At the turn of the century, we were met with dangers, threats, and terror that we, as a society, were relatively unaccustomed to. Since the catastrophic events of 9/11, and subsequent events since, the level of safety we feel in public places has all but disappeared. People have become much more aware of their safety in crowds and at big events and this, of course, includes air travel. This has led to changes in the way that public transportation operates and attempts to keep patrons safe.
However, this doesn’t prevent some people from trying their darnedest to circumvent the rules implemented by airports. Many people still try to travel with forbidden items. Many even go to extraordinary measures to conceal the inappropriate and incredibly scary things they intend to travel with. But with the newer technology available and the more specific training that members of the TSA go through, it has become increasingly difficult for specific things to get past the checkpoint. Unfortunately, the chance of getting caught isn’t enough to dissuade those who attempt to bring forbidden items.
TSA agents work both tirelessly and diligently to help ensure the safety and well being of thousands and thousands of people every single day. When that fact is magnified by the amount of airports and flights in operation at any given time, this is a job that isn’t taken lightly. As such, some of the items they find and confiscate will surely leave you scratching your head and mildly concerned regarding how some may rationalize bringing an item aboard. Ultimately, the TSA’s vigilance and care have undoubtedly prevented injuries and potential tragedies from occurring. Here are 15 crazy and bizarre things they have confiscated in the past.
Most would be thinking, who on earth needs to fly with a chainsaw? It doesn’t take multiple viewings of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre to see that its presence is a terrible idea. Many may think how preposterous the thought of bringing this type of an item onto a plane is. However, they are actually allowed when they are packed in luggage that gets checked. Similar to guns that have been properly registered, a chainsaw itself isn’t the primary cause for concern. In this specific case, the issue was that its presence wasn’t known beforehand, and it was fully gassed. While legal guns and chainsaws can be checked in, their presence must be explicitly stated. Also, the amount of gas, a combustible liquid, that a chainsaw requires is unsafe on a plane.
Though fireworks are seen in the sky, that doesn’t mean that they have any place on a plane. Any type of explosive is intrinsically banned from being anywhere on an airplane. That or anything with flammable gas could potentially cause a very chaotic, dangerous situation. That may be pretty sound logic for most people, yet that didn’t stop a Philadelphia man from trying to smuggle massive quantities of fireworks onto a flight. What’s even more absurd and scary about this particular situation is that these fireworks weren’t store-bought; they were homemade, which made them illegal and all the more dangerous.
13. Propane Tank
As previously stated, anything that is gas-based isn’t typically allowed in an aircraft. However, that apparently wasn’t on the mind of one passenger who attempted to bring three full sized propane tanks onto a flight leaving Oakland International. Given their size and quantity, it’s likely that the individual didn’t realize they weren’t permitted. There is no real way to hide items of this magnitude. But due to their propensity to explode, propane tanks are strictly prohibited on airplanes.
12. Novelty Swords
For all of you Game of Thrones or history buffs out there, this one may be a bit hard to stomach. But no, you can’t carry a sword onto an airplane, even if it’s an antique. A man flying out of Salt Lake City attempted to hide his novelty swords in a guitar case as a carry-on. The x-ray picked up on it immediately, and he was questioned about the items. He claimed that he didn’t realize they weren’t allowed to be carried onto the plane. As if swords with sharp blades get a pass if they’re over 70-years old. Trying to transport any weapon in a carry-on bag, likely won’t be a very successful endeavor. Or a wise one.
Now I’m sure a goofy movie starring Samuel L Jackson comes to mind with this entry. But yes, someone did attempt to smuggle live snakes in their pants before departing from the Miami International Airport. A man with several tiny snakes, all stored in separate secure nylons, tried to walk through a body scanner with reptiles in his pockets as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Apparently, the “empty your pockets” demand didn’t phase this individual. Upon his refusal to do as he was told, he was apprehended. Later the little slithering creatures were found along with three baby tortoises.
10. Suicide Bomber Vest
Just reading those words may send a chill up your spine but fortunately, it’s not what you may think. During a routine x-ray scan at the Indianapolis International Airport, the alarm went off. It turns out that the machine detected a vest designed to hold explosives, some matches, and potassium chlorate. What would easily be considered a nightmare, and even a likely active terrorist situation was something much more benign. After further investigation, it was discovered that the vest wasn’t dangerous as no explosives were found and the items came from the luggage of an explosives instructor who happened to be traveling with his necessities.
9. A Science Project
This entry proves that if an item even remotely resembles an explosive, it will likely be cause for concern. A college student who was traveling out of Omaha, Nebraska didn’t have the foresight to think that maybe taking his science project through the TSA checkpoint wasn’t the best idea. Once the x-ray detected the ominous looking device, relative havoc ensued. Not until hours later, after the entire airport was shut down, did FBI agents and the bomb squad determine that the item was a harmless science project. Delayed flights and a partially evacuated airport were the result of a little scientific imagination and random pieces.
8. Live Eels
Why anyone would try to transport living animals by luggage, without going through the required steps, is downright baffling but this occurs all the time. A man flying from Miami International decided that there was absolutely nothing wrong with lining one of his bags with fish, coral, turtles and 22 live eels. It’s obvious that these sea creatures require water to survive, and while the man did submerge them in water, there is no way to guarantee the water wouldn’t leak from the bag and potentially cause a dire situation for the sea creatures. There is surely a better way to travel with all the components of your dream fish tank.
7. Meat Cleaver
Just because it’s supposed to be used for meat, doesn’t mean that it can’t also be used as a very dangerous weapon. The fact is, many tools are used in particular lines of work that can also be incredibly perilous if they are wielded maliciously. A meat cleaver indeed lands in that category. Its sharp blade can easily do a significant amount of damage if it is in the hands of someone with bad intentions. A giant meat cleaver was discovered in the carry-on luggage at the Detroit International Airport. Regardless what the passenger’s excuse may have been, these type of items are completely forbidden from being carried onto the plane.
6. Knife Comb
Anytime someone tries to bring something through an airport security checkpoint that is purposefully disguised as something innocuous it is an immediate red flag. There is obviously a rule against knives being carried onto the plane, but this didn’t stop a passenger in Portland from trying to pass off one that looked like an ordinary comb. What TSA quickly realized was that this wasn’t just any comb. It was a knife being hidden by the comb part of the plastic- inconspicuous yet potentially harmful. Even if the passenger hadn’t meant any ill will by bringing that item onto the plane, guidelines are as such because the safety of all individuals on board is of paramount importance.
5. A Stun Cane
Many are aware just how powerful a stun gun can be. While it doesn’t shoot bullets, the amount of electricity that can be directed against a person can have disastrous effects. Stun guns are powerful and can seriously injure or even kill those who are on the receiving end of that shock. Surprisingly, the gun variety wasn’t what was found at both LaGuardia and the Phoenix airport, rather it was a stun cane. Yes, walking canes that assist those who have trouble getting from here to there on their own, only with a little bit of electric power at the bottom. This was easily an item that could potentially do some damage, as stun devices are meant to immobilize, but can also be deadly.
4. Razor Blades
Many have tried varying ways to conceal prohibited items from the naked eyes of TSA agents. But what many fail to realize is that airports are equipped with some of the best, most intuitive technology that is designed specifically to look for certain materials that could be dangerous. So when a man thought he could somehow trick the system by sticking razor blades inside the lining of his jeans, TSA spotted them immediately on the x-ray. Being sneaky won’t do any good when equipment is programmed to find certain items. The razor blades were confiscated from the man, but he was allowed to keep the jeans. So a small price to pay.
3. Grenade Launcher
Unlike most of the other entries on this list, this item was packed in checked luggage. However, despite that fact, it was still confiscated from the individual and not given back. While guns are probably the most seized weapon by the TSA, they are allowed under specific conditions. However a grenade, explosive or accessories to either of these things, are not allowed under any circumstance. The fact that he didn’t try to walk onto the plane with it on his person doesn’t change the end result.
2. A Skull
One of the strangest items on this list, fragments of a skull were found at the bottom of a clay pot at Fort Lauderdale airport. These human remains, the skull bones and teeth, were mixed in with the dirt at the bottom of the pot. Talk about bizarre and chilling. The two women who were carrying the pots stated that they had no idea that anything other than dirt was inside them. They claimed they had purchased the pots in Cuba, and the origin of the remains are still a mystery. Now that’s beyond eerie.
1. Finger Spiked Leather Gloves
Perhaps one of the most random entries, a Wolverine doppelganger apparently tried to get on a plane with some strange looking gloves that had blades for fingertips. Likely something out of a sci-fi movie, this type of thing is not considered cute or quippy when it comes to the TSA and ensuring national security. The glove was promptly confiscated, as any weapon is entirely prohibited from being taken on carry-on luggage. Whether the glove was for some elaborate cosplay or to harm another human is irrelevant- the passenger was not allowed to take it with them to their final destination.
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