The 5 Craziest Things Passengers Tried to Sneak by the TSA in January

Feb 2, 2018

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The cat’s out the bag: January was just another month at TSA checkpoints across the country. From (fake) guns that turned out to be hookahs to cheese graters and grills (for your mouth), TSA’s Instagram feedwas as lively as ever. Take a look at some of the best things agents found at security this month.

1. Don’t Grate on TSA’s Nerves

Cheese lovers, rejoice: Cheese graters are allowed in your carry-on bags — TSA will not shred you to pieces if you carry this item appropriately. If you have any TSA-related questions about things you can/can’t take onboard, feel free to reach out to them via Twitter or Facebook messenger. They prefer to answer your questions ahead of time instead of kindly asking you to dispose of the cheese (grater), please.

Yes, cheese graters (AKA sponge destroyers) are permitted in your carry-on bag. Thanks for asking. Some folks think that questions such as these might grate on our nerves, but we’re not going to rip you to shreds over it. We’re happy to help. … This is a screenshot of a tweet sent to the AskTSA account on Twitter. … Have you ever wondered whether or not you can pack a certain item? If you’re a regular follower of this account, I’m sure you can think of many situations where it would have behooved somebody to send us a picture first. Well, fret no more! Now you can do just that… … Simply snap a picture and tweet it to AskTSA (, or send it via Facebook Messenger ( and our team will get back to you promptly with an answer. … And that’s not all. Contact us about any TSA related issue or question you might have. We can even help you if you don’t see TSA Pre✓® on your boarding pass. … We look forward to answering your questions, 8am-10pm ET weekdays; 9am-7pm weekends/holidays. #AskTSA #TSATravelTips

A post shared by TSA (@tsa) on

2. Hookah, a go-go. Replicated guns, a no-no.

At first glance, this appears to be an automatic “no” as an acceptable carry-on. However, upon further inspection, this “gun” proved to be part of a hookah that was found at Denver International Airport (DEN). This wouldn’t come as a surprise, as 2017 saw a record number of recovered firearms at security. Either way, replicated firearms are never allowed onboard. Hookahs, however, are permitted — sans narcotics — when packed in a checked bag.

3. TSA let the cat out the bag … literally

It’s safe to say that if TSA detects anything with a heartbeat when scanning your checked bags, it’s a no-go. This passenger at Erie International Airport (ERI) accidentally packed her six-month-old cat, Slim, when getting ready for the airport.

But fret no more, Slim is now in the custody of the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania. Of course, you’re allowed to bring your cat onboard if you follow proper procedures via TSA and respective airlines. Take a look here for some helpful tips and hints for traveling with your furry friends.

An Erie International Airport (ERI) TSA Officer let the cat out of the bag this week. Literally. And the cat’s name is Slim. Slim’s owners packed her in their checked bag. While this could have been extremely dangerous for the 6-month old cat, Slim is just fine and is currently residing under the care of the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania. … No worries though if you’d like to travel with your pets. Here’s how! … Checkpoint Screening: … Check with your airline first to inquire about any fees and policies. … Your pet will need to be screened via checkpoint screening if it’s traveling with you in the cabin of the plane. … We do not X-ray pets. However, there have been many occasions where passengers have assumed their pet needed to go through the X-ray. You can imagine the surprise of the X-ray operator when they see Fluffy’s skeleton roll across their monitor. It is not an unusual occurrence. Your pet will need to come out of its carrier, so it is a good idea to know how your pet will react. Many a cat has gone into a feline frenzy after being removed from its carrier. An angry cat is never a good thing. … Even if your travel is “off the leash,” you should strongly consider keeping your pet on a leash. The checkpoint is a noisy environment that can cause your pet to flee at its first opportunity. This happens with humans occasionally as well. Your pet can be carried through the walk through metal detector or walked through on leash. If your pet triggers an alarm, one of our officers will have to take a closer look. Pets are not screened with the body scanners. … Checked Baggage: … If your pet is traveling in a kennel, your airline will arrange for a TSA Officer to screen the kennel. Officers will need to inspect your kennel/carrier for prohibited items with you present. Sometimes this can be done visually, but it’s good to have a leash handy in case the officer asks you to remove your pet from the carrier.

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4. The Morning Star

This weapon — with a very misleading name — was found in a carry-on bag at Chicago O’Hare (ORD). The Morning Star is a weapon that’s associated with the likes of Mad Max or Medieval Times and not at airport security. Needless to say this weapon, which was fashioned out of a paint roller with wire and nails protruding from it, was not allowed onboard the flight. And hopefully the passenger who possessed the morning star was heavily screened and questioned by authorities before boarding his flight.

5. Stop grilling TSA over lost objects

“Have you seen my grill? It’s gold and looks like my bottom teeth?”

Why yes, TSA found someone’s grill at a security checkpoint at Washington-Dulles (IAD). TSA wants you to know that any items found at checkpoints across the country are safely stored in a secured and managed location. Even if lost items can be found in your mouth, apparently.

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