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Privacy and travel

Bob Barr is fairly peeved at the Transportation Security Administration for their new list of fines. $1,500 for “non-physical interference with screening” does seem a little high, particularly since attitude is one of the aggravating factors.

The new TSA guidelines are available as a Word document. I’ve also stuck the ones relevant to travellers in the continuation of this post. I can’t get that miffed about high fines for people bringing hand grenades on flights, mind you, but I do keep coming back to $1,500 for non-physical interference. Would that be filing charges?

Anyway, here’s the fun stuff.

Security Violations by Individuals for Prohibited Items Discovered in Checked Baggage

Applicable TSA Regulation: 49 C.F.R. § 1540.111©

  1. Weapons

    1. Firearms

      1. Loaded $1,000-$2,000 + crim. referral
      2. Unloaded and undeclared/not properly packaged $500-$1,000

  2. Incendiaries

    1. General penalty range $250-$1,500

  3. Explosives

    1. Penalty range A* $6,000-$10,000 +crim. referral
    2. Penalty range B** $250-$1,500

*Penalty Range A:
Blasting Caps
Hand grenades
Plastic explosives
All other “high explosives”

**Penalty Range B:
Ammunition (note: See exception for ammunition in Checked Baggage, 49 C.F.R. § 1540.111(d)).
Flares in any form
Gunpowder (note: volume over 10 ounces standard package justifies use of Penalty Range A.)

Other Security Violations by Individuals or Persons

  1. Interference With Screening (49 C.F.R. § 1540.109)

    1. physical contact $1,500-$5,000
    2. non-physical $500-$1,500
    3. false threats $1,000-$2,000

  2. Entering Sterile Area Without Submitting To Screening $1,000-$3,000 49 C.F.R. § 1540.107
  3. Tampering or interfering with, compromising, modifying, attempting to circumvent, or causing a person to tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify or attempt to circumvent any security system, measure, or procedure. (49 C.F.R. § 1540.105(a)) $2,500-$6,000
  4. Entering or being present within a secured area, AOA, SIDA, or sterile area without complying with the systems measures or procedures being applied to control access to, or presence or movement in, such areas. (49 C.F.R. § 1540.105(a)(2)) $1,000-$3,000
  5. Improper use of airport access medium. (49 C.F.R. § 1540.105(a)(3)) $1,000-$3,000
  6. Fraud and Intentional Falsification (C.F.R. § 1540.103) $2,500-$6,000 +crim. referral
  7. Failure to allow inspection of airman certificate, Authorization, FAA license. 49 C.F.R. § 1540.113 $1,000-$3,000

The following is a non-exclusive list of aggravating and mitigating factors frequently encountered in cases of violations by individuals:

Aggravating factors

  • Artful concealment
  • Number of weapons, or volume of explosives and incendiaries
  • Type of weapon, explosive or incendiary
  • Display or use of weapon, explosive or incendiary
  • Past violation history of violator
  • Experience level of violator (e.g., airport/air carrier employees are trained and experienced).
  • Evidence of intent to interfere with operations (e.g., testing the system with a prohibited item, attempting to enter sterile area with prohibited item after previously being allowed to leave in order to divest).
  • Attitude of violator

Mitigating Factors

  • Disclosure by violator
  • Inexperienced flyer
  • Violator is a juvenile
  • Other penalties assessed by federal, state, or local law enforcement


  1. Yeah, the “attitude of violator” bit seems to move it into being a totally discretionary fine, a “pissing off an officer” kind of thing. I’m never too pleased with those, and even less so when it’s in the context of making people abide by rules that have changed radically in the past few years.

  2. Exactly. There’s way too much latitude in those rules. I’m surprised “contrite” wasn’t a mitigating factor.

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