ILM and TSA are ready for what’s expected to be a busy holiday weekend

ILM and TSA ready for what's expected to be a busy holiday weekend
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 6:26 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Air travel for this Memorial Day weekend could be one for the record books across the nation and here at Wilmington International Airport.

ILM is expected to be much busier this upcoming weekend, along with the rest of the summer. They’re expecting a 24% increase in travelers this weekend.

Of course, TSA will be on high alert with more bags going through security checkpoints. We were shown the most common items that have been confiscated at airports in southeastern Carolina, and they range anywhere from aerosol cans to weapons.

Of course, most items can be left in your car, placed in checked luggage or mailed. But what happens when something illegal goes through the checkpoint?

It’s a very costly mistake if you bring a firearm to the airport, costing someone up to $15,000 along with whatever charges law enforcement plans to tack on.

“We always will give everybody the option to get rid of an item unless it is illegal. Then we’re going to get law enforcement involved. But, you’re always able to go take it back to your car if you parked at the airport or you can take it back and check it with your airline,” said Mark Howell, TSA regional spokesperson.

A common issue at ILM stems from kids’ bags, something you need to keep in mind when you’re getting ready to fly.

“If you’re traveling with kids over the holiday travel weekend, sometimes kids will have these and they’ll place them in their carry-on bags, then come through and the parents sometimes don’t even know. Make sure that you’re not checking just checking your bag, but you’re checking your kid’s bags as well if they’re traveling with you,” said Howell.

Other common finds are pepper sprays and self-defense weapons.

Especially with UNCW nearby and many college students traveling, they tend to forget about their pepper spray or the other self-defense tools they carry.

Despite challenges at other airports, the airport director here says they are fully staffed. However, travelers should remember that although it’s a smaller airport to navigate, it’s important to be early.

“We’re fully staffed up and we’re ready for everybody. We’re still a very easy airport to get in and out of and onto your flight. But, if you’re coming this weekend, over the holiday weekend, know to come a little bit early. We’re still a great airport to travel from and easily,” said Jeff Bourk, ILM airport director.

When you get to the airport, you will notice some security changes. TSA recently underwent a renovation that added three new TSA check lanes and new technology to make the process quicker. But again, TSA says to not only double check your bags, but your children’s as well.

Deciding what to pack and when to arrive at the airport is a common question for many travelers, and officials here at ILM Airport say it’s more important now than ever before.

If you’re asking yourself what you can and cannot bring on a plane, here is a link to the TSA’s checklist.