Got Firecrackers? Forget About Flying!

Air travelers will be subject to random bag searches for fireworks over the Independence Day weekend.

That's according to a warning by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The random searches are a first for the FAA, which has previously issued annual warnings about carrying fireworks on planes. Lacking its own authority to perform the searches, the FAA is working with the U.S. Customs Service.

"Even the smallest sparklers could be deadly if they are ignited during flight and they are all strictly prohibited," warns Cathal Flynn, FAA's associate administrator for security.

Agents will search randomly selected bags at major airports nationwide, as well as selected air cargo. The FAA does not expect the spot searches to cause any significant flight delays.

FAA spokeswoman Rebecca Trexler says there have been a number of incidents involving fireworks over the past few years.

In one case, a passenger had "poppers", which make noise by igniting when thrown against another object, in checked baggage. Trexler says the poppers subsequently ignited during loading and started a fire in the bag, which fortunately was spotted and extinguished before the plane took off.

Domestic and international rules prohibit carrying fireworks in checked or carry-on baggage and violators can be hit with civil fines of up to $27,500 per violation and are also subject to criminal prosecution, which can carry up to $250,000 or more in fines and up to five years in prison.

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