State Watch

TSA officer ‘shocked’ to find cat in checked bag at JFK

FILE – People wait in a TSA line at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. With summer vacations winding down, airlines are counting on the return of more business travelers to keep their pandemic recovery going into fall 2022. Air travel in the United States, bolstered by huge numbers of tourists, has nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Business travel, however, remains about 25% to 30% below 2019 levels, according to airlines and outfits that track sales. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers are known to occasionally find firearms and knives inside passengers’ luggage, but on Tuesday, officers stumbled upon something more peculiar: an orange cat.

TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said an officer was “shocked” when they found the cat in a passenger’s checked bag during inspections at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Farbstein said the traveler indicated the cat belonged to someone else in their household.

“On the bright side, the cat’s out of the bag and safely back home,” she wrote on Twitter.

A separate tweet from the agency shows an X-ray screening of the cat in the passenger’s luggage, which appears to be a rolling suitcase, and an officer opening the bag with the cat inside.

The agency is expecting millions of Americans to pass through the nation’s airports over the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Tuesday, 2.3 million people passed through airport security checkpoints, TSA data shows.

The agency last week suggested Thanksgiving travel volumes may reach pre-pandemic levels, with upward of 2.5 million passengers potentially traveling on both Wednesday and Sunday.

“We expect to be busier this year than last year at this time, and probably very close to pre-pandemic levels,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement. 

“We are prepared to handle the projected increase in travel volumes next week. However, going forward, making the TSA pay levels equal to other federal agencies is critical to our ability in 2023 to recruit, train, equip and retain a highly skilled and professional workforce on the frontlines of transportation security,” Pekoske added, calling on Congress to pass the Biden administration’s budget request for the agency.

Tags air travel Transportation Security Administration
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