As air travelers head to their July 4 destinations this week they should take a second look at what they’re keeping in their carry-on luggage.
The Transportation Safety Administration is tasked with screening more than 2 million passengers per day at hundreds of U.S. airports. Faced with constant challenges and ever-changing rules, keeping air travelers safe is no laughing matter.
Its Instagram page, on the other hand, most definitely is. The TSA uses the account, a verified page, to share pictures of items that were confiscated and to respond to travelers’ questions.
Here’s a look at some of the more interesting items and the TSA’s response, from A to Z:
A is for armed underarm deodorant
“This gives ‘protection’ a whole new meaning,” the TSA writes. “However, fines stink, and concealed items such as this knife in a deodorant container can lead to a fine and even an arrest. Don’t sweat it; just pack your knife in your checked bag. Also, stick deodorant (without a knife) is permitted in carry-on bags in any amount. It’s the liquid, gel and aerosol deodorant that must adhere to our liquid rules.”
B is for bear repellant
“While a bear on a plane could be a grizzly situation, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll need your bear attack deterrent in the cabin of your aircraft,” the TSA writes. “Please bear with me here …” The TSA says that repellant is only allowed in checked bags, but only a certain amount and with certain chemicals.
C is for canned Cincinnati chili covered in cheese
Cans of chili need to be checked. “Unfortunately, you can’t pack cans of chili in your carry-on bag,” the TSA writes, adding “if you’re traveling out of Cincinnati, you can find cans of chili in the gift shops by your gate.”
D is for dinosaurs
“Jurassic’n me what?” the TSA says. “Your dinosaur would have to be placed in the cargo hold because well, he’s a dinosaur . . .”
E is for eggnog
“Looks delicious,” the TSA wrote, “but eggnog must comply w/our liquids rule of 3.4oz or less in carry-on bags.”
F is for festively wrapped heroin
The drugs were discovered in a checked bag at Los Angeles International Airport after officials unwrapped a seemingly innocent-looking holiday gift, according to this Jan. 8, 2017, post. “This is an example of why our officers have to open gifts at times,” the TSA writes. “… We’re not looking for drugs, but in this case, it was nothing but drugs.”
G is for gas masks
These can be carried on, “however, if you decide to don it, you might want to ask your flight attendant how that’ll work out for you,” the TSA writes. “I imagine it would cause some concern.”
… and gold grills
These are OK, they just need to be removed when you go through the security checkpoint.
H is for hard-boiled eggs
I is for inert grenades stuffed in shoes
This is an actual picture from General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee. “Please don’t pack grenades,” the TSA writes.
J is for jars of bees
K is for knives made out of bananas
“Some might find this nanner knife appealing,” the TSA says. “I’m guessing you have a bunch of them? Yes, you can take bananas on the plane.”
L is for lobster
“This Boston Logan (BOS) TSA officer found himself in a pinch and needed to remove this giant lobster from its container to resolve a checked baggage alarm,” the TSA writes. “This is proof that lobsters are allowed in carry-on and checked bags. As you can imagine, they’re a popular item at New England airports. Just check with your airline first for packing guidelines. Oh, in case you were wondering, butter and cheddar biscuits are permitted as well.”
… and loaded firearms wrapped in clay and duct tape, then concealed in a computer
“Upon first glance, you might think this is a kindergarten art project,” the TSA writes. “Not quite … you can’t see it, but underneath the modeling clay and duct tape is a loaded 9mm firearm inside of a computer. It was discovered recently in a checked bag at Houston (IAH). Firearms are permitted in checked bags, but they have to be declared, unloaded and properly packed.”
M is for mugs shaped like guns
Check it! “Replicas of weapons or anything resembling a weapon are not allowed in the cabin of the aircraft,” the TSA writes.
N is for nun-chuks
OK to carry on. “I imagine not traveling with your ‘nun’ chucks would be a hard habit to break,” the TSA writes.
O is for oranges
All fruit is fine, but “I’m glad you didn’t ask about orange juice, because then I’d have to concentrate,” the TSA writes.
P is for pig grills
This is fine to carry on, “just check with your airline to make sure it doesn’t ‘hog’ up too much space in the overhead,” the TSA writes.
Q is for quack
“The traveler assured us there was no ‘fowl’ play afoot and that this was simply her service duck,” the TSA writes. They recommend contacting your airline to find out their policy on various service animals, and add “it’s good to have all your ducks in a row.”
R is for replica suicide vests
“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),” the TSA writes. “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.”
S is for stuffed animals filled with knives
“This animal couldn’t eat another bite,” the TSA writes, “because it’s stuffed! Stuffed with more than filling apparently . . . this knife was discovered sewn inside this stuffed animal at Tampa International Airport. All knives are not allowed in carry-on bags or on your person. Knives may be packed in checked luggage. Concealed knives such as this one can lead to fines and arrest.”
T is for telephones taken from hotels
“We have no problem with the phone, however, you’ll likely incur an extra charge on your hotel invoice,” the TSA writes.
U is for unicorns made of stained glass
“Yes, this is permitted,” the TSA writes. “And I have failed to come up with a Unicorny pun. Oh, wait . . .”
V is for voodoo heads made from goats
“You may be trying to get my goat, but if not, I appreciate the heads up!” the TSA writes. “Hollow shrunken heads made out of goat skin are good to go. Your picture had me in stitches, by the way.”
W is for weapons to fight Orcs
This needs to be packed in checked bags. “It also allows you to butter two slices of toast at the same time!” the TSA writes.
X sounds like axe
Check it. “The officer who discovered this was immediately suspicious of a hatchet job,” the TSA writes.
Y is for your old cassette recorder
Fine for carry-on “as long as it isn’t set to self-destruct 5-seconds after listening,” the TSA writes.
Z is for ZZZZZs, which you can catch with this pillow shaped like a log
Another find from the lost and found.