By SHANNON KELLY
To bolster Canadians’ confidence in air travel, CATSA recently issued a press release tooting its own horn, pinpointing its top security catches of 2011. We countered that with a few not-so-impressive misses of the past year.
To be fair, though, not all of them can be attributed to CATSA. And happily, we found nothing in recent Canadian history quite as shocking as the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s failure to notice an undeclared, loaded .38-calibur handgun in December (discovered by airline crew only after it fell out of a duffel bag being loaded onto a plane).
5 Best Security Catches
- 200 grams of cocaine and 2 kilograms of marijuana discovered in a passenger’s knee brace at Toronto’s Pearson Airport
- 9 mm replica handgun found concealed in aluminum cans in a soft drink case in checked baggage at Toronto’s Pearson Airport
- a grenade was caught at Montreal’s Trudeau Airport; passenger wasn’t sure if it was live or inert (it turned out to be inert)
- 9 mm Smith and Wesson and two full gun clips confiscated at Calgary International
- opium uncovered, concealed inside a printer at Vancouver International
5 Biggest Security Fails
- Four-inch serrated knife missed in carry-on backpack at Comox Valley Airport, Alberta.
- Stowaway sneaks past airport security and hides in an overhead bin on a plane bound for Panama at Toronto’s Pearson Airport
- Passenger who had secured proper paperwork to transport two handguns (provided they were stowed in properly secured checked luggage) for use in a shooting competition is advised to carry the guns onboard by Vancouver-based Air Canada desk manager. An airline attendant holds onto the guns for safekeeping during the flight and the passenger is later arrested for impersonating a police officer. The guns were not loaded.
- Air Canada confiscates a piñata, a gift for an eight-year-old girl, as a potential threat
- Air Canada loads baggage onto an international flight without its passenger in Vancouver
Not sure what’s allowed on flights? (Piñatas are a grey area, by the way.) Consult CATSA’s What to Pack chart online.