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ALL'S NOT LOST AT THE AIRPORT CHECKPOINT

Airline passengers who forget to leave their favorite pocket knife or lighter at home before boarding at Buffalo Niagara International Airport will no longer have to surrender them forever.

They can fork over $8 to mail the items to themselves.

Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority officials are bringing in a private company to install a self-service kiosk, where items that won't get through airport security can be dropped off and mailed.

"We thought this was a nice service to offer customers," said C. Douglas Hartmayer, NFTA spokesman. "The alternatives are to give it up, or to get out of line and take it back to the car."

More than 6 million prohibited items -- like scissors and tools -- are confiscated each year at airport security checkpoints around the country, according to the federal Transportation Safety Administration. All lighters were added to the list last week.

Airport officials in Buffalo have been trying to find an alternative for passengers, and brought in a North Carolina-based company, CheckPoint Mailers, after inquiring with other U.S. airports, Hartmayer said.

Customers can put items in a clear plastic bag provided at the kiosk, fill out a form with the credit card billing information and shipping address, then drop it in the secured box.

The cost is $8 to ship to a domestic address, and $12 to ship internationally, said Heather Lowry, president of the two-year-old company. The NFTA will receive 10 percent of revenue CheckPoint collects at the Buffalo airport, Hartmayer said.

The kiosk will be placed near the airport checkpoint, probably sometime next week, Hartmayer said. The NFTA board of commissioners is officially expected to approve the contract with CheckPoint Mailers during its Monday meeting.

CheckPoint Mailers has locations in 20 other U.S. airports, and handles about 8,000 packages a month, said Lowry, who has a background in franchising and the airline industry.

"We see Swiss Army knives, Zippo lighters, a lot of scissors, a lot of tools. We get money clips with knives attached," Lowry said.

The company has delivered its share of odd airline contraband, too, like ninja stars and blender blades, she said.

"You can't imagine what we see on a daily basis," Lowry said.

Check out www.tsa.gov/public to find the Transportation Security Administration's prohibited items list.

e-mail: jrey@buffnews.com

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