Passengers Walk Through Unmanned TSA Checkpoint and Board Flights at JFK

Feb 20, 2017

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A major failure in airport security occurred today at New York’s JFK Terminal 5 — the terminal used primarily by JetBlue. Around approximately 6am this morning, 11 passengers passed through TSA PreCheck metal detectors into the secure area of the terminal without receiving the required security screening.

Compounding this error was the TSA’s failure to promptly notify the proper authorities. TSA procedures are to immediately report the situation to law enforcement, who can then review the security tapes and find the unscreened passengers in the terminal. However, TSA agents began searching the terminal themselves and didn’t notify law enforcement until almost two hours later.

According to the Washington Times, law enforcement agents completed their security canvas by 9:05am, but didn’t locate any of the 11 passengers. After reviewing the security tapes, law enforcement was able to determine that all three passengers who set off the metal detectors are known to have boarded a flight to California. The flight — or flights — which these passengers boarded wasn’t revealed; however, the TSA stated that the the agency “conducted security measures at the passengers’ arrival airport.”

11 JFK passengers got an extra-speedy pass through TSA PreCheck.

The TSA provided the following statement to The Points Guy, which refers only to the three passengers who set off the metal detectors as they passed through:

The Transportation Security Administration is reviewing reports of a possible security incident this morning at John F Kennedy International Airport Terminal 5. Early reports indicate three passengers did not receive required secondary screening after alarming the walk through metal detector. [sic] All personal carry-on bags received required screening. A K9 team was present at the checkpoint at the time of the incident.

While undoubtedly the TSA would prefer to downplay this situation, this statement glosses over the extraordinary failure of TSA to properly screen passengers — particularly passengers that set off metal detectors.

This is not the first time there’s been a major failure of security at New York’s JFK airport. Back in October, The Points Guy himself had an issue at JFK on a flight arriving from Miami when a gate agent incorrectly routed the deplaning passengers from his flight to international arrivals and customs instead of the domestic exit. The situation got chaotic with neither ID’s nor boarding passes being checked before people were allowed to exit immigration. The Points Guy shared his experience on Facebook Live.

Considering this previous incident and today’s debacle, is security becoming a major ongoing problem at JFK airport?

H/T: NBC News

Featured image courtesy of Scott Olson/Getty Images.

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