TSA says travelers should never put pets through X-ray unit

Picture shows passenger walking through metal detector with their pet (Photo Courtesy, Transportation Security Administration)

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says the number one rule when traveling with pets is to never place them in an X-ray unit.  "Please carry your pet through the TSA checkpoint metal detector," TSA Spokesperson Lisa Farbstein tweeted Tuesday.

The TSA says travelers should remove their pets from their carriers, send the carrier into the X-ray machine, and take them through the metal detector. The X-ray tunnel is used to screen passengers' personal property and carry-on luggage only. 

There have been several examples of TSA officers finding pets inside passenger luggage like a live cat that was found inside a bag at JFK Airport, and a dog that was accidentally sent through an x-ray machine in Wisconsin.   

Dog accidentally sent through airport x-ray machine (on the left) and a live cat found inside checked bag at JFK Airport (on the right). (Transportation Security Administration)

Passengers who have nervous or anxious pets can opt to have a TSA officer screen them in a private room. Passengers should also be aware of designated pet relief areas throughout airport terminals to help console their furry friends.

 When traveling with service animals and pets contact your airline directly for policy details that may vary by airline and time of year.