Despite obvious warnings not to bring dangerous guns, knives and grenades onto airplanes, people still try to bring dangerous guns, knives and grenades onto airplanes. As you prepare for holiday travel, click through our month-by-month guide to what travelers tried to bring aboard in 2014.
Someone tried to bring this credit card knife onto a plane in Rapid City, South Dakota. The TSA considers it an artfully concealed prohibited item. “If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag or on your body, you could be cited and quite possibly arrested by local law enforcement.
Speaking of artfully concealed prohibited items, the TSA caught people with belt buckle knives in Boise and Los Angeles. Weirder yet: A traveler tried to hide a pocket knife and a lighter in a bag of potato chips at the airport in Amarillo, Texas. The lesson: Snacks and belts good; weapons bad.
Travelers in San Diego (the one on the left), Wichita, Las Vegas and San Antonio were among those who tried to bring disabled or replica grenades onto planes. The TSA wasn’t into it. “We continue to find inert hand grenades and other weaponry on a weekly basis,” the agency noted. “While they may be novelty items, you cannot bring them on a plane.”
Lucky for the owner of this 8.5-inch enchilada knife, TSA agents at Sonoma County Airport understood that her “intent was delicious, not malicious,” and they let her board her plane. A helpful rule of thumb from the TSA: “It’s always important to double check your bags and enchiladas.”
The TSA can’t fit everything it wants people to leave at home on one sign. That’s why it has a category called miscellaneous prohibited items. It covers a broad swath of toy guns, batons and “sharp pointy things,” like this meat cleaver that a traveler brought to a St. Louis airport. See also: Sparklers and most other things that are meant to be set on fire.
The TSA doesn’t want people to travel with things that are designed for punching or stabbing people (or both), like these knuckle knives confiscated in New York and Honolulu. Bonus tip of the month: Don’t pretend to have explosives or cyanide, like a passenger did in Albuquerque.
“It’s difficult not to see 80 pounds of it.” That’s how the TSA described the bricks of marijuana found in a passenger’s checked bag at McClellan-Palomar in Carlsbad. Agents are mostly looking for explosives in checked bags, but they’re probably not going to miss a huge haul of drugs.
If something is sharp and designed for a soldier or a ninja or Batman, the TSA probably doesn’t want it on a plane. Passengers in Chicago, Minneapolis, Richmond (Va.), Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Detroit thought otherwise.
If two things are separately dangerous, the TSA probably doesn’t want you to weld them together and bring them on a plane. Exhibit A: The bullet knife a passenger brought to the San Francisco Airport. The TSA also frowns upon hairbrush knives, or, really, anything that looks normal but has a knife in it.
A cannon barrel. Someone tried to smuggle a cannon barrel on to a plane in Kahului, Hawaii. This belongs in the TSA’s “items we don’t see every day” category. It was unloaded and it was in the person’s checked luggage. But it was, well, a cannon barrel.
Anything that helps someone train to blow things up is probably prohibited by the TSA, too. Take, for example, this explosives training kit that a passenger put in a checked suitcase in Northwest Florida. “When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays because the explosives detection professionals must respond to resolve the alarm,” the TSA notes.
A final note: If something used to be dangerous and looks like it belongs in a museum, the TSA probably doesn’t want it on a plane. They found this World War II military blasting machine in someone’s checked bag in Atlanta. Better safe than sorry.