There have been many changes over the last 12 years regarding what is allowed on airplanes. The horrendous events of 9/11 have essentially changed the way that airports and all public means of transportation operate. This doesn’t mean, however that some people don’t try exceedingly hard to bring certain things on a plane that they know would be otherwise forbidden. Some even go to extra lengths and threw extraordinary measures to try and hide or conceal the dangerous, bizarre and sometimes downright inappropriate things, in an attempt to sneak onto planes. This list will undoubtedly speak to the efficiency and hard work that is displayed by the transportation security administration agents, otherwise known as TSA agents, that must be vigilant in their line of work to insure the safety of hundreds and thousands of people every single day. The list included below are the top ten strange things TSA agents found in luggage.
10. Snakes on a plane?
So it appears that the saying “snakes on a plane” isn’t just one from a silly Samuel L. Jackson movie. If a man flying out of Miami International Airport had gotten his way, there really would have been snakes on the plane he was planning to board on its way to Brazil. It seems that in August 2011, an unidentified man attempted to walk through a body scanner at airport security with seven small snakes, all tied up separately in nylons, in his pant pockets. TSA agents immediately noticed that something was the matter and told the man that he had to empty his pockets of all items before walking through the body scanner. When he refused, it was made evident that he had something dangerous in his pockets. Once apprehended and questioned, he told police what was in his pockets: seven small snakes and 3 baby tortoises. The small animals were taken by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife and the man was arrested. What’s more, is that it seems this isn’t the only time that someone had tried to put snakes in their pants. In Arizona, a man stole several snakes from a wildlife store by putting them in his shorts. He was later caught and arrested for the theft. The question still remains though: who would want to put live snakes in their pockets to begin with? The thought alone is insanely creepy.
9. A harmless science project or an explosive?
This entry is actually a complete and total misunderstanding. But it’s a misunderstanding that essentially shut down an entire airport for hours until it was rectified. What was completely innocent ended up being a huge debacle that gained national news attention. A college student was flying out of Omaha, Nebraska, and decided he was doing to bring his make-shift, homemade science project with him. Well it just so happens that when he was going through security, the X-ray monitors picked up on the project in his carry-on bag and TSA became alerted to its suspicious nature. Once TSA took a closer look, they surmised that what they saw looked suspiciously like an explosive device. Because the TSA agents are not authorized to thoroughly search a device that they believe could be a bomb, both FBI agents and a bomb squad were called to the scene. Not only that, but a good part of the airport was evacuated and flights were delayed indefinitely. Once the bomb squad verified that it was in fact, a harmless science project, and not a bomb, everything returned back to normal, but not without being a very memorable and hectic day for the people who happened to be in that airport. So moral of the story for this particular entry? Don’t try to fly with your science project, there is a very good chance you may be mistaken for a terrorist.
8. Grenade launcher
What’s interesting about this entry is that it was actually found in checked baggage, not carry on baggage. But TSA agents can never be too careful as they have the well being and safety of so many people to take into account. It seems that popular and ordinary weapons such as guns make quite a bit of an impact every single day in airports around the country. It is said that over 1,306 guns were confiscated in the year of 2011 alone, that’s at least 4 guns per day. While something like grenades and grenade launchers are found less commonly, they are still items that have been taken from various passengers trying to stealthily hide them in luggage. In Seattle, one man thought that packing a grenade launcher in his checked luggage was no big deal. Now, while registered firearms are permitted in checked luggage, its presence must be stated at check in. Grenade launchers are not considered ordinary firearms, so the launcher was confiscated and not returned to the individual. Here’s a friendly tip, don’t pack anything that could be considered a bomb or something that could potentially be used as a weapon in a war.
7. Gassed Up Chainsaw
This entry seems almost completely peculiar and bizarre in nature. Because why on earth would someone need to fly with a chainsaw in the first place? Too many viewings of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre would undoubtedly elicit intense fear where chainsaws are concerned, but seeing one in a checked bag heading out of New York, would cause some concern. But what’s fascinating about this particular entry is that chainsaws are allowed in checked luggage, but just like registered guns, the airline has to be notified about them up front. However, there are two problems with this specific instance. One was that the owner did not make the chainsaw’s presence known, the other is that the chainsaw was fully gassed. Now, this is problematic and potentially dangerous for a number of reasons. One is that the amount of gas, a combustible liquid, could potentially blow up the plane. Another is that chainsaws only have the capacity and ability to work when they are gassed. This means that anyone who had access to that suitcase, could have access to a very scary, deadly weapon. For those reasons alone, the chainsaw was removed from the luggage and not allowed on the plane.
6. Stun Gun Disguised as Cell Phone
The most dangerous items on this list are probably the ones that are incredibly harmful and even deadly, but are being hid or disguised as something regular and ordinary. Take what looked to be a cell phone in Indianapolis, but turned out to be something very different and dangerous. Thousands of cell phones enter both airports and planes every single day all over this country. But during an ordinary day in 2011, someone tried to get past a security checkpoint with what appeared to be a pink cellphone that was actually a stun gun. Items that are deliberately made in an attempt to conceal their true identity are not only scary, but also unsettling because the person was knowingly trying to carry something harmful onto a plane. The safety and security of all the people on board of flights is of paramount importance, and someone who knowingly and willfully attempts to board a flight with something that is purposely disguised as something else, may want to do significant harm to the people on the flight. Thank goodness for the technology that can decipher a regular cellular phone from a weapon.
5. Fireworks in the Sky
While fireworks are literally meant for the sky, they aren’t necessarily meant for the inside of a plane. What’s more is that fireworks, just like anything with explosive material or gas associated with it, would automatically be banned and prohibited in airplanes. If people aren’t allowed to smoke on an airplane, what in the world would posses anyone to think it was okay to try and smuggle fireworks on an airplane? In Philadelphia, a 29 year old man thought that putting unlit fireworks in his carry-on, along with flash powder wouldn’t be a problem. What makes the issue even more suspect and asinine is that the fireworks were homemade M-80s, which essentially made them illegal. This attempt was regarded as incredibly serious and the man was arrested for trying to smuggle his fireworks, and carry out a calculated plan to cause harm to passengers. The suspect even went so far as to cover the water bottle that contained the flash powder, with black tape. This was done as a means to obstruct outside eyes for seeing the contents inside. Luckily the scanners and x-rays that are used to check luggage are state of the art. If they hadn’t been, something terrifying could have possibly taken place with literal explosives in the sky.
4. Novelty Swords
This sounds really bizarre, almost as if this next entry is from some ancient Roman time when sword fighting and jousting were customary and an essential way of life. Well it seems that swords from hundreds of years ago need to be transported from place to place just like everything else. However, trying to board an airplane with them stashed in a guitar case, isn’t the way to make that happen. In Salt Lake City, an unidentified man thought it would be a good idea to try and hide his novelty swords in a guitar carrier, as if the X-ray wouldn’t clearly pick up on them as it was being checked. When questioned about the swords, the man claimed to have no idea that swords weren’t allowed in carry on luggage and by extension, on the plane. Yes, because it makes sense that anyone and everyone could bring something as dangerous and deadly as a sharp sword onto an airplane. Just in case a sword fight breaks out, one should be prepared. If you need to transport weapons, regardless if they are novelty one’s made to be souvenirs, think of a better, safer plan to get them to where they need to be.
3. Live eels in checked luggage?
There must be a good reason that someone would try to transport any living, breathing organism by luggage, without taking the appropriate and necessary precautions. But apparently, a man flying out of the Miami International airport, found nothing wrong with literally lining one of his checked bags with live eels, coral, tropical fish and invertebrates. Even though to you and I, that seems completely ridiculous and nonsensical. Although the man did pack all of the organisms in water, they were in no way secure from spillage or any other issue that could have possibly happened when live fish are being transported. What was this guy even doing in the first place? Trying to get all the components for his dream aquarium? If that was the case he should have thought of an alternative way to have them shipped to him, because once TSA discovered what was in his bag, they immediately confiscated it and handed it over to U.S. Fish and Wildlife services. So it looks like Flounder and friends didn’t reach the destination that the man had originally intended. What’s worse is because of lack of planning and foresight, he undoubtedly lost a big investment as most of those fish and oceanic organisms are incredibly expensive and some of them are rare. Better luck planning correctly next time dude!
2. Comb-knife or knife-comb?
Again, specific items that are purposefully disguised as something else are the most unsettling, because the person to whom it belongs to is willfully trying to hide the true nature of the object. Now this is usually preferred and even encouraged with certain self defense items that are generally marketed to women, but when going through the security checkpoint in an airport, everything must be as it seems. If something is being hidden or passed off as something that it’s not, it automatically raises red flags to the TSA agents. Especially if the item is actually a weapon or something potentially very dangerous. In Portland, TSA agents found what looked to be a regular comb in a man’s carry-on luggage, however there was something strange about the top half of the comb when it went through the X-ray. Upon further investigation, it was found that the comb was was actually a front, and a long knife hid below the top portion of the plastic. So what looked like a harmless grooming tool was actually a dangerous dagger. Now it’s possible that this man had no intention of actually using this knife if it had made it through TSA undetected. But the reason why security precautions are so heavy and held to the letter, is to prevent terrible atrocities and people losing their lives, or being physically or psychologically injured in altercations.
1. Razor blades in jeans
What’s rather interesting is the fact that most of the people that try to get away with hiding prohibited items in their luggage by means of covering them up, know that they aren’t allowed, but they somehow think that they can figure out a way to be smarter than the TSA agents or the actual machine that is used to check the bags. In Chicago, a man put his carry-on bag through the X-ray to get checked and what the TSA agent found looked suspicious, but they weren’t quite sure what it was. Calling for backup, the agent had several other agents looked at the monitor before checking the bag itself. It turns out that the passenger had stuck razor blades in the lining of his jeans, folded them up and put the garment in the carry on bag as if they were just a regular, ordinary non threatening piece of clothing. After further investigation, the razor blades were found and confiscated. The lesson in all of this is that live animals and things that could be considered weapons, are not permitted on the plane. Period, point blank. And save yourself the time and hassle of trying to come up with some disguise for your weapons that will fool the TSA agents, chances are it won’t work, you’ll miss your flight and if you have terrible luck, you may even get arrested.