Flying for a vacation can be fun, but nobody likes to go through airport security. Over the years, TSA regulations have only become stricter, and we often see people being stopped at the security checkpoint for a quick pat down.
If you're a frequent flyer, you've probably had something confiscated from your bag. Some airports are more strict than others, so depending on where you flew out from, you might have had anything from fingernail clippers to a pocket knife removed from your bag before you could go through. Most people have also forgotten to remove liquids that are more than 3.4 fluid ounces from their bags.
Many travelers will try to trick airport security. They think that if they hide their banned items well enough, the TSA scans will never pick them up. However, they're rarely successful. The TSA screening process is highly advanced, and if you try to smuggle something through security that's not allowed, you're putting yourself at great risk.
The fear of getting caught hasn't stopped some people from trying to bring banned items in their carry-on baggage, however. And it might surprise you to see what some people have tried to get through! Here are 20 of the weirdest things that people have tried to take on a plane.
20 20. A Plastic Bag Full of Eels
If you want to learn about many interesting things that the TSA confiscates on a daily basis, check out their daily social feeds. One of the weirdest things they've posted yet is a plastic bag full of eels in water. It was concealed inside a checked bag, even though such an item is not allowed.
Along with the bag containing eels, there were 163 tropic fish and 22 invertebrates. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has very strict laws about transporting animals in checked luggage, and the flyer was forced to turn all of their specimens over to the government service.
19 19. A Model Rocket Ready to Launch
TSA agents in Greenville, North Carolina stopped one passenger who tried to carry a model rocket onto the airplane. It seems pretty obvious that this would be a no-no, considering the fact that the box is marked "explosive" and "very flammable."
Any kind of inert explosives are not allowed on airplanes, just in case. This includes both your carry-on and checked baggage. You're better off mailing your rocket ahead of time or, better yet, traveling without it.
18 2. Tropical Fish Underneath a Skirt
You're not supposed to bring live fish in your carry-on or checked bags without a special case or permit. However, one woman was sure she could sneak past the TSA by hiding them under her skirt.
A woman flying out of Singapore had strategically strapped 51 live, tropical fish underneath her skirt. Not only does this create problems with the liquid rules, but it's also against the law to smuggle wildlife of any kind. The woman was fined and faces potential jail time for her actions.
17 1. Snakes – Just like the Movie, Snakes on a Plane
Have you ever seen that old movie, Snakes on a Plane? It's many people's worst nightmare coming to fruition on screen when an assassin releases a crate full of poisonous snakes on a passenger airplane. Well, one passenger tried to make that a reality when he tried to sneak snakes onto an airplane.
The snakes were coiled inside a nylon stocking and stuffed inside the smuggler's pants. They also found three small turtles. Once again, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife intervened, taking custody of the animals and arresting the passenger for trying to illegally transport animals.
16 18. Novelty Artwork Made from Grenades
One of the more surprising sections of the TSA's social media feed includes several images of hand grenades in various art forms. Apparently, it's pretty popular to take inert hand grenades and paint them or shape them into statues for your viewing pleasure.
The TSA has found grenades made from solid gold, as part of art sculptures, in jewelry, or fakes as a joke. However, the TSA never treats anything that looks like a grenade as a joke. According to their Instagram feed, "All grenades are treated as real until the explosives experts can prove otherwise, which often leads to delayed flights or luggage."
It might seem funny to include a fake grenade in your carry-on, but if you want to make your flight, I wouldn't risk it.
15 17. A Very Pointy Fidget Spinner
Fidget spinners are still very popular with the kids, particularly those who need something in their hands to concentrate. As a general rule, they are just fine for kids to carry on when flying.
However, if you try to bring this very pointy variation of a fidget spinner on board, you're going to run into some trouble. Known as "Satan's Fidget Spinner," the pinwheel-like device that was confiscated in the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport is considered a weapon.
14 16. Propane Tanks – Highly Flammable!
It's pretty safe to say that anything marked "highly flammable" on the outside is not allowed on an airplane, whether it's in your checked bagged or your carry-on. With this in mind, it seems pretty strange that anyone would think to bring not one, but two propane tanks on an airplane is a good idea.
TSA agents confiscated two propane tanks in an Anchorage airport. It would be interesting to hear the logic behind this travel item, not to mention the story of how they fit these tanks in their luggage!
13 15. A Life-Size Teddy Bear
Just in case you were wondering, you're not allowed to bring a life-size teddy bear through security. One popular YouTuber decided he wanted to test the TSA's limits, so he brought a teddy bear through security, saying he had purchased it as a gift for his girlfriend.
Anticipating the fact that it wouldn't fit in the overhead bins, the passenger had purchased a separate ticket for the bear. However, when the TSA put the kibosh on that plan, saying that he was much too big, the traveler decided to leave the bear behind.
The picture above is a snapshot of the forlorn-looking bear who was abandoned by his owner.
12 14. A Literal Trojan Horse of Fireworks
Do you remember the story of the Trojan horse? The Greeks, who were trying to overtake the city of Troy, created a massive wooden horse as a gift for the city. Unbeknownst to the city residents, it was filled with Greek soldiers, ready to pounce. As soon as the horse passed through the gates, the Greeks emerged and were able to overtake the city and win the war.
Well, one passenger decided they would try the same trick on TSA agents at the Helena airport in Montana. They packed a small, ceramic replica of a Trojan horse that was filled with fireworks. Unlike the residents of Troy, the TSA wasn't fooled.
11 13. Seahorses Inside a Bottle of Liquor
TSA agents in Michigan thought they were dealing with a routine confiscation of liquid when an oversized liquor bottle went through their scanners. However, when they pulled it out to take a closer look, they discovered something awfully strange: There were several lifeless seahorses floating in the container of spirits.
Needless to say, the passenger did not get to keep their strange souvenir, and the TSA called on the local fish and game services to handle the disciplinary action for the passenger. Seahorses are endangered, so the consequences were likely severe.
10 12. Lipstick That Packs a Serious Punch
On the outside, it looks like a totally harmless tube of lipstick, but on the inside, there's an explosive story. One passenger tried to carry on a bejeweled tube of lipstick that was actually a stun gun in disguise.
These stun guns are made with fashion-conscious women in mind. They can easily be carried around in your purse or on a keychain for easy access when needed. You have it on a date that goes wrong or in a dark parking lot without anyone the wiser.
However, after confiscating the item, the TSA kindly reminded passengers that all stun-guns, no matter how pretty their packaging is, are not allowed in carry-on luggage.
9 11. An Airbag Packed Inside a Box Marked "Explosive"
If you were a TSA agent, and you saw a box marked "explosive," don't you think you would stop and check it out? This happened at an airport in Sacramento, and explosives experts, including the FAA Office of Security and Hazardous Material, were called to the scene immediately.
After a thorough investigation, it was discovered that the box simply contained an airbag part for a car. The TSA has pretty strict guidelines to avoid problems when traveling with automobile parts, but I guess this passenger wasn't aware.
8 10. 24 Pounds of Black Powder
It's not uncommon for TSA agents to see black powder make its way through airport security. Passengers often don't see it as a hazard because it's not connected to a firearm, and it's a common souvenir for certain destinations. Black powder is, in fact, a banned substance for airplanes.
However, it's pretty rare to see it in huge quantities, and TSA agents were pretty surprised to see 24 pounds of black powder come through the airport. That's half of the allotted weight in checked-baggage, and it's no surprise that it was quickly confiscated.
7 9. Bear Spray – Just in Case!
It seems totally logical that you would run into a bear on an airplane... so, of course, the TSA would allow you to bring a full can of bear spray on the plane, right? At least that was the logic of one passenger flying out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
In reality, the person who tried to bring the aerosol can filled with pepper spray on steroids was probably intending to use it at their final destination. Perhaps they were going hiking in Yellowstone. However, it seems like an obvious no-no for your carry-on bag.
6 8. A Sword Concealed Inside a Walking Cane
I suppose if you feel the need to walk around with a sword inside your walking cane, that's your prerogative. However, you better not try to take it through airport security. TSA agents will see through it in a second.
The TSA has reported several cases of removing walking canes from airline passengers. One particular cane confiscated at LaGuardia in New York was topped with a cobra head. Although the style of the cane is questionable, it's the contents that flagged this passenger for a stop and frisk.
5 7. Chanel’s Battle Shoes – Working Firing Mechanism Not Included
Chanel created a one-of-a-kind pair of high heels with a model gun as the heel. You might have spotted Madonna wearing them at a red carpet event. Although not an extremely popular pair of shoes, one pair did find its way into a person's carry-on baggage. When the TSA agent saw the gun-like figure in their scans, they immediately pulled the baggage for further inspection.
It's true that there is no working firing mechanism in these gun-shoes, but the model was so realistic that agents ended up confiscating them. You can bet the passenger was pretty mad because Chanel shoes don't come cheap!
4 3. Four Bags of Dried Caterpillars
Security agents in an airport in Great Britain discovered four creepy bags of dried caterpillars in a set of luggage. In total, there were 207 pounds of the dried insect. The passenger was coming from Istanbul and claimed that the caterpillars were a delicacy that he was bringing home for personal consumption.
Although the caterpillars were seized by authorities on the grounds of protecting the local food chain, the man was let go with just a warning. It's too bad he spent so much money on the "delicacy."
3 6. A Whole Pizza in a Box
Here's a pretty funny, positive story from the TSA's Instagram feed: A passenger brought a whole pizza, still in its box, through the X-ray scanner. Surprisingly, the pizza was not confiscated, and the passenger was able to eat their lunch without a problem on the other side of the security gate.
Okay, so this one is a little different because the item wasn't confiscated, but it's still pretty weird that someone took a whole pizza through security!
The TSA agent who posted the image wrote the caption: "So in case you were wondering, pie can fly." I guess that answers that question!
2 5. Stolen Ancient Artifacts
Ancient artifacts can be transported via plane as long as you have the correct paperwork and they're correctly packed. However, you can't, of course, bring stolen artifacts onto the plane.
In Newark, several ancient Chinese artifacts were intercepted by TSA agents, including a 5,000-year-old pot and a horse and rider figurine dating back to the Tang Dynasty.
There have also been reports of ancient Egyptian artifacts, including a sarcophagus, going through airport security. Sometimes, TSA security is about much more than taking away you're fingernail clippers; sometimes, they stop crimes in progress.
1 4. A Set of Cooking Knives – Chefs Can’t Fly Without Their Knives, Right?
Many traveling chefs like to bring their knives with them for demonstrations, competitions, or shows. According to the TSA, that's totally fine as long as they stay in your checked baggage.
However, some chefs haven't gotten the message. The TSA has posted several reports of people bringing their meat cleavers and full knife sets with them in their carry-on baggage. I guess they were anxious to chop vegetables and didn't want to wait until their final destination to do so!
References: cnet, ranker, nypost, thrillist, foxnews, abcnews, jalopnik, longislandpress, telegraph