Delta Airlines quietly implemented a new rule for passengers carrying weapons in checked baggage, airlines sources exclusively told NBC 6. Luggage with weapons inside will go through an extra secure process during pick up.
The new policy was installed weeks after a gunman opened fire inside the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, killing five people and injuring six others. Accused shooter Esteban Santiago, 26, got off a Delta flight when he allegedly went to the restroom to retrieve his weapon and ammunition from his checked luggage.
The airline will now have special tags to alert ground handlers to not put bags carrying weapons on the general carousel.
The baggage will go directly to a baggage service agent who is required to perform an ID check on the passenger who picks up the luggage, sources told NBC 6. The agent must then use zip ties to secure the bag.
A police officer will be at the location when the passenger picks up the baggage. Aviation consultant Scott Patterson said this will add another level of security.
“Now, there's a police presence there when there's a weapon that's checked and the police officer can monitor the weapon leave the building satisfactorily,” said Patterson.
NBC 6 reached out to Delta for comment on the new policy. The airline sent the following statement:
“Delta is committed to the safety of our customers and employees. Every day we look for ways to refine processes and procedures with the goal to improve safety and the overall travel experience.”
The federal government said Delta implemented the new policy on its own and the TSA rules have not changed. NBC 6 did not find any another airlines who have made similar changes.