In what can only be described as a uniquely American problem, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) prevents thousands of people each year from boarding flights with guns. That’s not an exaggeration, as the number was well over 6,000 in 2022.
While it’s hardly newsworthy when yet another person is caught with a gun, this story is a bit different, as in this case it was a flight attendant preparing to work a flight…
Flight attendant caught with gun at Philadelphia Airport
The TSA has revealed that on Friday, September 15, 2023, screening personnel at Philadelphia Airport (PHL) stopped a flight attendant from boarding a plane with a loaded .380 caliber handgun. This came just two weeks after the TSA prevented a man working at the airport retail concession shops from bringing his loaded handgun through the checkpoint.
The flight attendant is a resident of Arizona, and was caught with the gun while being screened at the security checkpoint ahead of the flight she was supposed to work. While the TSA didn’t confirm this, she’s likely an American Airlines flight attendant, based on the combination of flying out of Philadelphia and living in Arizona. She was arrested by police, and faces a federal financial penalty for attempting to carry a gun through a TSA checkpoint.
Here’s the TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport describes these two finds:
“We are always on the alert for any possible insider threats. Both of these were good catches on the part of our team. Flight attendants and workers inside the terminal have insider knowledge and access to areas of the airport and aircraft that could pose a serious security threat. These are excellent examples of why it remains important that airline employees and individuals who work in airports need to be screened before gaining access to secure areas of the airport.”
So far this year, the TSA at Philadelphia Airport has stopped 31 people with guns from passing through the checkpoint. That’s only a tiny fraction of the total number of guns that have been stopped at checkpoints across the country.
I don’t get this flight attendant’s motive?
Every year, the TSA stops thousands of people with guns. Presumably a vast majority of these people aren’t looking to commit terror acts on planes, but rather they’re just irresponsible gun owners. Look, personally I don’t really “get” guns, but I think that if you’re going to be a gun owner, you should be held accountable when you don’t follow the rules. When passengers arrive at TSA checkpoints with guns, usually the excuse is “oh, I forgot I had it.”
Anyway, let’s assume that the flight attendant didn’t have a loaded gun with the intent of committing some sort of a horrible crime on the aircraft. I still can’t make sense of why the flight attendant would have a gun on a layover?
- Did the flight attendant somehow acquire a gun in Pennsylvania with the intent of transporting it home to Arizona?
- Did the flight attendant actually know that she’d go through the standard TSA checkpoint, or was she expecting to have Known Crewmember access, but then got selected for a random search?
- While this represents a tiny minority of the overall flight attendant population, we’ve seen some flight attendants get caught for smuggling drugs, since they have a fairly low risk way of transporting them when they can avoid security; was she maybe transporting a gun for someone else?
It’s possible that the flight attendant may lose her job here, but generally the consequences for being caught with a gun at a security checkpoint are quite minimal (at least compared to what they’d be in other countries).
A flight attendant was caught with a loaded gun at Philadelphia Airport, while trying to go through the security checkpoint, prior to boarding a flight she was working. It’s not clear what exactly the flight attendant’s motive was for carrying a gun, though unfortunately she’s one of thousands of people who put themselves in this kind of situation every year. However, most people are passengers, and not employees.
What do you make of this flight attendant gun incident?