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TSA Paying Out For Damaging Austin Traveler's Luggage
Since 2011, the Transportation Security Administration has paid out more than $4,000 to people who reported having lost or damaged luggage through security checkpoints at Austin Bergstrom International Airport.
KEYE TV dug into the numbers and found they’ve spent even more over the past decade.
Through information KEYE TV obtained from the TSA, there were hundreds of property damage and property loss claims, between 2006 and 2009.
The claims were filed by passengers, heading through TSA checkpoints at ABIA. According to TSA documents, for those three years the TSA paid out more than $18,000 in claims.
A number that's a little high for some heading towards the sky.
"You just kind of pray that you go through the safest TSA officers, that's really all you can do because of security measures,” said Felecia Avery. “You can't really lock your baggage anymore.”
We found page after page of information outlining claims paid by the TSA for damage and losses of cash, purses, glasses, cameras, baby items, and medical equipment to name a few.
The biggest ticket item we found again and again, people claiming loss or damage to laptops.
While the TSA wouldn’t do an on-camera interview with KEYE TV, officials at ABIA opened up about how not everything that's lost is really missing.
"Be aware of what you bring into the airport and don't leave it behind,” said ABIA spokesman Jim Halbrook.
ABIA opened the doors for KEYE TV to its lost and found area. An area filled with piles of items passengers left behind.
"When you finish using something, put it away,” said Halbrook. “The way it seems to be lost is you’re busy doing something and set your items down, you grab your bag to go do something and then you walk off without your property.”
Halbrook says lost items at the airport stay on site for 45 days, and are then are turned over to the city where they're up for auction or donation.
There are three separate lost and founds in the airport, one run by the airport, one run by the TSA, and another for the airlines.
Halbrook says if you think you have lost something to make sure you contact the airport and they can place you in touch with the right location, and wants to remind travelers during the holiday season, “if you wrap your gift and bring it through security be advised that it may have to be unwrapped if it seems to be a suspicious package.”
For more information on claims and travel information, go to http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/ and http://www.austintexas.gov/department/travel-security-information.
By Adam Racusin