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Posted at 4:20 PM ET, 03/ 3/2011

Carry-on luggage costs TSA millions

By Associated Press

Carry-on luggage is costing the federal government an estimated quarter-billion dollars a year.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says more people are carrying their luggage with them to avoid checked-bag fees. The extra security that entails is costing the federal government about $260 million a year.

Napolitano, whose department oversees the Transportation Security Administration, gave the estimate during a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing this week on homeland security.

She said raising the security fees charged to passengers would help make up for extra costs to screen more bags at security checkpoints.

By Associated Press  | March 3, 2011; 4:20 PM ET
Categories:  Airports, Aviation  
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There's an easy win-win solution: Don't allow passengers to bring any luggage at all, saving TSA lots of tax money, and then travelers will have to buy clothes at their destination, thereby boosting the economy. (:>)

Posted by: SteveyP | March 3, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

At this point it's become cheaper to mail your luggage to your destination. Wouldn't surprise me if people start doing this.

Posted by: thurmdawg | March 3, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

If this is a problem for the TSA, maybe they should start enforcing the carry-on size restrictions.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | March 3, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Charge the customers? Why not charge the airlines for creating the incentive to carry on in the first place? And in what sense does scanning an extra carry-on bag per customer add that much cost? Wear and tear on the machines? An extra 2 minutes of effort per person looking at the screens?

Posted by: haggis | March 3, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Where on earth does she get this figure? Recall that this is the same woman who crowed that "the system worked" after a man boarded an airplane bound for the U.S. with explosives and then attempted to detonate his device in-flight. All that occurred, yet still, according to this know-nothing, "the system worked."

This awful woman should be fired or impeached and removed from office. For that I'd be willing to declare that "the system worked."

Posted by: Nixonin08 | March 3, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

You could make the argument that more bags per person means each passenger takes longer to screen, which means the TSA has chosen to add more staff as busy airports. That extra unplanned staff (and potentially more screening equipment) should be the extra charge.

Though, if there are fewer checked bags, then TSA should be staffing less at those stations and screening areas. Passenger numbers as a whole aren't really up for the year, so I doubt the total number of checked+carryon bags has increased.

Posted by: Chris737 | March 3, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Dear Janet Napolitano,

No, citizens' carry on baggage isn't costing the federal government 260 million dollars a year. Janet, it's our money, not the federal government's. Our tax dollars are entrusted to the federal government to manage for the public good.

Your violations of our constitutional right to be secure in our persons, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures is costing us, the taxpayers, 260 million dollars a year.

That's right Janet. Your crimes are expensive. What's worse, since you and your cronies are currently operating at a 40% deficit, 104 million dollars of the money you waste while abusing citizen's rights is borrowed against our children's futures.

Not only do we pay through the nose for your violation of our civil rights, but our children will continue to pay the bill long after we're all gone.

Again, It's not the government's money, Janet. It's the taxpayers money. Please quit squandering our money. Please stop violating our Constitutional rights.

If you're not willing to fulfill these simple, reasonable requests, then please stop making stupid public remarks. It adds insult to injury to think that we pay your salery. From hearing you talk, people are forced to conclude we must be a nation of morons.


Posted by: ElizabethConley | March 3, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"She said raising the security fees charged to passengers would help make up for extra costs to screen more bags at security checkpoints."

I swear if anyone suggests we actually give this stupid broad and her merry band of thugs more money I will scream with fury.

The TSA has spent millions, and plans to spend billions, on equipment to involuntarily irradiate hapless air travelers.

How about taking some of our hard-earned taxes presently earmarked for the cancer machines and spend it on more goons to root through our bags?

That seems like a win-win to me.

That, or her disgusting thugs could get their paws out of Grannie's Depends, change their gloves and rummage through bags for a while.

Grannie would be grateful for the rest, and we could chalk up another win-win.

Posted by: ElizabethConley | March 3, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

comments by ms napolitano are without merit..govt has taken over the transportation business and has not done a very good job of it...air travel is a choice and many are avoiding airports all together...i dont believe this was the intention of TSA...airlines have shown they cant get along with each other and now the Govt has as well...i agree with many previous post that civil rights are being violated daily with little or no recourse....TSA is the issue...not the traveling public...

Posted by: wmnatzakanian | March 3, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

When will Congress act to get this agency under control? This situation has become so bad that States such as NH are resorting to local legislation to protect their citizens from this agency. It is imperative that TSA becomes focused on effective security and stop engaging in these absurd and unduly intrusive theatrics. This continued misdirection of resources are providing an open invitation for another 9/11 style tragedy.

The incessant reports of security lapses, crimes and abuses are a dire warning that there will be consequences for pursuing theater at the expense of security. There have been six reports of TSA failure and abuse in the past week alone!

• The Rep Cissna incident in Seattle where she refused to expose a breast prosthetic.
• The frisking of a 9 year-old and his family in Savannah after they got off of a train
• The TSA failure to find a handgun five times at a DFW checkpoint/
• The Buffalo TSO was arrested for drug trafficking,
• Three box cutters that made it aboard an aircraft at JFK this weekend.
• The 27 screeners under investigation in HNL (3% of staff) for failure to screen bags.

In the past four months one teen has died, there have been four arrests or convictions for TSO theft from passengers, thousands of groping and theft complaints and five incidents of weapons getting through security. What will TSA accomplish in twelve months?

When will Congress act to get this agency under control? The TSA situation has become so bad that States such as NH, NJ, and CA are resorting to local legislation to protect their citizens from this agency. It is distressing that State and local governments must resort to their own measures to protect passengers from abuses by the Federal government that is charged with protecting citizen civil and human rights.

It is imperative that TSA becomes focused on effective security and cease these absurd and unduly intrusive theatrics. These misguided policies and waste of resources are providing an open invitation for another 9/11 style tragedy. These reports are a dire warning that TSA is making us more vulnerable and are responsible for more crimes than they have prevented.

Posted by: fisher1949 | March 3, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

ElizabethConley, you are an idiot. Hearing from you I am forced to conclude that the nation is full or morons.

Posted by: rg14 | March 3, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Elizabeth, I'm with you.
(by oboshoe)
"I think its going to get a lot worse. In fact TSA has only moved into one direction. Virtually each incident is worse than the last.

At the current rate of decline, within a decade people will be enduring cavity searches. TSA will eventually be armed and the TSA abuse stories of today will eventually be stories of passengers being shot or tazzed.

Think that is to extreme? Well 10 years ago, who could have imagined that people would be routinely irradiated, have their genitals groped, and be the subject of police brutality for refusing such?

TSA and DHS is leading this country into fascism.

We don't need terrorists. TSA/DHS is terrorizing America in a way that an Al Qaeda never could."

Don't like it - Don't Fly!

Posted by: wimpie | March 4, 2011 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Brava, Elizabeth Conley! You've hit every nail squarely on the head.

We the citizens are paying for our own abuse. We are paying to be irradiated, groped, humiliated, and degraded, yet Our Security Overlords have the nerve to blame us and our luggage. Ha!

And wimpie is correct -- there's no end in sight. The TSA, predictably, is bringing its dog & pony show (what an insult to dogs and ponies) to every other transportation hub as well -- trains, buses, subways, you name it. How long will people put up with this? And when will Congress do something about it??

Oh, but that's right -- one false flag operation is all it would take for everyone to fall into line. An attack, or a purported attack, a bomb going off somewhere, even if no one is hurt -- then suddenly the fear and paranoia that's already being stoked would be out of control. Nothing would be too degrading for people after that.

If the Brits had behaved like this during the Blitz, they never would've gotten through it.

Posted by: BaltoGal | March 4, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I hope she takes into account the redeployment of employees from screening checked bags to carry-ons when these government costs are quoted I doubt the numbers quoted are correct. It seems to me that almost everyone carries one personal item and one carry-on size bag; there is a limit.

Posted by: GatorGal1129 | March 4, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

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