Watch: TSA Agent Grab a Smoking Bag at Security Checkpoint

On July 20 at the Savannah-Hilton Head airport the battery of an e-cigarette malfunctioned. TSA has just released video of the incident, because this happened, no one was hurt, and they didn’t even shut down the airport.

You can see the bag smoking once it’s gone through the x-ray. Initially the TSA screener saunters over, picks up the bag, and walks off. You can then see him on another camera speeding up.

The only other time I’ve seen a TSA agent run through the airport was two years ago at JFK where they were fleeing, screaming about a bomb and a shooting victim when all that happened was passengers clapped for Usain Bolt’s Olympic win.

Regardless this is a good reminder that everything is being recorded when you go through security, and TSA will release the footage when they think it benefits them to do so. That also makes screening checkpoints a good place to propose marriage since it’ll be captured on film.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Have to give the TSA officer credit for putting himself on the line like that, not knowing what was causing the smoke. However, this is a training nightmare. I can’t imagine that any procedure wouldn’t call for not touching the bag (or breathing in the smoke as much as possible) & clearing the immediate area as quickly as possible. Not only could he have gotten injured/killed/infected if the contents were more dangerous, but he would’ve exposed many others to danger in the process by going thru populated areas. Again, clearly his heart was in the right place, but this calls for some re-training asap. As a passenger, I’d really like to know that staff can handle these things more safely.

  2. Kudos to the TSA officer. He took the the action that would have resulted in the least exposure to others and put himself at risk. @Gary – I know you are not a TSA fan, but you need to lay off the criticism when someone does something right. As for clearing the area – what is faster – getting the bag out or the people out? Getting the bag out took seconds. Getting the people out while hoping for the best would take significantly longer.

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