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You Can Now Ship Items That Are Banned by the TSA at Some Airports

You Can Now Ship Items That Are Banned by the TSA at Some Airports
Scott Dylan

There’s good news if you’ve ever shed a tear over having to dump or leave behind an item that is banned by the TSA. A new service called Airport Mailers wants to give you a way to mail banned items home instead of leaving them behind. The service is designed to save the day in those moments when you realize that you’ve accidentally left a big bottle of cologne or a high-end pocketknife in your bag. The service isn’t free. However, spending money could help you to avoid losing money on throwing away pricey gifts or personal items that aren’t approved by the TSA.

What can you mail home using Airport Mailers? Any item you want to ship must be able to fit into a plastic pouch that is six inches by nine inches in size. The pouches are available at Airport Mailers kiosks located at select airports. You will need to complete a shipping form, pay a fee and drop your item inside an Airport Mailers box. How much does it cost to ship an item with Airport Mailers? Fees for shipments are between $8 and $9 per item if your item is being sent to a location within the United States. Sending a lighter will cost you $14 domestically and $32 internationally.

Airport Mailers currently has locations at about two dozen airports around the United States. The list of hubs with Airport Mailers kiosks includes Boston, Orlando and Las Vegas. Here’s the full list of airports where you can currently ship items using Airport Mailers:

  • Akron Canton Airport

  • Boston Logan International Airport

  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport

  • Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport

  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport

  • Columbus Regional Airport

  • Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

  • Dallas Love Field

  • Denver International Airport

  • El Paso International Airport

  • Indianapolis International Airport

  • Jacksonville International Airport

  • Kansas City International Airport

  • Las Vegas McCarran International Airport

  • Orlando International Airport

  • Pensacola Airport

  • Greater Rochester International Airport

  • Raleigh Durham International Airport

  • Reno Tahoe International Airport

  • San Francisco International Airport

  • San Jose International Airport

  • Will Rogers World Airport

You may notice that big hubs like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles are absent from the list. There are plans in place to expand to offer more kiosks in more cities. However, we don’t have any word yet on which cities will be added and when we can expect to see the new additions.

[Source: Flickr/DHS]

View Comments (12)


  1. kc1174

    March 13, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Was at CLT this morning and didn’t see anything. That said, it’s difficult to find anything there. Also, TSA are so bad you can likely just wander in with anything you like. Like I did with a bottle of Coke Zero I left in my bag this morning.

  2. TheBarron

    March 13, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Do you have to find the item, prior to going through the TSA screening or do they allow you to “back out” so you can mail the item?

  3. PapaJack

    March 13, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Interesting article, considering I have been using airport mailers for years, since 2002 at least. I had a habit of traveling with my beloved Swiss Army knife. After the third iteration of sending it home, I simply stopped bringing it and bought something local to help me with the task at hand. Costly habit at $8/pop.

  4. Barks

    March 13, 2019 at 8:40 am

    LEX (in Lexington Kentucky) provides a similar service, as long as their information desk is open.

  5. bassmomma

    March 13, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Your listing of airports using Airports Mailings is impressive; however, the largest airports in the U.S. have been left out. I would hope that Sky Harbor in Phoenix would be added to your list soon.

  6. Mike Rivers

    March 13, 2019 at 9:31 am

    I remember a service like this being available many years ago, early in the TSA days. I used it once when I forgot to take my knife out of my pocket before getting into the cab to the airport. It was pretty expensive back then, about $10 as I recall. Then once when I had some time to kill at the airport I looked around for the kiosk and it was gone.

    I thought it was a great idea – that knife had cost me about $25 and I had owned it for a long time, and still have it. It probably pays if you have a small bottle of expensive perfume and the provided bag was well padded, but not for a half -used 5 oz tube of toothpaste.

    Next time I forgot to leave my knife at home before going to the airport, I buried it in a planter out front and retrieved it when I returned a week later. It didn’t even look like anyone had watered the plant.

  7. altan

    March 13, 2019 at 11:43 am

    Was at PDX on Sunday, and I saw this mailer kiosk, but don’t know if it was the same company, since their list doesn’t seem updated. Definitely a good idea, although I wouldn’t mail anything that you can buy back for a similar cost, or has a sentimental value.

  8. Coloradokamp

    March 13, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Hello –
    The FT article doesn’t advise regarding the 4-6 week length of time to receive one’s item, and cites only the half the costs charged.
    – I used Airport Mailers at Denver in January. It took over a month to receive my item back from Aiport Mailers (as advised in the small print) and cost $18.95.
    Here is my – typical user – experience:
    – I was charged $18.95 to mail a 1oz(30gm) 2.25″ mini Victorinox Swiss Army knife. Airport Mailer fee + above average USPS postage cost
    – Item deposited on January 25th, received on February 28th
    – Worried after several weeks of not receiving my item, I called Airport Mailer. I was advised that Airport Mailer allows deposits to collect for several weeks in the bins located at TSA checkpoints; the deposits are then mailed to their facility in North Carolina, sorted, credit card charged and mailed to the depositor. Their process can take 4-6 weeks.
    – Users should be very aware that it takes 4-6 weeks to receive their item. Definitely NOT for items that are needed at destination / home in a short time period.

  9. GrayAnderson

    March 13, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    (1) This has been at Logan for at least two years.
    (2) Honestly, I’m surprised the USPS, FedEx, or UPS doesn’t have kiosks for this at the airport.

    (3) At least with drinks, the rule is that you can “back out” but you have to restart the line. So if the airport isn’t busy, that’s an option; if the wait is too long, however, it may not be a practical one.

  10. Coloradokamp

    March 13, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    Response to TheBarron – Yes, when the TSA located my contraband mini 1 oz. Swiss Army knife, I was escorted by a friendly and charming TSA agent from the secure side of the A Bridge TSA checkpoint at DIA to the Airport Mailer kiosk bin on the unsecure side. TSA Agent Q.T. Pie* monitored me while I filled out the form, desposited the provided padded envelope into the large metal bin (similar to a large metal library book return bin) and then escorted me back to the secure side. (The name has been changed to protect the unfriendly, definitely not charming TSA agent)

  11. drphun

    March 15, 2019 at 5:56 am

    So they still ban the mini swiss army knives? I though they accounced they had eased up on that.

  12. Long Zhiren

    March 15, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Pretty amazing that a system is not yet in place. I was in Hanoi, Vietnam back in 2003. When something wasn’t acceptable for carry-on, their checkers merely put it in a box and threw it in the check-in compartment. No fees. Nothing. On arrival in Hong Kong, they handed the little box back to me.

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