Sooner or later, people will just refuse to fly because it's not worth the hassle to put up with people with 8th grade educations and a little power!!!! Weapons in luggage will now bring hefty fines By Laura Parker, USA TODAY WASHINGTON When Mojdeh Rohani flew home to Boston after her wedding last fall, security screeners at Baltimore-Washington International Airport found a silver-plated cake serving set in her carry-on bag. She had forgotten that she had the utensils, which were a wedding gift. Officials allowed her to check the bag and take a later flight. She didn't think of the incident again until she got a notice from the Transportation Security Agency, fining her $150 for her oversight. "I wasn't told I could get fined for this," Rohani says. "There was no sign at the airport. I think $150 is a lot of money for something that wasn't intentional." A year ago, the TSA quietly began assessing fines against airline passengers who violate security policies. But it wasn't until this week that it issued guidelines that specify which of the thousands of passengers who turn up every day with knives, box cutters and other banned items will be fined. "Attitude" is listed among the "aggravating factors" that can result in a fine. Other criteria include the type of item, evidence of a passenger's intent and history of previous violations. Civil penalties now range from $250 to $10,000. Passengers attempting to carry firearms on board, loaded or unloaded, face the highest civil penalties as well as possible criminal prosecution. Since February 2002, the TSA has seized more than 1,650 guns from airline passengers. TSA spokesman Mark Hatfield said Thursday that he was unable to disclose the number of passengers who have been fined so far because the agency's legal department computers are temporarily inaccessible. The new guidelines were posted Wednesday on the agency's Web site. At least 800 people had been fined through last October, according to a California lawyer who spoke with TSA's chief counsel on behalf of Susan Brown Campbell, a Los Angeles attorney who was fined $150 for having a steak knife in her briefcase. Campbell, who like Rohani was stopped at BWI, says she forgot she had the knife, which she used to cut apples and cheese. Each day, the TSA intercepts more than 15,000 prohibited items at airports across the USA. Since February 2002, TSA has confiscated more than 3 million knives and more than 57,000 incendiary devices such as fireworks, TSA Assistant Administrator Tom Blank told Congress last week. U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the House aviation subcommittee, which oversees the TSA, questioned how the guidelines could be uniformly applied. "Where do they draw the line if they are confiscating that many items every day," he says. "Judging attitude is extraordinarily subjective. ... Unless they felt it was intentional, then the person should be given a warning." DeFazio says he has arrived at airport checkpoints carrying his mustache scissors and has been allowed to mail them to himself. "The TSA could be in trouble for not equally applying the law," he says. "They didn't fine me for my mustache scissors, but they did fine someone else for a cake knife." Campbell initially wanted to contest the fine in a hearing before an administrative judge. "I got a call back from an attorney at TSA. He went on to be very, very intimidating, asking if I knew ... that the penalty could be up to $10,000," Campbell says. She asked for a hearing in Los Angeles; when it was scheduled for Baltimore she chose not to pursue it. But she hasn't paid the fine, and last week she got another notice from the TSA: The fine had been increased to $300.