Don’t put pets through airport X-ray machines, TSA says

CLEVELAND (WJW) — In preparation for the busy holiday season ahead, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is reminding pet owners about the proper way to get through security when traveling with an animal.

It seems there have been multiple instances recently where folks have failed to remove pets from carriers and have put them through X-ray machines at security checkpoints. X-ray machines are not for animals, TSA said.

The cat was discovered by a TSA officer after the checked bag was passed through an X-ray unit. (TSA)

As traveling with pets can be stressful for all involved, TSA offered these helpful tips in a statement to help ease the process:

  • All pets should be brought to a security checkpoint in a hand-held travel carrier. 
  • Remove the pet from the carrier just prior to the beginning of the screening process.
  • Place the empty travel carrier on the checkpoint conveyor belt so it can be X-rayed.
  • Never place a pet in the X-ray tunnel. The X-ray at the security checkpoint is used to screen passengers’ personal property and carry-on luggage only.
  • If possible, carry the pet through the walk-through metal detector during the screening process. Alternately, a pet can walk through the screening process if the owner has the pet on a leash. Best to listen to the guidance that a TSA officer is providing.
  • A TSA officer will give the pet owner’s hands an explosive trace detection swab to ensure there is no explosive residue on the owner’s hands.
  • After the screening process is complete, owners should return their pet to the travel carrier at the re-composure area away from the security checkpoint. This location helps ensure the safety of the pet as well as other passengers.

Every airport and airline has its own pet policies so those planning to travel with animals should do their research ahead of time.

Tags pets travel TSA x-ray machine