Most Outrageous Things People Have Tried to Bring on a Plane
Airport security agents screen billions of fliers worldwide every year. With numbers like that, there are bound to be a few thousand brave (moronic) souls who think they can smuggle dangerous or ridiculous items on board.
Every week on TSA’s hilarious Instagram page, for instance, the agency documents the many absurd items discovered at checkpoints nationwide. But these gaffes (sometimes illegal) are not exclusive to U.S. fliers; you’ll find people behaving badly at airport security the world over.
We decided to scour the globe to round up the 30 biggest doozies ever stuffed into luggage. Warning: Do not try to bring these items on your next flight.
In the past year, TSA has reported on a couple cases of people trying to board their flight with a grenade or missile-launcher. To be clear: This is most definitely a no-no, even if the weapon is fake.
The grenade pictured here, confiscated at Las Vegas International Airport, looks like it would’ve emitted a thick smoke, which undoubtedly would’ve led to panic at 30,000 feet.
The slicer shown here was found in a carry-on bag at Southwest Florida International Airport. As TSA helpfully pointed out, “Blades on slicers and food processors are razor sharp,” making them less-than-ideally-suited to air travel.
Deli-sliced meat isn’t cheap, we get that. But sometimes when traveling, it’s good to splurge and treat yourself a bit.
Next time you fly, leave the meat slicer at home.
Holy Cheeseburger, Batman, someone actually tried to bring this weapon on board their flight out of the San Francisco airport!
Bat and boomerang combine to make batarang. Batarang and flying combine to make a truly terrible idea.
Animals on planes are commonplace — even if, as you will soon see, the animals aren’t so common — but it’s surprising when someone tries to sneak one aboard a flight. In this case, however, it was the little Chihuahua who did the sneaking alone, crawling into its owner’s bag and making it all the way to security at New York’s LaGuardia Airport before being found.
Respect the hustle.
Stun Gun Phone
According to the TSA, 2012 was the year of stun guns disguised as cell phones. The agency reported that this ruse was attempted several times.
It was successful precisely never.
We’ll give this flier credit for at least attempting to get away with bringing a rocket launcher aboard their plane by checking their luggage. But still — a rocket launcher?! The thing was even military-sized!
Reportedly, the man who packed the weapon wanted to bring it back from Kuwait as a souvenir. As a TSA media rep astutely noted: "Perhaps he should have picked up a keychain instead."
This dagger, found at Lihue Airport in Hawaii, was disguised as a hairbrush. Points for ingenuity?
In discussing whether such items are permissible on board, TSA had this cheeky advice to offer: “Bush and comb daggers are hairbrained items that will get you tangled up in the security line.”
Pocket Knife in a Can of Chips
Knives are commonly confiscated items at airport security, but sometimes people do the darndest things with them — like, for instance, the traveler who planted one inside a can of chips when departing from Austin.
Yeah, that’s really going to fool the security agents…
Ammo Inside Infant Toy
Someone in Florida (obviously; sorry, Florida) once tried to sneak two high-capacity ammunition magazines onto a flight by sealing — yes, factory-style sealing — them inside an infant toy.
Shocker: It didn’t work.
Paint Roller Wrapped in Sandpaper and Wire with Nails Protruding From It
What precisely is the purpose of this object found in the luggage of a traveler departing from Chicago's O'Hare airport? No one knows, including TSA, which could only surmise that it might be something Mad Max would use "to paint the Thunderdome with the blood of his enemies."
In any case, it did not make it through security.
We understand that folks who have trouble getting around on their own use the services of well-trained canines. But did you know these service animals also come in equine? We’re not horsing around — people are actually allowed on some airlines to bring aboard service miniature horses.
Come to think of it, this one's kind of awesome.
All Samuel L. Jackson jokes aside, someone in Florida (again, obviously) thought they could hide seven small snakes, stuffed in nylon stockings, and three turtles in their pants and board a flight.
Instead, they were arrested.
There’s always some anxiety before finding out who your seatmate is going to be, but imagine if you arrived at your row to find a 70-pound pig curled up in its owner’s arms, as a passenger aboard a flight out of Connecticut did a few years ago?
So pigs actually can fly …
If you own a crustacean as a pet, you’re likely odd enough to want to bring it on a plane. But be warned that, even though it is actually ok to bring a lobster in a carry-on, it has to be moved in a clear, plastic, spill-proof container and might be examined by a TSA officer.
A man flying out of Boston (obviously) learned this the hard way when TSA agents inspected his 20-pound carry-on lobster, then took a photo of it that went viral. Reportedly, the man was livid at TSA for manhandling his crustacean, along with the 12 smaller lobsters he’d also packed in his travel cooler.
Still, the animals made it safely to their final destination in Georgia...where they were promptly consumed as part of a lobster cook-out.
It seems people can feel supported by just about any living creature, so it’s no surprise that many Aussies have been seen aboard flights with a ‘roo. Just don’t tick off this animal, which is known for its boxing prowess.
(For the record, per TSA, small pets are often allowed through security checkpoints, but you should check with your airline before boarding.)
What better way to disguise your brass knuckles than by using them as the handle on your blinged-out clutch? Apparently even the TSA wasn’t fooled when a passenger tried to get this dangerous yet chic weapon through security at the Dallas airport.
If you’re a gun nut, you may think firearm and ammo paraphernalia makes for cool wardrobe items. You may also think you can talk your way out of trouble when you show up at the airport with a belt made from hollowed-out bullet casings.
You’d be wrong.
Since gun finds are so common at security checkpoints, we weren’t going to include any in this story. But then we read about the passenger who was caught at JFK with a block of tar concealing a handgun, and we didn’t want to spoil the ship for … oh, you get the idea.
It’s one thing to own a cane that doubles as a sword. That’s actually pretty cool. It’s another thing to only discover that your cane is also a sword while trying to get through airport security.
As embarrassing as this might be, it’s happened many times. The photo here is of a cane sword confiscated at LaGuardia airport in New York.
Knife in a Walker
So you use a walker AND you want to sneak a knife onto a plane. Hmm. How about just sticking the blade into one of the walker’s legs, like some hair-brained traveler in New Jersey did?
Brilliant, they’ll never find it!
Until they do.
Have a nice vacation in jail.
Knife in a Neck Pillow
The old knife-in-a-neck-pillow trick might’ve worked pre-9/11, but that kind of amateur behavior no longer flies with eagle-eyed TSA agents. Also, if you’re wondering why your neck was so sore after the flight, we’ve got the answer!
We love fireworks as much as the next person (who doesn't?), but — surprise! — they are not allowed on board planes.
Must we really explain why?
You have to admire the gumption of the traveler who suavely tried to transport 163 marine tropical fish and 22 invertebrates on a flight, including a collection of eels. Alas, the animal stash was promptly confiscated and turned over to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
And where was the traveler flying out of, you ask? Why Florida, of course.
A few years ago, a traveler departing from Albany, New York, thought it'd be a swell idea to bring a chainsaw on board their flight. It went over about as well you'd expect.
Notes the TSA: "Chainsaws are not permitted in carry-on bags." Noted.
You know how chainsaws are not permitted on flights? Well it turns out neither are regular old saws, as a hapless traveler out of Atlantic City recently learned when this bad boy was taken from them at security.
Now you know!
Meanwhile, a traveler out of Buffalo, New York, thought it would be A-OK to bring this formidable meat tenderizer on board their flight. Yeah...no.
All together now: "Items that look like they could be used as deadly weapons are not allowed on planes"!
Every single college stoner has at least attempted this one: Hide a bag of weed inside a jar of peanut butter. The problem is that even a small jar of PB is too voluminous by TSA standards these days, so to get away with the dirty deed, one must check their bag.
Probably shouldn’t have smoked a blunt before hatching this plan.
Herb Grinder Grenade
It should go without saying that if you must bring an herb grinder onboard your flight, you should make sure it’s not shaped like, oh, say, a grenade.
Alas, a traveler out of the Sacramento airport had to learn this the hard way.
It might not have been illegal, but it was certainly bizarre when Athens airport security found a chastity belt attached to a woman going through a metal detector. Her story was that she was making every effort to be faithful to her hubby while on holiday.
Yes, this sounds like a bad ‘80s comedy because, well, it is. Two women flying from the UK to Germany attempted to sneak the body of their dead husband/stepfather aboard the flight by placing sunglasses over his eyes and telling everyone he was fast asleep.
Unlike in the movies, it did not work.