eden Rock, St. Barths)
Aerial view of Eden Rock – St. Barths. (photo courtesy of Eden Rock – St. Barths)

Best Hotels in the Caribbean:

Eden Rock – St. Barths

Jade Mountain Resort

Belmond Cap Juluca

Zemi Beach House, LXR Hotels & Resorts

Eden Roc at Cap Cana


Rosewood Bermuda Palm Court Pool
Rosewood Bermuda Palm Court Pool. (Photo courtesy of Rosewood Hotels and Resorts)

Best Hotels in Bermuda:

Rosewood Bermuda

Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club

Royal Palms Hotel

Fairmont Southampton

Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa


Balcony with red and white stripped awning, white tablecloths and fine china
Le Bristol Paris (Photo courtesy Oetker Collection’s Bristol Paris)

Best Hotels in Europe:

Le Bristol Paris

La Réserve Paris – Hotel and Spa

The Milestone Hotel & Residences

Ashford Castle

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris





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TSA Releases List Of 10 Most Unusual Confiscated Items For 2021


Get ready to wonder “What were they thinking?”

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently released its list of the most unusual items confiscated at airport security checkpoints in 2021. As you would expect, the list details some puzzling choices made by people entering U.S. airports.

“It’s here! TSA’s Top 10 Catches of 2021!” the TSA explains in a video with some levity.

Here are the TSA’s Top 10 Catches of 2021. It’s up to you to decide which item is the most unusual.

  1. Chainsaw (New Orleans International Airport) 
  2. A wine holder shaped like a gun (Sacramento International Airport)
  3. Fireworks (Syracuse Hancock International)
  4. Machete (Reagan Washington National)
  5. Bear spray (Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport)
  6. A meat cleaver (Harrisburg International Airport)
  7. Gun belt buckle (Honolulu International Airport)
  8. “Meth-burrito” (Hobby International Airport in Texas)
  9. Antique pistol (Newark International Airport)
  10. Bullets in deodorant (Atlantic City International Airport in New Jersey)

A “Meth-Burrito”?

Okay, let’s get to what we consider the most unusual item confiscated by the TSA last year: That so-called “meth-burrito.”

During a routine X-ray screening of carry-on luggage on Friday, April 2, at the William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas, a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) saw what appeared to be an unidentified lump inside a traveler’s breakfast burrito. The traveler said it was just a burrito, but the officer asked the traveler to unwrap the burrito for further visual inspection, the TSA explains.

Another officer then assisted with the inspection. Once the burrito was unwrapped, officers noticed a suspicious lump inside the burrito, so they decided to send the burrito through the X-ray scan again.

“Following the second scan, the TSOs were able to see on the X-ray screen what appeared to be black tape and dark wrapping around a large organic mass,” the TSA explains. “Because they suspected there was an illegal substance concealed in the food, they notified the Houston Police Department (HPD), which responded to the security checkpoint. HPD then determined that the lump was crystal meth.”

Confiscated Firearms

While it isn’t unusual, the presence of firearms continues to be a growing problem for the TSA. Indeed, 5,674 guns were confiscated at U.S. airports in 2021, the agency told CBS News. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, 85 percent of those firearms were loaded with ammunition.

It should be pointed out that the number of confiscated firearms was at an all-time high last year.

“The number of firearms that our TSA officers are stopping at airport checkpoints is alarming,” David Pekoske, TSA administrator, said in a statement. “Firearms, particularly loaded firearms, introduce an unnecessary risk at checkpoints, have no place in the passenger cabin of an airplane, and represent a very costly mistake for the passengers who attempt to board a flight with them.”

It should be noted that if you are a firearm owner, firearms can be transported by airlines — following strict guidelines.

First, unloaded firearms must be packed in a locked hard-sided container that is traveling as a checked bag. The locked case must completely secure the firearm and it must not be able to be opened easily.

Passengers must also declare the firearm and any ammunition to the airline when they are checking the locked container at the ticket counter.

All of the details about properly traveling with a firearm and ammunition can be found on the TSA’s website.

Know Before You Go

If you don’t want to end up on the TSA’s list of unusual items that were confiscated in 2022, be sure to leave all weapons, drugs, and fireworks at home. 

Then, before your next flight, be sure to read all of the TSA’s rules about what can, and cannot, be carried on airplanes. You can find that list here.

You can learn more about the TSA confiscating firearms here:





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Tri-Cities Airport releases corporate travel survey to public | News


BLOUNTVILLE — The Tri-Cities Airport wants to know where you’re headed for your next business trip.

The Tri-Cities Airport Authority released its corporate travel survey to the public this week. According to a press release from the TCAA, the survey includes 16 questions on where you traveled by air for work in 2019, future corporate travel expectations, airline use and airport use.

“Your feedback is vitally important as we work to garner additional air service for TRI’s communities,” said Gene Cossey, TCAA executive director. “The more businesses we have participate in the survey, even if they only travel once a year, the better our chances for recruitment of additional air service. The community’s engagement is critical to the success of your hometown airport.”

The survey project is part of the TCAA’s work with Mead and Hunt, an architectural and engineering firm the airport began working with in August. Last year the airport also released a vacation destination survey to help give the consultants and airport officials an idea where locals aim to jet off to.



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