Before travelling, it’s a good idea to check what items are permitted to take onboard. Of course weapons, sharp objects and chemicals aren’t allowed, but what about a female mannequin parts, empty egg cartons, or exotic fish? Here are some of the strangest items people have tried to take through airport security.
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
“I can take a chainsaw through if I empty out the gas right?” I just stared at him for a long time.
Believe or not, a high powered magnet. This thing was so powerful that, while still in the bag, was ripping off the rollers on our conveyor and literally took 3 adult men to get off. If you put this thing around 1.5 feet from a metal object and weren’t holding it properly it would fly out of your hand. This idiot who was working that day had braces and if I didn’t stop him he probably would’ve ripped out all his teeth. Just so strange and random. We didn’t let him take it with him.
My uncle brought this thing called a bottom buddy.
It’s an extender so fat people with little arms can reach their ass to wipe.
He told the security guard that if she doesn’t let him bring it on the plane, the people around him will have a bad time. He then gave a demonstration about how it worked.
My great-aunt once brought her own bacon grease on a flight because she was going to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner.
Once I was travelling back home from France having done a clay sculpture workshop while there, and a friend of mine had made a fairly-realistic life-sized head which she was carrying in her hand luggage. The look on the security guy’s face as that image popped up on the x-ray screen was absolutely priceless…
I accidentally brought 100+ spent shell casings from a rifle through security. I didn’t want to leave empty casings laying around after shooting with some friends so I put them in a ziploc bag and forgot about them. It was in my carry on and discovered them when I got home. This was after 9/11 so either the TSA working knew they were spent or wasn’t paying attention.
Weirdest? A glass case of dead tarantulas. Last week an American guy tried bringing through a fully loaded gun. He was flying out of London so I have no idea how he got it in the first place. Obviously police were called and he was arrested. You also get people bringing through life jackets from the planes which is a serious offence for which the police get called to arrest then.
A guy once passed through with two suitcases filled with egg cartons.
EMPTY egg cartons.
That was it.
After some questioning we let him go; he refused to answer a single question and only kept asking ‘Is this illegal? Why am I not free to go?”
I lie awake at night wondering what his story was…
A friend of mine who had moved from Australia to London was coming back to Australia to finish cleaning out what he had left in storage. Since he was coming back during summer and had all his summer clothing still in storage he decided not to bring any clothes. However he had a children book box set for someone so he decided to put that into his empty suitcase which he was going to use to take things back. He got stopped by customs when he arrived and question what was in the case (they just noticed this square block on the scanner and nothing else), when he opened the case to show them they then proceeded to question why he had an empty case. Apparently traveling half way around the world with an empty suitcase is suspicious. Couldn’t stop laughing when he told me the story.
In Armenia I saw a guy trying to enter the plane with his bear caucasian shepherd. After 30 minutes of “intense negotiations”($$) with the security and the pilot, he was allowed to travel with the dog on the seat next to him. The dog defecated on the take off, spent the flight chewing the seats, and puked on the landing.
Seen in Bangkok airport: check-in flight staff sees something sketchy on the scanner, unzips the suitcase to find that a guy is trying to bring multiple bags of water with LIVE exotic fish in them on the flight. He was baffled as to why it would be a problem.
One time flying through Amsterdam a guy had opened his sealed package of expensive duty free scotch and they would not let him take it on. He opened the bottle and took a swig…and passed it down the line of people boarding the flight.
When I was about 12 or 13 I remember flying for the first time after I started my period. Not wanting to bring an entire box of tampons I grabbed some and tied them with a hair tie and threw them In my backpack. I put my backpack through the X-ray and the male TSA thought it was sticks of dynamite. I was mortified at the thought of telling them what it was. He called another TSA member over, female, she ended up laughing at him and making fun of him! told him to keep on going. I was very happy and went about my day.
Probably about 10 years ago now, another high school’s debate team was going to some national level tournament. When boarding the flight home after the tournament, security pulled aside the debate coach after finding a loaded gun in her suitcase.
This, of course, left her very confused as she had not brought a gun to the debate tournament. Upon seeing it, she identifies it as her husband’s gun. She had no idea it was there.
The strange part of the story wasn’t that a gun was found in the bag. It’s the fact that the gun was found on the return flight.
Which means on the initial flight out of DFW airport, she walked right through security with a loaded gun in possession and nothing happened to her.
I know a guy who tried to board a plane with a circular skill saw and replacement blades in his HAND luggage. The security tried to explain that he couldn’t bring it on the plane because it’s dangerous. His response was that there aren’t any plug sockets on the plane so it’s not like he can power it up and use it.
Took a Soviet WW2 helmet in my carry-on coming back from Germany.
Best thing was that I also had my electric converter in the compartment right above it so when it went through the x-ray machine the person saw a large metal object with a bunch of wires inside it. The German security guy got a good laugh when I showed him what it was.
Current TSA agent here. I’ve had a guy come through with scuba diving gear, a guy try and get a hammer through security, and several people come through with their sex toys.
I process military flights and you wouldn’t believe the crap people try to smuggle to and from operational theatres. Smoke grenades (“I forgot I had them!”) Pen flares (“But it’s not prepared to fire though”) a magazine full of 5.56 rounds (“I didn’t know it had to be empty”) and knives of all sizes hidden behind plates in body armour. In the defence of most squaddies, they’re tired and bored so they often make mistakes.
My uncle works as a TSA agent at JFK. One time a guy tried to smuggle a flamingo in a suitcase. He stuffed pillows into the suitcase with the flamingo so if it moved around there would be little-to-no noise. I guess he thought he could block it from the x-ray stuff by covering it with pillows (so obviously he has no idea how x-rays work). Anyways, he was arrested, obviously.
When I was working for USAir, TSA notified us that one of our passengers was flying with a checked bag that had around $6,000 cash. It wasn’t in a bundle, or banded together, but just $50s and $100s strewn throughout the bag. The bag looked like the passenger had just thrown random belongings in it without seriously packing, and there was no organization (clothes weren’t folded, etc).
Since it wasn’t illegal they let him go. They did give him the cash to hand carry, just because it’s stupid to have cash in a checked bag.
I went to Ireland one time, and I like to collect rocks from the cool places I go, one rock was a shard of the Giant’s Causeway, and it was in my carry-on. I could have actually done some real damage with that thing but I was let through customs and TSA. When I went to empty my suitcase, I pulled the rock out and a feeling of dread came over me as if “I could have been put in jail for a long time for bringing a sharp rock onto a plane like that.
Me and a group of about 17 people just got back from a service trip to Thailand. We had to go from Chiangmai to Tokyo and then cross to Denver where we were to make our final flight. Well, when we got to the Denver airport we were supposed to check our luggage and carry on through security. Well, this one guy in our group must have been suffering from extreme jet lag or something, because he proceeded to take his other bag with him through security. Well, in this bag he had the following souvenirs from the trip, including a bottle of whiskey, two machetes, and (3?) souvenir knives. He ended up getting all of it confiscated and missed his flight and had to go back through security. When going back, the TSA agent jokingly said (after recognizing him) “Where’s the gun?
I watched a man argue about a 1/5th of vodka for 10 minutes, chug it, then promptly have a heart attack. That was certainly weird.
My friend’s father has Crohn’s disease and goes around with a colostomy bag (aka a bag that people with that disease have to wear that goes into their intestines and fills with poop)
When he travels, he sticks his bundled up weed in the poop bag and goes through airport security, apparently never getting checked. I suppose no airport security wants to rifle through a poop bag. Or they assume that no person in their right mind would want to rifle through their own poop bag in order to smoke.
Either way, most disgusting way of smuggling elicit substances internationally that I’ve heard of so far.
Friend works as a flight attendant. She told me about some guy who was stopped from going on a plane because he had a suitcase full of female mannequin parts, head, body etc all taken apart. Apparently security thought he was smuggling drugs, just turned out he liked mannequins.
I’m an airline pilot in Europe. I once had a passenger in Italy present his handgun to us on the flight deck and wanted to know what he should do with it. Turned out he was Italian police and was used to leaving it on the flight deck with Alitalia guys. Our airline did not permit firearms or ammunition anywhere on board. He either had to leave the gun or he couldn’t fly, so he had to offload himself. The scary thing about it was that if he hadn’t mentioned the weapon to us, no one else would have – not the security personnel or handling agent. Needless to say, reports were filed on Italian security procedures.
This opens up the possibility of any police or service personnel smuggling a gun through security for their own reasons or terrorists coercing someone to get a gun through security under duress or similar.
So, my family and I were flying back to the US from London. We had bought a few souvenirs to bring back as gifts, and one had already gotten us in trouble. My mom had put a corkscrew in her luggage and it had shown up on the scanner. She had ended up having to mail it back (which was not cheap).
So it is then my dad’s turn to go through security. We had bought my grandfather a nice cane with some pretty intricate woodwork on it. My parents could not fit it in our luggage, so he was going to carry it with him and stow it in the overhead when we got on the plane.
The security team asked him if it broke down. He said it did not. I had been fiddling with it before and knew it separated at the handle and mid-way down the shaft. Unthinking, and in true stupid-teenager fashion, I piped up, “Wait, yes it does.”
Dad gives me a death stare. The security guy gives him the death stare. He takes it apart and, of course, there’s a big threaded screw at the end of the shaft that the handle screws onto. Would make for an excellent spearing implement.
Surprisingly, they let us onboard anyway. Figures.
TSA Agent checking in:
This guy walked in with a loaded handgun in his pocket. As soon as the body scanner did a scan of his body and found it, an alarm went off, and he was immediately tackled and detained by 3 TSA Agents. Apparently, he “forgot it was there”.
Another story: Someone attempted to bring a small can of gasoline in their checked bag. They even argued with us when we found it… Said they needed it as medicine for their illness.
Ah, what else? there was the time when a young girl (16?) walked through the body scan and set the detectors off. We searched her and found nothing; however, when we brought a dog over and had her sniffed, the dog detected a substance on her. We brought her to one of the rooms, strip searched her, and were almost going to give the all-clear when all of a sudden, we saw a small bit of plastic poke out from between her cheeks (lower cheeks). Turns out she had the illegal substance in her… er…. crevasse.