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The Weirdest Things People Have Seen at Airport Security

TSA Pre-Check

The weirdest things that most people have had to deal with while passing through an airport’s security checkpoints are the token “take off your shoes” and “let the creepy TSA officer stare at you with the X-ray machine” experiences. On the other hand, many other travelers arrive for their flight at just the right time and terminal to deal with the weirder side of airport security:

But even he couldn’t stomach airline food.

“As I started unloading into the trays,” Richard Garand wrote “the man just in front of the metal detector started explaining to the security agents what he had in a large case. He opened it up, took out a sword that looked very real, and proceeded to put it all the way down his throat.”

“After he took it out, everyone around applauded and asked for an encore. So he did it again. The security agents seemed to be satisfied with this (I believe the sword was plastic) and he went through.”

Is that a ferret in your pocket, or…?

“About 3 or 4 years ago as I was going through security in Newark on my way to catch a connecting flight,” Yuval Ariav said. “The guy behind me tried to sneak a ferret on board the airplane. He put the animal in his jacket pocket, and then put the jacket through the machine for inspection.”

“The TSA team was not impressed. The guy was a bit pissed off because they mistook his ferret for a weasel.”

“I took my stuff and casually walked away.”

I find your lack of common sense disturbing.

Matt Lerner has a bizarre airport security story that is out of this world:

“God as my witness, this happened at airport security in Zurich to my friend Colvin and me this afternoon. We'd just come through the metal detector, and the airport security lady pointed to a bin on the conveyor belt and asked ‘What are these?’"

Colvin responded, "A Darth Vader mask and a toy lightsaber."

She pointed to the red plastic lightsaber and said, "You can't bring this on the plane.” "Why not? It's just a toy,” he asked.

She went on to explain her reasoning: "I know it's a toy, but it looks just like the real thing." I said, "There is no 'real thing' -- a lightsaber is an imaginary weapon from a movie."

"I'm sorry, it looks like a weapon. I can't let you take it on the plane."

No thanks, I’ve already eaten.

Gary Duncan, a web developer, shared a funny little story that happened at Gatwick airport’s security area:

“Security officers were asking passengers to remove any laptops, iPads, Kindles, etc. from their hand luggage, while repeatedly shouting in their London accents.”

“An older Turkish man looks utterly baffled at the guy and replies, ‘Lamb chops? No, no lamb chops.’ They cracked up and waved him through.”

“But it looks SHARP!”

“I was flying back from Birmingham, Alabama to Tucson, Arizona,” Tim Furgerson, wrote. “Just prior to 9-11. Flying out, I had a Voyager Large Clip Point Plain Edge knife, the old model blade was 3 7/8″, in my pocket and because it was under 4″ blade length, I was told by security that I could carry it on. Those were the good ol’ days!”

“However, while flying back, the Birmingham security agent said, ‘You can’t carry this knife on board!’”

“I responded, ‘Why not? It’s under 4” blade length.’ ‘No it’s NOT,’ the security officer argued, ‘It’s over 4” blade length! Measure it.’ He measured it, and of course, the blade was JUST under 4″.”

“He looked at it and declared: ‘Well, you can carry it, but it looks SHARP!’ Just before he ran his thumb down the blade! As his blood sprayed everywhere, I said: ‘It is.’”

“His supervisor turned around, and saw the blood and demanded, ‘WHAT HAPPENED?!’ I said, ‘He declared that the blade looked sharp, and ran his thumb down the blade!’”

“’You’re kiddin’ me!’ the supervisor exclaimed. I simply said, ‘Nope! There it is!’”

“She gave me the knife, and sent me on to the plane!”

Throw the book at her!

Julia Ritter wrote, “I once got held up at Germany’s Cologne/Bonn Airport security for copyright infringement. I was the only kid at university that had a Windows laptop instead of a Mac, so I put an Apple sticker over the Toshiba logo to feel a little bit less left out.”

“The security guard gave me a 5-minute lecture explaining why they couldn't let me pass before breaking out into laughter.”

I never leave home without it!

John Miele overheard an unusual dispute over what counts as carry-on luggage at the security area of an El Paso airport about ten years ago:

“A Mexican family having a very heated argument with the TSA because they were not allowed to carry on a 6-foot high plaster statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.”

“They obviously did not fly often, and simply did not understand why the security people were being so mean.”

At least he didn’t bring his homemade clock, right?

“We were traveling to Florida for a family vacation,” John Powell wrote, “and had to rush through security. Of course, I got pulled over by a very stern TSA agent who started quizzing me about what I had in my bag. I was perplexed, and said clothes, food, and other vacation stuff. After looking through my carry on and patting me down, I guess he was satisfied.”

“He handed me a Tupperware container from my bag and said, ‘Don't EVER do this again.’ I had used the container to hold a bunch of miscellaneous stuff for the trip:  batteries, USB cables, an alarm clock, etc. I think he thought I'd purposely tried to make it as suspicious as possible.”

Sadly, the crackers did NOT pass the security checkpoint.

“I live in France,” James Flack shared, “and was visiting friends in Britain. I had several kilos of assorted cheese as presents for them in my insulated hand luggage, varying from quite firm to the rather runny kind.”

“At the security checkpoint, just after dumping the ice blocks, I told them I had quite a bit of cheese in my bag, and there followed a discussion of ‘Is cheese a liquid, and therefore not allowed?’ This did involve the agent sniffing the cheese, and in some cases banging it on the table to assess how runny it was.”

“At some point, they realized just how silly this was, and let the crazy English man through with his cheese…”

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I’ve heard about all kinds of oddball things that people have seen and had to deal with at airport security, but what about you? If you’ve got a peculiar story about something you’ve witnessed while going through an airport’s security checkpoint, you’ve got to share it with us below!