Checked Baggage Screening

From the moment you drop off your luggage at the ticket counter to the time you claim it from the arrival carousel, your items will change hands many times as they travel to your destination. This is an example of what you might expect:

When you arrive at the Airline Counter and drop off your checked baggage, an airline employee will place your bag on a conveyor belt, delivering your items into the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) checked baggage screening system.
Your luggage will then travel through the nation’s most sophisticated and fully automated checked baggage system designed to examine checked baggage and clear it for safe air travel. The checked baggage screening system at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) allows all checked baggage to be screened and cleared automatically with minimal physical inspections needed by CAS personnel.


If your checked baggage requires physical inspection, it will be inspected in a fully supervised and video-monitored checked baggage inspection area.
  • If your checked baggage is locked with a lock that is not TSA-recognized, that lock (even if built-in) may have to be broken to gain baggage access. For more information on TSA-recognized locks, please visit the TSA website at www.tsa.gov.
  • Hazardous or prohibited materials will be reported to and removed by your air carrier for the safety of the traveling public. To see a full list of hazardous materials, please visit the FAA website at www.faa.gov. To see a full list of prohibited items, please visit the TSA website at www.tsa.gov.
  • CAS baggage screeners record each bag that has been inspected and then insert a Notice of Inspection (NOI), where you will find the badge number of the screener who conducted the inspection and a stamp indicating when and where the baggage search occurred.
Once inspection is passed (either automated or physical), your baggage continues through the conveyor system and returns to the control of your airline’s personnel.
Your luggage is then sorted by your airline and transferred to the correct holding area for your flight, where it awaits transport to your aircraft.
When your flight is prepared for departure, your luggage is then transported by the airline or the airline designees across the tarmac to the waiting aircraft cargo hold and stowed for transport.
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