If you’ve never checked out the official TSA account on Instagram, run to your phone as quickly as you can and get ready for some of the most epic travel images you’ve ever seen. The clear and exact list of prohibited items should be enough to suggest that if you can’t bring a bottle of mouthwash on the plane, so most travelers should assume that an axe is out of the question. Of course, rules don’t stop people from trying.
Weapons, Weapons, and More Weapons
I’m pretty sure rule No.1 when it comes to flying is no weapons. We’ve seen Link’s master sword from the “Legend of Zelda,” a cannonball, a samurai sword and compound bow, bear mace, a knife that was cleverly concealed inside of an Eiffel Tower statue, a WWII blasting machine, a spear gun, an inert warhead, a bazooka, a cannon barrel (I guess it was the same idea the guy had about the cannonball), a mallet, a tomahawk, some Scooby-Doo razorblades, more knives hidden in anything from lipstick to an enchilada, a couple of sword canes, and some ninja climbing claws. There’s also been whole bunch of grenades and explosives, as well as—you guessed it—an awful lot of guns.
Now, the TSA reports that people can travel with medication. In fact, they say they get that question a lot. But some travelers try to stretch what “medication” can mean. People are serious about their drugs, which is why attempting to get what they want past airport security can end up revealing some head-shaking moments. Once, a man was arrested at the Newark Liberty airport with what appeared to be chocolate chip cookies in his bags. Nope. They were 118 small “cocaine” chips (little pellets of coke totaling three pounds and worth more than $50,000) embedded in the goodies. One guy tried to stuff more than seven pounds of cocaine into three large hunks of goat meat and then shoved that into his luggage. Another tried to get 18 pounds of cocaine into the country by hiding it in bags of custard mix. Illegal drugs are actually one of the most common things people try pass through an airport. While these may be shocking to you, those who do this job know it is par for the course.
Uh, is that a bird in your pants or are you just happy to see me? Nope. That’s definitely a bird. One passenger who was attempting to smuggle nine live birds from Cuba to Miami ended up in jail for that move. TSA agents have seen everything from that to insects, including crickets and millipedes crawling around in tubes hidden in a German couple’s clothing and shoes, and a live tiger cub that was actually hidden with a stuffed tiger cub. Other notable carry-ons include live pigeons strapped to a man’s legs and miniature monkeys in a girdle.
Bottom line: Check with the TSA before you fly, or the next list you may end up on will be one of these.