That being said, this hasn’t stopped at least two separate travelers this summer, both at LAX airport in California, from trying to send their pets through the x-ray machine meant for baggage. One man, ticketed on a Jet Blue flight, did successfully have his cat passed through the scanner in non-pet carrier bag. Not only were other travelers in the security area duly horrified, but the TSA agents present were incensed. Luckily, the cat was unharmed. (See man's photo, and tweets from other passengers on NBC4's website.) The moral of the story seems to be, don’t send a pet through an x-ray machine unless at specific Austrian airports equipped with special scanners—and when in doubt, don’t make traveling with a pet more difficult than it already is!
“You will need to present the animal to the Security Officers at the checkpoint. You may walk your animal through the metal detector with you. If this is not possible, your animal will have to undergo a secondary screening, including a visual and physical inspection by our Security Officers. Your animal will NEVER be placed through an X-ray machine. However, you may be asked to remove your animal from its carrier so that the carrier can be placed on the X-Ray machine.” (source: https://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/traveling-pets)
- All pets should be brought to the security checkpoint in a hand-held travel carrier. Remove the pet from the carrier just prior to the beginning of the screening process.
- Do not put the pet into the x-ray tunnel, which is used to screen a passenger's personal property and carry-on luggage. Place the empty travel carrier on the belt to be x-rayed.
- The pet should be carried during the screening process; alternately, a pet can walk through the process if the owner has the pet on a leash.
- A TSA officer will give the pet owner’s hands an explosive trace detection swab to ensure there is no explosive residue on the hands.
- Once the screening process is completed, owners should return the pet to the travel carrier at the re-composure area, away from the security checkpoint for the safety of the pet as well as other passengers.