'It's a big process': Thousands of bags get checked at PDX, 20 p - KPTV - FOX 12

'It's a big process': Thousands of bags get checked at PDX, 20 percent of those bags are flagged by TSA

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

FOX 12 is giving a behind the scenes look at how TSA works to keep all the millions of passengers expected to come through Portland International this summer safe, take baggage claim for example. 

Before checked baggage can ever make its way onto a plane, it must first go through its own screening. 

"I think most folks don't understand the multiple steps that happen from when they give their bag to the airline and then it actually makes its way on to a plane and our officers play a very big role in deciding and making sure that safe items are getting on an aircraft," Kristen Best, TSA's Assistant Federal Security Director for Screening at Portland International Airport said. 

Best said 15,000 to 22,000 bags get checked at PDX every day. About 20 percent of those checked bags are usually flagged by the TSA's large multi-million-dollar system. 

"Those machines are similar to a cat scan." 

The cat scan-like machines use scanners to look for any threats inside of luggage. 

Any bags in question then end up in another room passengers don't see, that's full of TSA agents. 

"It's downstairs, it's out of site," Best said. "Nobody really sees those officers, but again they're a very important part of our workforce."

If needed, agents will search the bags for not only dangerous threats someone might think of, but also any luggage with laptops, books, or even food and wine. 

"We are in food and wine country so we will look at those items and take special care of your food and wine when we are looking at it," Best said. 

People FOX 12 spoke with at PDX were surprised to see the trip their bag takes when checked. 

"It's a big process," traveler Merle Kane said. 

A big process that's in place to keep travelers safe. 

If someone does have a bag checked, TSA will leave a note saying they looked at it. They can then be contacted with any concerns. 

Anything valuable, like electronics, TSA recommends carrying it on the airplane if possible. 

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