15 Crazy Inappropriate Things TSA Agents Actually Get Away With

TSA Week in Review: December 2 – 15

15 Crazy Inappropriate Things TSA Agents Actually Get Away With

Happy holidays! As we near the end of the year everyone is busy shopping for gifts, choosing which cookie recipes Santa will and preparing for holiday trips! And if you’re flying on Christmas Eve, be sure to keep an eye out for Rudolph and follow these holiday travel tips!

Wait to wrap your presents! First show off your generous gifts to our officers and pack wrapping paper and scissors less than four inches, then you can go ahead and wrap them while on the plane. Involve your neighbor, I’m sure they will be thrilled to spread some holiday cheer with you!

And remember, if you need to settle any family debates this holiday season, we’re available on and to answer even your most outlandish travel questions!

Between December 2 – 15, TSA screened 31.4 million passengers and found 180 firearms in carry-on bags. Of the 180 firearms discovered, 162 were loaded and 67 had a round chambered.

Don’t pack your firearm in your carry-on bag. Bringing a firearm to the security checkpoint may lead to a civil penalty of up to $13,333 or an arrest. And if you’re a TSA Pre✓® member, you could lose your status. Check out our transporting firearms and ammunition page to learn how to pack it properly.

See all firearm discoveries from December 2 to 15 in this chart.

A boot scootin’ boogie Appleton International Airport attempted to conceal a knife in their boot on December 8.

After X-ray screening and knocking da’ boots around, TSA officers discovered the knife and determined the boots were actually made for walking and escorted the passenger the checkpoint.

Attempting to conceal prohibited items can certainly get you the boot and a civil penalty that can cost you about as much as a pair of John Wayne’s boots.

This empty grenade was discovered by TSA officers at Tucson International Airport on December 8. A TSA officer called for a supervisor and an explosives specialist who was able to quickly clear the item causing minimal delays. The passenger stated the empty grenade was a gift for his son before he voluntarily abandoned the item. Well, it’s the thought that counts!

And you should also think about checking out our What Can I Bring? tool to see if an item is allowed. Can’t find the answer? Reach out to us on or !

This flashlight is powered by the owner’s fear of the dark. While these items may be legal in some places they can be against the law in other states or counties. We strongly recommend checking local laws before packing these types of items.

If you must travel with self-defense items, please check with your airline and always place them in your checked bags.

TSA officers at Nashville International Airport discovered this tactical flashlight-knife self-defense weapon in a carry-on bag on December 12.

Pro tip: Carrying concealed weapons whether they are manufactured or made by you, can increase civil penalty amounts.

This knife/firearm is threatening in more ways than one… or three? We promise NOT to do what the knife threatens if you forget this in your carry-on bag.

However, after you see the civil penalty amount you may feel doing that to yourself for not checking your carry-on bag before heading to the airport.

Richmond International TSA officers discovered this replica firearm during X-ray screening on December 10.

Our mission at TSA is to make sure you get to your destination safely by keeping dangerous items off planes. The most common explanation we hear from travelers for prohibited items is, “I forgot it was in my bag.” Don’t be that person. Save yourself some money and embarrassment by thoroughly checking your bags for prohibited items before heading to the airport.

Be prepared! For a list of prohibited items, be sure to use the What Can I Bring? tool. If you have questions about the security process, reach out to AskTSA on or . Our AskTSA team will happily answer even the most outlandish travel-related questions.

Want to know how many firearms we detected last year? Check out our 2018 blog post.

Also, don’t forget to check out our top 10 most unusual finds video for 2018.

Want to learn more or see the other wacky finds? Follow us @TSA on and Instagram and us on .

Jay Wagner

Source: https://www.tsa.gov/blog/2019/12/19/tsa-week-review-december-2-15

The 15 Most Shocking Things Airport Security Has Found Might Weird You Out

15 Crazy Inappropriate Things TSA Agents Actually Get Away With

Working as a Transport Security Administration agent can get tedious. Most of the job involves repeating the same instructions over and over, answering disgruntled passengers’ airport security questions, and occasionally patting down strangers. But once in awhile, things get interesting.

Check out these ofeat, disturbing, and just downright weird things TSA agents have confiscated at security. And we saved the best for last (page 15).

1. A bag of eels

TSA found a bag of eels in a checked bag. | TSA via Instagram

The TSA confiscated this terrifying bag of eels, along with 163 tropical fish and 22 invertebrates. A passenger thought he could get away with smuggling them through airport security in a checked bag. No such luck, sir. The passenger then surrendered them to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Next: The following shade of lipstick flatters no one.

2. This lipstick stun gun

A lipstick stun gun | TSA via Instagram

Now that’s one way to protect yourself on a bad date. A passenger tried to smuggle this bedazzled, 3-million-volt lipstick stun gun in a carry-on bag at the San Diego International Airport. The TSA does not allow stun guns in carry-on luggage, and some states also don’t allow them, period. Check your stun guns under the plane, and check local laws before you go.

Next: This next weapon can’t go under the plane, either.

3. An inert mortar round

As the TSA Instagram account hilariously put it, “Some travelers are extremely cautious about what they pack, while others lob inert mortar rounds into their bags.” Agents discovered this one in a checked bag at the Evansville Regional Airport airport security line. This probably goes without saying, but leave the mortars at home when you travel.

Next: The following passenger couldn’t decide which weapon to bring, so he packed a combo.

4. This bizarre knife-gun

This skull-decorated knife gun (yes, that’s apparently a thing) showed up at the Denver International Airport in a passenger’s carry-on bag. You can bring guns and knives onto a plane, but only in checked baggage. Even toys — Nerf guns and plastic swords — also can’t come into the cabin, so no funny business.

Next: You also can’t bring this next thing onto the plane.

5. Whatever this is

A paint roller with sandpaper and nails | TSA via Instagram

As the TSA Instagram put it, “This looks something a Mad Max movie. It’s as if Mad Max wanted to paint the Thunderdome with the blood of his enemies.” In fact, someone made this scary-looking item by wrapping a paint roller in sandpaper, then sticking nails all over it. It also popped up in a passenger’s carry-on at Chicago O’Hare in 2017. Just don’t try this, folks.

Next: The following combination also won’t get through airport security.

6. This ‘face tenderizer’

Face tenderizer | TSA via Instagram

The TSA called this brass knuckles and meat tenderizer combination a “face tenderizer” and we have to agree. It looks scary, and also doesn’t seem the kind of thing airport security would allow. And it isn’t. Brass knuckles of any kind have to travel under the plane.

Next: If the TSA also can’t figure out your cargo, watch out.

7. These inert explosives

A passenger checked these inert prototype projectiles (used for energetic drilling) in a checked bag at Spokane, according to TSA agents. If the TSA can’t figure out what you’ve packed  through airport security, they may have to evacuate the terminal and call in the bomb squad. Save yourself and your fellow travelers the trouble, and leave shady stuff these at home.

Next: The following items really should never get on a plane.

8. Gunpowder and a fuse

Gunpowder with a fuse | TSA via Instagram

We can’t believe we have to say this either, but don’t pack gunpowder in your carry-on. Anyone would probably have a hard time rationalizing explosives on a plane, and so did TSA agents. Yes, you can pack safety razors as well as nail-clippers. But leave your bombs at home.

Next: Watch out for this sneaky loophole, too.

9. Not all corkscrews are created equal

If you have a trip to wine country planned, you probably also want to bring a corkscrew. And you can, sort of. The kind without a little blade to cut the cork wrapper can come in your carry-on, on the left in this photo. But the more common variety, which has a teeny little knife, cannot. Even though you would have a hard time doing any damage with a blade this small, rules are rules.

Next: Even this following item cannot come on the plane.

10. No gun-shaped mugs, either

Gun-shaped mug | TSA via Instagram

We know, this gun-shaped mug doesn’t actually shoot, but no replicas or models of weapons can come on the plane, either. You can pack things this in your checked luggage, however. Not even toy weapons can come through airport security, so that also means no sword-fights in the aisles.

Next: The following items can never fly, period.

11. No fireworks on the plane

Even around Independence Day, you can’t bring your fireworks, firecrackers, sparklers, or any other festive explosives onto an airplane. Not even in checked luggage. These volatile items can go off without much provocation, and you wouldn’t want a fireworks display under the cargo hold while in the air.

Next: This piece of “art” also can’t come with you through the airport security line.

12. This grenade art

Grenade artwork | TSA via Instagram

Even art and sculptures made with inert weapons cannot come on the airplane with you. The TSA prohibits grenades, missiles, or other explosives, even in the cargo hold. So if you decide to purchase art using these items while traveling, you should also have it shipped home.

Next: We have to wonder about the following passenger’s thought process.

13. No swords allowed

Even the coolest-looking swords have to travel in the cargo hold, this one found at the San Francisco airport. It might seem obvious, but if fake swords have to stay your checked luggage, so do real ones. That applies to cane swords as well as the straight-up ninja kind. Sorry, Rafael.

Next: The TSA got real punny with the following airport security find.

14. If you saw this, keep it your luggage

Saw | TSA via Instagram

You’ve probably heard the slogan, “If you see something, say something.” But as the TSA explained on Instagram, “But don’t saw something. If you saw something you see at the airport, there’s a good chance you won’t make your flight. We know it’s a cutting edge tool, but it’ll have to go in your checked bag if you need to fly with it.”

Don’t you love a good pun? TSA agents found this saw in a carry-on during airport security screening at the Atlantic City International Airport.

Next: This guy tried to bring a whole assortment of the following prohibited items.

15. None of this stuff can fly with you

TSA prohibits these items. | TSA via Instagram

Really, dude? The TSA caught a passenger trying to bring several blades, some bullets, brass knuckles, and what looks a clip through airport security at the Dulles International Airport. While some of the TSA rules can also sound kind of confusing, this one seems pretty clear. No weapons on the airplane, folks. Ever.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on !

Source: https://www.cheatsheet.com/culture/the-most-shocking-things-airport-security-has-found-might-weird-you-out.html/

Exclusive: TSA’s Secret Behavior Checklist to Spot Terrorists

15 Crazy Inappropriate Things TSA Agents Actually Get Away With

Fidgeting, whistling, sweaty palms. Add one point each. Arrogance, a cold penetrating stare, and rigid posture, two points.

These are just a few of the suspicious signs that the Transportation Security Administration directs its officers to look out for — and score — in airport travelers, according to a confidential TSA document obtained exclusively by The Intercept.

The checklist is part of TSA’s controversial program to identify potential terrorists behaviors that it thinks indicate stress or deception — known as the Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT. The program employs specially trained officers, known as Behavior Detection Officers, to watch and interact with passengers going through screening.

The document listing the criteria, known as the “Spot Referral Report,” is not classified, but it has been closely held by TSA and has not been previously released. A copy was provided to The Intercept by a source concerned about the quality of the program.

The checklist ranges from the mind-numbingly obvious, “appears to be in disguise,” which is worth three points, to the downright dubious, a bobbing Adam’s apple. Many indicators, “trembling” and “arriving late for flight,” appear to confirm allegations that the program picks out signs and emotions that are common to many people who fly.

A TSA spokesperson declined to comment on the criteria obtained by The Intercept. “Behavior detection, which is just one element of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) efforts to mitigate threats against the traveling public, is vital to TSA’s layered approach to deter, detect and disrupt individuals who pose a threat to aviation,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Since its introduction in 2007, the SPOT program has attracted controversy for the lack of science supporting it.

In 2013, the Government Accountability Office found that there was no evidence to back up the idea that “behavioral indicators … can be used to identify persons who may pose a risk to aviation security.

” After analyzing hundreds of scientific studies, the GAO concluded that “the human ability to accurately identify deceptive behavior behavioral indicators is the same as or slightly better than chance.”

The inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security found in 2013 that TSA had failed to evaluate SPOT, and “cannot ensure that passengers at United States airports are screened objectively, show that the program is cost-effective, or reasonably justify the program’s expansion.”

Despite those concerns, TSA has trained and deployed thousands of Behavior Detection Officers, and the program has cost more than $900 million since it began in 2007, according to the GAO.

The 92-point checklist listed in the “Spot Referral Report” is divided into various categories with a point score for each.

 Those categories include a preliminary “observation and behavior analysis,” and then those passengers pulled over for additional inspection are scored two more categories: whether they have “unusual items,” almanacs and “numerous prepaid calling cards or cell phones,” and a final category for “signs of deception,” which include “covers mouth with hand when speaking” and “fast eye blink rate.

Points can also be deducted from someone’s score observations about the traveler that make him or her less ly, in TSA’s eyes, to be a terrorist. For example, “apparent” married couples, if both people are over 55, have two points deducted off their score. Women over the age of 55 have one pointed deducted; for men, the point deduction doesn’t come until they reach 65.

Last week, the ACLU sued TSA to obtain records related to its behavior detection programs, alleging that they lead to racial profiling.

The lawsuit is a Freedom of Information Act request the ACLU filed last November asking for numerous documents related to the program, including the scientific justification for the program, changes to the list of behavior indicators, materials used to train officers and screen passengers, and what happens to the information collected on travelers.

“The TSA has insisted on keeping documents about SPOT secret, but the agency can’t hide the fact that there’s no evidence the program works,” said Hugh Handeyside, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

Being on the lookout for suspicious behavior is a “common sense approach” that is used by law enforcement, according to TSA.

“No single behavior alone will cause a traveler to be referred to additional screening or will result in a call to a law enforcement officer (LEO),” the agency said in its emailed statement.

 “Officers are trained and audited to ensure referrals for additional screening are ly on observable behaviors and not race or ethnicity.”

One former Behavior Detection Officer manager, who asked not to be identified, said that SPOT indicators are used by law enforcement to justify pulling aside anyone officers find suspicious, rather than acting as an actual checklist for specific indicators. “The SPOT sheet was designed in such a way that virtually every passenger will exhibit multiple ‘behaviors’ that can be assigned a SPOT sheet value,” the former manager said.

The signs of deception and fear “are ridiculous,” the source continued. “These are just ‘catch all’ behaviors to justify BDO interaction with a passenger. A license to harass.”

The observations of a TSA screener or a Behavior Detection Officer shouldn’t be the basis for referring someone to law enforcement. “The program is flawed and unnecessarily delays and harasses travelers. Taxpayer dollars would be better spent funding real police at TSA checkpoints,” the former manager said.

A second former Behavior Detection Officer manager, who also asked not to be identified, told The Intercept that the program suffers from lack of science and simple inconsistency, with every airport training its officers differently. “The SPOT program is bullshit,” the manager told The Intercept. “Complete bullshit.”

Source: https://theintercept.com/2015/03/27/revealed-tsas-closely-held-behavior-checklist-spot-terrorists/?comments=1

10 Weirdest Things Confiscated By TSA Agents

15 Crazy Inappropriate Things TSA Agents Actually Get Away With

TSA personnel don't have the easiest jobs. With travelers rushing to get through security checks because they slept in late or irritable because they didn't get enough sleep, dealing with unhappy fliers is just part of the job.

Their stressful jobs are to make sure that no one gets through a TSA security check with items that could be used to injure someone, even themselves. While some airline passengers simply forget about a bottle of water or pair of nail clippers, others clearly weren't thinking when they tried to get through with some of these weird items.

And some were just hoping they could fool the TSA officials and get through with items they shouldn't.

10 A Very Large Wooden Mallet

Vermont, where most towns are far removed from the hustle and bustle of large cities, can sometimes still feel a time warp. That's what TSA agents probably felt when a passenger came through the security check with a very large wooden mallet.

Happening just months after the second Thor movie, Thor: The Dark World, was released in theaters in the US at the end of 2013, TSA agents most ly thought this was some sort of prank.

However, at the Burlington, Vermont airport, you never know what kind of “heavy equipment” may come through, especially with agriculture such a large part of their economy.

9 A Unique Gas Mask

From steampunk to futuristic and apocalyptic artwork, we live in an age of self-expression and reflection. However, just because we have a right to express ourselves artistically doesn't mean that our artwork will make it through a TSA security check. If you'd to bring a functioning gas mask on a plane, you will most ly be allowed to.

A gas mask that has been adorned with bullets won't. Even though the ammunition that was used to create this very unique gasmask is not real and never was, anything resembling a weapon isn't allowed. You can add it to your checked baggage but you will most ly have your baggage checked by TSA after it's been scanned.

8 Endangered Seahorses In A Bottle Of Alcohol

Bringing a bottle of alcohol through a TSA security check isn't a good idea. It's not allowed and will be confiscated immediately.

Passengers trying to bring alcoholic beverages past security happens more often than you'd think, but one TSA agent got a bigger surprise when they found endangered seahorses floating inside a passenger's bottle of beverage.

Not only was the bottle confiscated, but an official with the Michigan Fish and Wildlife Department was called to inspect the item and the passenger was later arrested.

7 A Knife Inside An Enchilada

Sometimes passengers simply forget they have a pocket knife on them because they always carry one.

Other times, they are simply trying to get an item through a TSA security check just to say they were able to do it (we don't recommend this).

Other times, a passenger simply wants to enjoy her enchiladas while she's on her flight and didn't think through the idea of bringing a knife along in her carryon luggage.

TSA agents interviewed the woman and when it was found to be an honest mistake, the knife was taken and she was allowed to continue through security with a plastic knife instead.

6 Live Eels Inside A Bag

In 2012, a passenger destined to leave the Miami International Airport was found to have a bag containing live eels. These eels were found after their checked baggage was scanned and then inspected by a TSA agent.

However, the bag of eels weren't the only Florida-native aquatic creatures to be found. The suitcase was filled with over 160 tropical fish and even live coral all bagged securely in seawater.

The passenger was destined for Venezuela where they would most ly be sold for a pretty penny.

5 A Hand Grenade Sculpture

Once again, artwork is subjective and is usually a great way to express yourself. However, if that metal sculpture includes what looks a live grenade, you aren't going to get it through a TSA security check.

Even though the grenade was inert, meaning it could never be used as a weapon again, even items that appear to be weapons will be denied access as a carry-on. This sculpture is surely unique and was able to make it to its final destination in the passenger's checked luggage.

4 Live Exotic Birds Inside Socks

Trying to get live aquatic animals through a checked bag security check is crazy enough, but this passenger taped two exotic and endagered birds inside socks so they couldn't move or make any noise.

It was her clothing that tipped TSA agents off, as it was bulky and bulging.

When they removed her from the line for a “pat down” they discovered the extra passengers and immediately called a local US Fish & Wildlife agent to take possession of the birds as well as the passenger. Luckily, the birds survived this stressful event.

3 A Homemade Avalanche Charge

Alaska is a territory all its own, literally. Located hundreds of miles from the closest point of the continental US, there's no other place quite it in the country. This has led to TSA agents confiscated many weird items over the years, but the weirdest has to be a homemade avalanche charge.

These charges are essentially bombs designed to cause an avalanche in a controlled way so that it doesn't happen at random when people can get hurt.

Because it can be used as a weapon and is technically a bomb, the passenger was interviewed and then allowed to continue on his travels without the homemade charge.

Because there was no way to set the charge off, no one was ever in any danger.

2 Live Python Inside A Computer Hard Drive

Live animals come through TSA security checkpoints quite often. Most of the time, they are service animals or small cats and dogs that are already inside TSA-approved travel carriers or crates.

Every once in a while, a traveler will attempt to come through will animals that aren't allowed on the plane or aren't allowed to be in their possession, such as the exotic birds and fish we already mentioned.

One passenger, however, decided he would try to hide his snakes inside his computer hard drive, thinking that the complexity of the hard drive and how it appears on the TSA scanners would hide them. He had no such luck and the snakes were confiscated and handed over to the proper authorities.

1 A Dinosaur-Shaped Grenade

Most people expect a grenade to look a grenade, but in this day and age, you can't always assume that.

A watchful TSA agent noticed that a dinosaur-shaped item didn't look just any dinosaur-shaped item and the traveler and their baggage was moved to the side for closer examination.

 In fact, the item looked more a grenade than a dinosaur which means it was confiscated as nothing that looks a grenade can be brought through as a carry-on, even if it's a toy.

NEXT: 14 Strange Things Confiscated At The Border In The US (10 In Canada)

Next10 Photos Taken By Passengers Who Were Disappointed With Their Cruise Vacation About The Author More About Krysha

Source: https://www.thetravel.com/tsa-agent-confiscate-things-weird/

We Asked Our Readers What Was the Craziest Thing They Ever Witnessed in Airport

15 Crazy Inappropriate Things TSA Agents Actually Get Away With

To be fair, it’s the one place on earth that can make *anyone* crazy.

We hear it over and over again: “I love traveling, I just hate process of getting there.

” Even the idea of airports is enough to raise the average person’s blood pressure: the bureaucracy and lines; the corralling and sequestering humans as though we’re highly dangerous livestock; the forced patronage of mediocre, overpriced watering holes; the obvious displays of classism; all topped off with the mind-blowing realization that literally soaring through the sky is made underwhelming by shoddy accommodations and subpar products. Toss in delays and cancellations into tightly-timed schedules and overpriced expenses and people are going to act out in mysterious ways. So we asked our readers, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at the airport?

The Grossly Unhygienic

No public space is appropriate for grooming. This genre of activity is reserved for private or accordingly-cordoned spaces, such as your home bathroom, barbershops, and cosmetic beauty salons. The airport is a place where people are forced to eat, drink, and temporarily lodge.

Some of the craziest, most disgusting things our readers have seen include inappropriate feet maintenance: a man clipping his toenails (a grievance so unfathomably horrifying it could only be made worse by the fact that said clippings hit other passengers in the space) and a woman grating callouses off her feet (why is anyone ever doing anything to their feet in proximity to others?). In a weird combination of disgusting and unseemly, one reader witnessed a grown man boarding a 7 am flight in his bathrobe and slippers. While the appropriateness of pajamas on flights is a hotly-contested debate, the requirement for soled shoes is absolute. And no one wants to see your grubby robe, dude.

Weird Pet Stuff

People bring their pets places, and as long as proper procedures and precautions are carried out, it should—emphasis on should—turn out fairly drama-free. But, sometimes, watching other humans interact with their animals in foreign spaces can really make you question their relationship.

For instance, our readers witnessed everything from a woman singing a lullaby to her cat (actually weirdly sweet) to a passenger allowing her dog to poop on the terminal floor (no…that’s not okay).

Readers noted again and again that despite the variety of pets (emotional support guinea pigs?), pets in carriers going through security were universally perplexed by the measure.

The Cases for Security

Cumbersome as TSA procedure is, the things that people try to bring on planes really should be checked by an independent party. Weapons aside, there are things that passengers really just don’t need on their person.

One flyer witnessed a woman who apparently had just hit the grocery store and tried to bring on a bag full of raw clams, a raw rib roast, cheese, noodles, a baguette, and some spices onboard.

Besides the obvious concern of temperature regulation and food safety standards, what about the smell of slowly thawing meat, seafood, and cheese in an enclosed space?

The justifications for bringing such provisions is often worthy of notation in itself, the flyer who tried to convince the TSA agent that a cooler full of soda was her “medicine.” While copious foodstuffs are always a strange sight to behold, one reader mentioned the horror in seeing a small cooler with a medical transplant sticker that said “caution human eyes.”


Airports can traumatize flyers of all ages in a variety of wild ways, and of course, terrible people without manners aren’t exactly barred access from cross-country travel.

One reader witnessed an octogenarian getting the cops called on her for cursing out the gate agent, while another witnessed a father who’d simply flung his crying child over his shoulder in attempt to ease the cross-terminal commute.

One flyer was even pushed over by a very hurried, fully-robed monk.

And while it’s never fun to observe tantrums or impoliteness, there’s nothing more despicable than witnessing frustration and entitlement boil over into violence, the time one reader watched a passenger slap a check-in agent over the notice that the flight was delayed for a third time.

The Downright Whacky

And then there is the wild combination of sleep-deprivation, impatience, boredom, and exasperation that hits certain flyers in absurd, inexplicable ways.

Multiple readers witnessed naked commuters; one notable nudist splashed around in a fountain proclaiming to be Jesus Christ, while another fled from the police. In the security line, one reader spotted a self-proclaimed shaman blessing the x-ray machine with sage.

Meanwhile, in the customs line, a traveler pulled a boom box his luggage and began singing and dancing for the queue.

Oh, and last but not least, one of our readers claims they saw a traveler dragging his washer and dryer through the ticketing line.

Source: https://www.fodors.com/news/news/we-asked-our-readers-what-was-the-craziest-thing-they-ever-witnessed-in-airport