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More than 300 passengers tried to evade airport security in the last year, TSA says

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Washington — Hundreds of passengers circumvented or tried to circumvent various aspects of airport security to access secure areas of U.S. airports within the last year, according to the Transportation Security Administration. 

Since March 2023, there have been at least 300 instances of people trying to bypass parts of airport security, the agency said Friday. Only a small number actually made it onto a plane, although the TSA declined to disclose the exact number. The security lapse figures were first reported by The Washington Post

Of those roughly 300 incidents, about 200 were people trying to enter the secure area of the airport at the point where passengers exit. Another 80 bypassed the TSA podium where agents check IDs, but were screened and got their luggage through security. Of those 80, 85% were stopped and arrested by law enforcement for trespassing, according to the TSA.

A TSA spokesperson said most of the incidents were the result of "inadvertent and unintentional actions by the passenger." 

"In those rare instances where a passenger attempts to breach a portion of the security process, TSA immediately investigates and takes corrective action," the spokesperson said.

Last month, a 26-year-old man was arrested after he made it onto a Delta plane at the Salt Lake City Airport. He made it through security with a valid boarding pass on standby for a flight that was full. Security footage showed him taking photos of other passengers' boarding passes, one of which he apparently used to board another flight. He was removed from the plane before takeoff.

In February, a woman boarded an American Airlines flight from Nashville to Los Angeles without a boarding pass. At the time, the TSA confirmed the woman snuck past the ID checkpoint, although she did go through security. The woman was taken into custody. 

The TSA only considers it a "security breach" when someone completely evades security screening.

The agency said airports across the country are working on new technology and updates at their exits to ensure people can only go one way, steps that have already been implemented in new terminals at Washington's Reagan National Airport and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Kris Van Cleave contributed to this report.

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