Don’t you just hate it when you adhere to all the rules everytime and some thick-headed individual brings that unusual object (seemingly innocuous but skeptical in the eyes of security personnel) which later becomes prohibited and causing a buzz kill for everyone, because later, any variants of that ‘innocuous-now-dangerous’ object are not to be permitted on flight? What does that mean for you? You get to bring even lesser essentials to your flight.
We can understand the hazards of bringing inflammable stuff, lighters or the versatile Swiss Army knife. Alright, maybe malicious folks can come up with ingenious ways to incite terror but leaving behind silly stuff is just absurd. Make-up: Can be used for detonating a bomb. Expensive yet odd looking jewelry piece: Could be used as a dangerous weapon (probably to kill somebody’s self-esteem for not having such a piece). Juice: Component of a chemical concoction. Belt: Fighting/Bounding somebody since you can’t carry nunchucks. Food paste: Explosive gel. Wait what?
Since 2001, security regulations have tightened to the point of ordinary families and students being stifled to carry minimum number of things they would wish to bring for their relatives or for themselves abroad. Even carrying liquids beyond 3.4 ounces/100ml is prohibited (this also applies to non-edible liquids). Below are some of the bizarre things left behind which were unacceptable to be passed through security clearance:
- After 2001, a guy was taking a flight with several body piercings, with one being on the left ear. The piercing looked like a sharp silver horn. However, it did not trigger metal detector alarms. But the TSA agent told him that could not take it to a plane. He protested by saying that it was just a piece of jewelry and demanded to see his supervisor. She came and checked the earing by pressing her finger against the pointed part. ‘Yes, sharp! It’s a weapon.’ A guardsman was present few feet away smiling at this situation. The passenger leaned over the TSA agents and asked him, ‘Do you think I can hold up a plane with this earring?’ He laughed. The guy with a big gun says, ‘It’s harmless. Let him take it on a plane.’
What about the return trip? Instead of putting the ear piercing in his carry-on, he put it in his pants (to not look suspicious when the carry-on would pass through X-ray). Once again, it did not trigger the metal detectors but he had to go through hand detector! TSA agent felt queasy when the beeping came from his chest. He was later horrified when the beeping came over the guy’s groin. ‘More body jewelry!’ he says.
- Apart from a passenger’s Colibri lighter and hunting knife (with an 8 inch blade), the security agent did not permit paperclips in the carry-on backpack. The mistake that passenger made was pointing out that the pens and pencils in the bag were more capable of inflicting damage than paperclips. After a good hard stare, the TSA agent confiscated them too.
- Now, it is a scary situation when you are unarmed against a threat. So you need to have at least something to alert everybody and leave the threatening person outnumbered, right? What about a referee whistle? Too bad a person who would use it for karate competitions was not allowed to pass through with it.
- A student on a trip from Barrow after a football game had to leave 4 unopened Gatorade bottles behind. He was hoping to drink them on the plane and take remaining ones to home.
- A flight left late because a captain was told he could not bring a pot of hummus as it exceeded 100gm. When the captain explained that it is not liquid but a paste, the security officer was adamant and did not let the hummus through.
- Aside from most of the tools present in the bag which were on the prohibited items list, (the passenger was unaware of each and every one of them) the bag also contained a box of condoms. Justifying the jumbo size because the drug was offering a special offer, the person explained to the security officer that he was going to meet doctors (like a medical conference). The company he worked at made rubber products. The personnel did not burst out laughing, but the look he gave meant that he was dealing with a complete idiot rather than a terrorist.
To successfully pass through the metal detector, he was asked to remove his belt and shoes (due to metal toecaps). Not only did he lose all his tools, but also a shred of dignity left.
- Men also like to look after their face and groom. Unfortunately, one unlucky pilot was not allowed to take not 1, but all 3 mini blades. TSA did not permit to carry Mach 3 razor blade to flight. Since he was going to Philippines, the lady showed him a list of prohibited items on an A3 sheet of paper; one of them being razor blades.
There was another scenario when a fellow could not take an old-fashioned safety razor with him, despite checking on the TSA website that it was permissible.
- In 1995, a kid’s aunt had given him a squirt gun for a gift. Even without having any water or liquid, when he reached the checkpoint, the toy gun was confiscated because the security agents were not sure if it was really a gun.
- A lady was carrying 8 dried coconuts with her to gift her relatives. Once again, even though the coconuts had no water, she was not allowed to take them on a plane because they were inflammable. An officer suggested one guy that he could carry coconuts if they were cut in half and not full.
- A woman’s large jar of delicious German Nutella was not permitted. How rude to not let her go with a big jar of liquid gold.
After reading through these stories, you have a fairly good idea of what not to bring on your next trip….unless another flight security regulation comes up.