Airport Security Workers Share The Weirdest Things They've Ever Found In Someone's Luggage
Photo by Pascal Meier on Unsplash

Why do we try to be sketchy when it comes to what we plan to travel with? The things we assume we can get away with in a post-9/11 world is astonishing. Being an airport security person has got to often be hilarious. You rummage through someone'e private bits as part of your job, it's suppose to be routine and then the next thing you know.... scandal honey! There are just somethings better left as a carry-on.

Redditor u/xyvulkin wanted all the airport people to tell us some secrets by asking....
Airport Security Workers of Reddit, what's the weirdest but still legal thing you found in someone's bag?



Not a TSA agent, but last time I flew I was bringing chalk pastels home because I do a bit of art. They asked what they were, I said they were chalk pastels in a box that was clearly labeled "chalk pastels."

The box was opened upside down, spilling all of my chalk pastels on the table and coating the entire table in bright chalk dust, which does not wash off very easily.


too big....

I'd like to give a shoutout to the TSA worker who had to unpack my entire wolf pelt to get at the toothpaste I packed that was too big. And to the airline attendant who told me I had to check my bag bc I was the last one on, offered to let me "get my computer out" and then watched me pull out my entire wolf pelt and run down the plane with it.


Nuts from Milan. 

Slightly unrelated, but it's a funny story....

I was flying back from Milan. the security worker stopped my dad's bag after the X-ray machine, and said there's some sort of liquid or gel in there. So he searches through the bag and eventually pulls out what he saw in the machine - a jar of Nutella.

Now, he's probably a proud Italian and loves his Nutella, because I never seen a more devastated face in my life once he realized he needs to confiscate our Nutella. He started apologizing like crazy, "Oh no, I am so sorry..." and so on.


Talk Turkey.


One time I was flying somewhere and I had made this really really awesome toasted turkey sandwich. I was really excited about it because I hadn't had a sandwich in probably a year (food sensitivities coupled with a rare brand of "safe" bread leads to sandwiches being few and far between.)

I said on the way there that they'd better not flag my sandwich. When we went through TSA, guess what? They flagged. my damn. sandwich. I got it back, at least, but I'm never going to forget that they tried to take my sandwich.

They probably just thought it looked good and took it themselves.



Not a worker but probably my bag. My friends kids decided to pack me part of their rock collection and several small crafts. Apparently not wanted to have them broken they padded out the pouch they were in with maxi pads. Security was not impressed that I had no idea what was in my bag and couldn't explain it.



Well when I was 6 I had my Dora the Explora backpack on and I put one of those small sizes 8 oz water bottles in it. When my mom put the my bag up on the belt through x ray it got flagged and they pulled my 6 year old self into a room (without my parents) and did a full search of me and then the woman yelled at me to never do it again. My mother wasn't happy.


From the passenger side.....

From the passenger side - the missus got me a Jerry-can bag thing - essentially a 20l jerry can, cut in half with a hinge and wheels added - like this. I checked everywhere i could to make sure it was allowed to go on the plane.

The only problem was every time i went through security, the agent pulled it out and made me unpack it because the scanning machine couldn't resolve the contents clearly enough.

So, unpacked, and re-packed three times on the way there, and three times on the way back.

Without fail they all said it was a cool bag though.


splooosshh, bphrrrooom, booom!!!!


I once bought a pack of barbicans from UAE and i was traveling back to india. The pack was in my hand luggage. The security guys stopped me and they were arabs and didn't understand english that much. They got hold of it and i enquired why. They show actions of cans exploding and one of them was like cans - splooosshh, bphrrrooom, booom I will never forget it.


taste tests....


So my mother is into healthy lifestyles so imagine the look on the TSA's faces when they had to leave a note saying they had to inspect her luggage further because she thought it was a great idea to pack PROTEIN POWDER in ziplock bags lol taste tests hm... good choice.



Back in the 90's, my friend who was a professional square dance caller and traveled all the time to call dances would get hassled all the time going through security. At that time square dance music was exclusively on vinyl 45's. He had a special suitcase that held the nearly 200 records he traveled with. It weighed a ton when loaded but in the X-ray nothing shows up. Our local airport got to know him quickly, but he got real tired deplaning in new cities and having to explain again what it was.


We all got a kick out of it.


I'm not a security worker, but I have a story from the other side.

I'm asthmatic and had a peak flow meter in my carry on. This is a device you use to measure how much air you're exhaling. This one was a long cylinder with a tapered end. It had a metal rod in it that the gauge would slide along. When my bag went through x-ray, the guard called another guard over. Elbows poked at each other, and latex gloves went on.

When the guard pulled out the peak flow meter, he looked super confused. He clearly thought he was going to be pulling out a dildo. "Um, what is this?" he asked.

"It's a peak flow meter for my asthma," I explained. "I blow in it. Would you like a demonstration?"

"No, ma'aam. That won't be necessary." But then he cracked, leaned over and asked "Do you mind if I show my friend?"

We all got a kick out of it.


Jolly Roger

I was traveling for work once, I am a freelance technical director, and my son had put a large Jolly Roger sticker on my hard shell laptop case. He was going through his pirate phase. I was opening the case up to put the laptop in a tray for the scanner when the TSA screamed at me to stop. He activated some kind of Purple alert and in seconds I was swarmed by TSA agents and local LEOs.

After much explaining it was revealed the TSA guy saw the Jolly Roger skull and crossbones and thought I was carrying human remains.


Hilarity ensued.

My landlady in college was the stereotypical harmless looking little white haired grandma. She made some ceramic pistols so one of her grandkids could have them on the wall as part of a pirate-themed bedroom redesign. The world had changed since she had flown anywhere so she didn't think twice about tucking them into a carry-on bag. Hilarity ensued.


Travel Smart.

On an episode of Border Security Australia, Brisbanes main airport had to be evacuated and bomb techs called as a grenade had been spotted on the x-ray machine. Bomb techs go in only to discover it's a belt with a metal grenade shaped buckle. Not the smartest thing to travel with.


the common....


Sex toys are pretty common but my favorite are the college girls traveling with their parents. When they realize we need to search their bag you can see the panic take over and silently beg us to not let their parents see what they have.


In the Bag...

Not an airport worker, but something was found in my bag. I was going through security and they ended up running my bag through the x-ray 3 times before they finally asked what the lump of metal was that they were seeing. They showed me the image and I couldn't tell so they went to open my bag. Right when they started unzipping it I realized what it was and blurted out "Oh that's a Hammer!" which was immediately met by, "Sir you cannot bring a hammer on the plane."


That's a Scratch...

From the other side. Early 90s, so very pre 9/11.

My dorm had a pool table with a crappy cue ball. I bought one when I was home and had it in my carry on. A cue ball is apparently dense enough on the x-ray to alarm the staff.


"hold on a second"

May 2000, I'm flying to Florida to propose to my fiancee. My parents know this so they wrap up a gift and say "it's expensive, be careful with it." I threw it in my carry on and didn't think any more of it.

Going through security I'm tapped on the shoulder.

They found something in my interesting backpack, what the hell is it. It looks like some kind of long knife. They pull it out and find my parent's gift. I explain it's a gift from my parents and I'm flying to the US to get engaged. They go "hold on a second" and run it through.

Both the security guys start laughing and tell me "You'll love it, congratulations and please don't open it up on the plane". It was a cake server with a decorative handle.

Now if this had been post 9/11 I'd probably have had an anal probe instead. Fast forward to the end of my flight, I'd told the person sitting next to me I was going to propose. I guess word got around the plane. I had so many handshakes and best wishes as I was leaving the plane, it was pretty awesome! 20 years later, still married.


Not Cool....


My buddy had one of those switchblade combs. Let's just say TSA was not amused.


Just a Piece....

I traveled through the states a few years back. Bought one of those 4 inch long pieces of the golden gate bridges (old strands of the cables: LINK - I'm a bridge engineer, so it fits).

Anyway, given it's a solid lump of metal I knew that it'd get pinged in the X-ray, so I purposely packed it into my carry on so I could explain it.

Sure enough, lots of action when my bag goes through the machine. Questions of "what's in your bag". Looks of disbelief when I say "a piece of the golden gate bridge". They pull it out - SWIPE IT FOR EXPLOSIVE MATERIAL (seriously?) - before saying (once it had come back as a negative test), "this is heavy, you might attack someone with it. Go put it in your checked luggage".