Flying this holiday season? Keep it merry and bright by knowing how to ensure your gifts and belongings stay safe during the airport security screening.
A Team 10 investigation uncovered thousands of dollars paid out to passengers for damaged or lost property at the San Diego International Airport by the Transportation Security Administration.
Team 10 reviewed claims data from 2010 to 2014 for items lost or damaged during the security screening process.
The numbers show TSA approved or settled $47,848 worth of claims from passengers at San Diego International Airport.
Passengers made claims on everything from computers to cameras, jewelry, medical equipment and clothing.
Just north at John Wayne they also paid out a little more than $32,000 during those same years.
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"Once you've seen it happen you know it's a possibility it could happen to you,” said passenger Sean Brown.
The TSA takes damage and loss claims very seriously, investigating each one.
They use all documentation and video footage from the screening areas to determine whether or not the piece of baggage was opened by the screener and if so, what happened.
Their numbers show some claims don’t pan out. Only 39.4 percent of claims made at the San Diego airport between 2010-2014 were fully approved or settled.
The rest were denied or still pending during the years Team 10 examined.
The TSA says the majority of passengers do not experience any issues with their baggage, and very few incidents are caused by employee misconduct.
They have a zero tolerance policy and any employee caught stealing will no longer have a job.
“I suppose it happens but I’ve been very fortunate,” said Bernice Howard.
Passenger advocates tell 10News you have rights when you fly.
If you have pricey items, they warn to keep them with you at all times. Try not to check anything valuable.
You want those gifts, decorations, and more to be there safe and sound, not lost or broken.
"Try to keep as many on me as possible because if you lose those it's not going to be a good day for you,” said Brown.
Not everything lost is always gone.
TSA along with the airlines/airports all have lost and founds. It’s recommended you check with them as well.
If you need to file a claim TSA offers these tips:
Provide as much detail as possible including receipts, appraisals and flight information to avoid delays.
Contact your airline for lost or missing baggage.
Contact TSA for additional information about filing a claim.
You can also visit their claims page.