Airports are pretty strict with what you can bring on a plane, but people try to sneak in some crazy stuff anyway. Dead animals and adult are super popular... maybe being a TSA agent is worth it for the stories. Never a dull moment...
eefau asked airport security agents of Reddit: What's the weirdest experience you had while scanning luggage?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
10. That's one method.
Saw a bag filled to the brim with all different types of spoons. Pulled it aside, asked the passenger what the deal was.. he looked me straight in the face and says he uses them to spank his wife in bed. It's their sex spoons.
Edit: When I said "saw" I meant while I was analyzing the image on the x ray machine. I was not simply targetting the passenger by sight.
I think they misunderstood what people meant when they said "spooning."
9. I want the sword cane.
Elderly woman with a sword cane. She had no idea it was a sword - her son was a service member and had sent it to her from the Philippines without mentioning what it was.
A couple headed up to Alaska with a sink, complete with plumbing attached, in a large duffle bag.
Hunter returning from Canada with some unlicensed kills. Unprepped and still bleeding severed musk-ox heads wrapped in plastic. Whole baggage system for half the airport had to be shut down and cleaned, along with a couple of our machines.
One lady who spent the time her bag was in the x-ray screaming that x-rays weren't real, and there was a midget in the machine going through her bag to steal things.
In cargo, an automatic grenade launcher built out of clear polycarbonate, so the arms dealer transporting it could show off its inner workings. Would have been fine, if it hadn't been undeclared and accompanied by a small box of grenades.
8. Remember the rules for liquids and gels...
TSA Ofiicer. "Ma'am I just gotta look in your bag real quick." "Oh, it's just my butt plug, it has electronics inside!" "Um, it's just your soap, it's too big to go."
I cannot make this up. The thing I tell new people is you can never be ready for what might happen every day.
7. Talk about a trophy...
When we were coming back from Afghanistan, a few of us were tasked to serve as customs type people. We had to search bags for any non authorized items. Things like weapons, war trophies, money... things like that. Anyway, it's hot as balls and I'm on like my 10th group of folks. We're going through the whole spiel and I get to the part where I have them all turn their sleeping bags upside down and shake them out.
Well, out drops this HUGE purple adult from this guys bag. It's enormous and it's rolled to a stop in the sand at my feet. I'm speechless. I know this guy. Worked like 2 seats away from him for a year. We're locked in eye contact. His face is mortified. There's a dozen other Soldiers all around dumping their bags. None have noticed yet. I just yell out "ok pack it up" and walk away like I didn't notice. If this guy planted that to smuggle some sh*t out, then he earned it cause I was not gonna mess with anymore of that. We never spoke if it afterward.
6. So many questions.
A dead squirrel stuffed in a bottle of soda. No joke. This happened recently.
... how do you get a whole dead squirrel into a bottle?
Unless it was in pieces, in which case I have a different set of questions.
Well, most rodents can fit thru any hole their skull fits thru. I'm picturing more of a Gatorade bottle than a Coke bottle.
He did say soda bottle, so I was imagining a Coke bottle. Could also have been a small squirrel I guess. I'm still super weirded out by the mental image of someone trying to stuff a dead squirrel of any size into a bottle.
5. Isn't this covered in training?
I wasn't security but I was the passenger: I put my pocket belongings in the front pocket of my bag as they recommend, and I put it through the the metal detector. As it came out, they took it and the guy called his superior. Now, mind you, I travel a good amount for work, and I sensed something was off, because he didn't have the regular "business as usual' look to him. Anyways, they open the the bag and a couple seconds later, they both started laughing hard. The guy came back with my stuff and told me that the way my keys and phone landed in the pocket, it looked exactly like a handgun on the X-ray.
Had something similar. Went through security, got a stern look from the agent. "Ma'am, do you have a knife in your bag?" "A what?" He opens my bag, roots through it, pulling all my stuff out. Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out what the hell he could possibly be talking about.
I had a necklace made of metal that was shaped like a tie.
Like this, except not Harry Potter themed. I laughed. He did not. He did, however, repack my bag, which was the first time I'd seen a security agent do that.
4. Granny needs love too.
I used to work at Sydney airport and we once found a 14" double ended adult toy in the luggage of a couple from Turkey. The kicker was that both of the passengers were in their 80s.
3. Should buy it a seat, just for fun.
Human skull. Passenger claimed to be a brain surgeon and used it as a teaching aid.
Oh yeah, scientists get stopped by TSA for crazy stuff all the time. This article has a lot of great stories: That Time the TSA Found a Scientist's 3D-Printed Mouse Penis
2. Powerful, powerful scrubbing.
Not security but a passenger:
This one time when I was 17-18 I was going through the Palm Springs airport security when my bag gets pulled aside by one of the officers after I walk through the scanner. The man pulls the bag off the belt then looks me in the eye and asks 'is this yours?'
To which I reply 'yes'.
'is there anything inside that I should be concerned about?' Slightly confused I respond '... no sir, I don't believe so' He then opens the bag, rummages inside until he pulls out a small box and asks me, deadpan serious 'what is this.' At this point I pick up just how much this officer is on edge. He was so tense, I swear he looked ready to charge me if I were to do so much as itch my chin the wrong way. The intensity emanating off of him was palpable, and I do my very best to hold my poise as I answer him with a straight face
'That is a Soap-On-A-Rope, sir'
He proceeds to take the soap-on-a-rope out of the box and I explain how my dad gave it to me as a joke gift for my birthday. Seeing his tension diffuse slightly, I ask what the problem was.
Literally tells me that soap has the consistency of C4 and the hole in the top was suspicious (where rope met soap) so it was flagged as a potential bomb threat. Shortly after realizing the lack of threat and obvious misunderstanding, they let me through and I rejoined my family, Soap-On-A-Rope and all.
I'm gonna go ahead and tell you that soap does not have the consistency of C4.
1. Again, only questions.
My brother once found an entire goat in a suitcase. I think they were going to eat it.
Was it alive?
How would a goat be alive and in a bag and not destroy everything while trying to get out.
What's the most bizarre reason you've seen someone try to get through airport security?