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TSA asks passengers to stop putting pets through X-ray machines

Officials say people should never put their pets through a checkpoint X-ray unit.
Credit: TSA

WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a message for people flying with animals: "Don't put pets through X-ray machines."

The TSA says agents are seeing too many passengers putting pets through X-ray checkpoints are airports.

During demonstrations at Washington Dulles International Airport Friday, agents demonstrated the proper way passengers should bring their furry friends through security. 

“Pets often travel with their humans and are thought of like family members,” said Scott T. Johnson, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Federal Security Director for the airport. “That’s why it’s important that if a passenger is traveling with their pet to become familiar with the security procedures for pets and how to go through the checkpoint security screening process together quickly and easily." 

Instead of putting a pet carrier through the X-ray machine, passengers should carry the animal as they walk through the metal detector or have the animal on a leash so it may walk through the metal detector on its own.

"Key in the screening of pets is to know that they should never be screened through a checkpoint X-ray unit," Johnson explained.

Credit: TSA

The TSA says there are several easy steps to follow for pets to be screened prior to boarding a flight:

  • All pets should be brought to a security checkpoint in a hand-held travel carrier
  • Remove the pet from the carrier just prior to the beginning of the screening 
  • Place the empty travel carrier on the checkpoint conveyor belt so it can be X-rayed
  • Never place a pet in the X-ray tunnel
  • If possible, carry the pet through the walk-through metal detector during the screening process. Alternatively, a pet can walk through the screening process if the owner has the pet on a leash
  • A TSA officer will give the pet owner’s hands an explosive trace detection swab to ensure there is no explosive residue on the owner’s hands
  • After the screening process is complete, owners should return their pet to the travel carrier at the re-composure area away from the security checkpoint. 

Pet travel restrictions may vary by airline and airport. Be sure to check with the air carrier before arriving at the airport with your pet. 

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