Passport? Check. Toothbrush? Check. Bat wrapped in barbed wire? Check.
This month the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) released a video of the 10 most unusual items it’s confiscated from passengers at security checkpoints this year, from a bullet-adorned gas mask to a “bladed dragon claw.”
“I just need these to open my bag of peanuts,” jokes TSA social media head Bob Burns about a five-bladed flogger.
Burns started the agency’s Instagram account in 2013, which now has 633,000 followers. Rolling Stone ranked the TSA’s Instagram account higher than that of Beyoncé and NASA on its list of the 100 best, calling the TSA’s finds “utterly fascinating, and — if we’re being honest — a little terrifying.”
TSA marks its checkpoint discoveries with the hashtag #TSAgoodcatch.
The TSA also crowdsources material. Not sure if your brass knuckles can fly? TSA encourages travelers to send via Twitter or Facebook Messenger photos of items and then will respond whether it can be brought on board in carryon luggage, whether it’s a potato (yes), a cow horn (yes), a movie prop of a rotting corpse (yes), a dog (check with the airline) or hatchets (seriously?).
The agency uses its Instagram account to inform passengers how to travel with weapons, a shocking variety of which can indeed fly, if they are in checked luggage.
Burns says some photos that come across his desk are not safe for work and he doesn’t post them, such as a face-harness sex toy and severed bear paws.
Here are some of the highlights of 2016:
Don’t try wearing this after holiday pie.
With a simple unsnap and pull, this mild mannered belt becomes BELT KNIFE! Clever idea, but a bad idea to wear it through the checkpoint or pack it in your carry-on bag. Concealed weapons can lead to fines and arrest. Please pack items such as this in your checked baggage. This was discovered in a carry-on bag at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW). #TSAGoodCatch
This could bring the battle for the armrest to a whole new level.
Headed to Hollywood?
It’s a replica, TSA says.
#TSATravelTips – Don’t pack your homemade replica suicide vest. The traveler who packed this vest in his checked bag at Richmond (RIC) stated it was a prop intended for use in a live-action role-playing game (LARP). TSA explosives experts raced to the checked baggage room and the airport police were called immediately. Fortunately, the explosives experts determined the vest posed no danger. It has yet to be determined if the officer who searched the bag needed a change of clothing.
Cute or dangerous?
#TSATravelTips – In addition to being a cute cat keychain, this is a punching weapon. Just as with brass knuckles, they’re prohibited from being packed or carried through the checkpoint. This one was discovered this week at the Norfolk International Airport (ORF). You can pack them in your checked baggage.
The blood may be fake
This replica of @AMCTheWalkingDead’s “Lucille” was discovered recently in a carry-on bag at Atlanta (ATL). The barbed wire is actually made from rubber and the blood is fake (we hope). However, baseball bats are prohibited from carry-on bags and must be packed in checked luggage. #TWD #Negan We’re just glad Lucille wasn’t thirsty.
#TSATravelTips – It’s a bad idea to pack anything in your carry-on bag that looks like a firearm and ammo as it will slow things down for you and the travelers in line behind you. These shoes and bullet wrist bands were discovered in a carry-on bag recently at the Baltimore–Washington International Airport (BWI). While replicas are prohibited in carry-on bags, these shoes could have been packed in checked baggage.
Not always good to have hobbies.
While some travelers are worried about packing nail clippers (they are allowed), others pack a pair of five-bladed floggers. You guessed it; these are not allowed in carry-on bags. If you’re in a situation where you’re going to need your floggers, they’ll have to be packed in checked baggage. These were discovered last week in a carry-on bag at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas (IAH). #TSATravelTips
Pizza can fly.
“We don’t know it’s inert…”
This inert 25mm round was discovered recently in a checked bag at Sonoma (STS). So what’s the big deal if it’s inert? First off, we don’t know it’s inert until explosives professionals take a closer look, and that takes time and slows down the line. It can even lead to a complete shutdown and evacuation. Anything resembling a bomb, mine, round or grenade is prohibited from both carry-on and checked bags. #TSAGoodCatch
Many pups can fly, but check with your airline.
Have you ever debated about whether or not you can pack your Pug, or any other type of item? Fret no more! Now you can simply snap a picture and tweet it to @AskTSA or send it via Facebook Messenger and our team will get back to you promptly with an answer. If you're a regular follower of this account, I'm sure you can think of many situations where it would have behooved somebody to send us a picture first. And that's not all. Contact us about any TSA related issue or question you might have. We can even help you with TSA Pre✓® issues. We look forward to answering your questions, 8am-10pm ET weekdays; 9am-7pm weekends/holidays. #AskTSA #TSATravelTips