The 15 Most Shocking Things Airport Security Has Found Might Weird You Out

Working as a Transport Security Administration agent can get tedious. Most of the job involves repeating the same instructions over and over, answering disgruntled passengers’ airport security questions, and occasionally patting down strangers. But once in awhile, things get interesting.

Check out these offbeat, disturbing, and just downright weird things TSA agents have confiscated at security. And we saved the best for last (page 15).

1. A bag of eels

bag of eels

TSA found a bag of eels in a checked bag. | TSA via Instagram

The TSA confiscated this terrifying bag of eels, along with 163 tropical fish and 22 invertebrates. A passenger thought he could get away with smuggling them through airport security in a checked bag. No such luck, sir. The passenger then surrendered them to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Next: The following shade of lipstick flatters no one.

2. This lipstick stun gun

A lipstick stun gun

A lipstick stun gun | TSA via Instagram

Now that’s one way to protect yourself on a bad date. A passenger tried to smuggle this bedazzled, 3-million-volt lipstick stun gun in a carry-on bag at the San Diego International Airport. The TSA does not allow stun guns in carry-on luggage, and some states also don’t allow them, period. Check your stun guns under the plane, and check local laws before you go.

Next: This next weapon can’t go under the plane, either.

3. An inert mortar round

Mortar round

Mortar round | TSA via Instagram

As the TSA Instagram account hilariously put it, “Some travelers are extremely cautious about what they pack, while others lob inert mortar rounds into their bags.” Agents discovered this one in a checked bag at the Evansville Regional Airport airport security line. This probably goes without saying, but leave the mortars at home when you travel.

Next: The following passenger couldn’t decide which weapon to bring, so he packed a combo.

4. This bizarre knife-gun

This skull-decorated knife gun (yes, that’s apparently a thing) showed up at the Denver International Airport in a passenger’s carry-on bag. You can bring guns and knives onto a plane, but only in checked baggage. Even toys — like Nerf guns and plastic swords — also can’t come into the cabin, so no funny business.

Next: You also can’t bring this next thing onto the plane.

5. Whatever this is

A paint roller with sandpaper and nails

A paint roller with sandpaper and nails | TSA via Instagram

As the TSA Instagram put it, “This looks like something out of a Mad Max movie. It’s as if Mad Max wanted to paint the Thunderdome with the blood of his enemies.” In fact, someone made this scary-looking item by wrapping a paint roller in sandpaper, then sticking nails all over it. It also popped up in a passenger’s carry-on at Chicago O’Hare in 2017. Just don’t try this, folks.

Next: The following combination also won’t get through airport security.

6. This ‘face tenderizer’

Face tenderizer

Face tenderizer | TSA via Instagram

The TSA called this brass knuckles and meat tenderizer combination a “face tenderizer” and we have to agree. It looks scary, and also doesn’t seem like the kind of thing airport security would allow. And it isn’t. Brass knuckles of any kind have to travel under the plane.

Next: If the TSA also can’t figure out your cargo, watch out.

7. These inert explosives


Explosives | TSA via Instagram

A passenger checked these inert prototype projectiles (used for energetic drilling) in a checked bag at Spokane, according to TSA agents. If the TSA can’t figure out what you’ve packed  through airport security, they may have to evacuate the terminal and call in the bomb squad. Save yourself and your fellow travelers the trouble, and leave shady stuff like these at home.

Next: The following items really should never get on a plane.

8. Gunpowder and a fuse

Gunpowder with a fuse

Gunpowder with a fuse | TSA via Instagram

We can’t believe we have to say this either, but don’t pack gunpowder in your carry-on. Anyone would probably have a hard time rationalizing explosives on a plane, and so did TSA agents. Yes, you can pack safety razors as well as nail-clippers. But leave your bombs at home.

Next: Watch out for this sneaky loophole, too.

9. Not all corkscrews are created equal


Corkscrews | TSA via Instagram

If you have a trip to wine country planned, you probably also want to bring a corkscrew. And you can, sort of. The kind without a little blade to cut the cork wrapper can come in your carry-on, like on the left in this photo. But the more common variety, which has a teeny little knife, cannot. Even though you would have a hard time doing any damage with a blade this small, rules are rules.

Next: Even this following item cannot come on the plane.

10. No gun-shaped mugs, either

Gun-shaped mug

Gun-shaped mug | TSA via Instagram

We know, this gun-shaped mug doesn’t actually shoot, but no replicas or models of weapons can come on the plane, either. You can pack things like this in your checked luggage, however. Not even toy weapons can come through airport security, so that also means no sword-fights in the aisles.

Next: The following items can never fly, period.

11. No fireworks on the plane

Even around Independence Day, you can’t bring your fireworks, firecrackers, sparklers, or any other festive explosives onto an airplane. Not even in checked luggage. These volatile items can go off without much provocation, and you wouldn’t want a fireworks display under the cargo hold while in the air.

Next: This piece of “art” also can’t come with you through the airport security line.

12. This grenade art

Grenade artwork

Grenade artwork | TSA via Instagram

Even art and sculptures made with inert weapons cannot come on the airplane with you. The TSA prohibits grenades, missiles, or other explosives, even in the cargo hold. So if you decide to purchase art using these items while traveling, you should also have it shipped home.

Next: We have to wonder about the following passenger’s thought process.

13. No swords allowed

Even the coolest-looking swords have to travel in the cargo hold, like this one found at the San Francisco airport. It might seem obvious, but if fake swords have to stay out of your checked luggage, so do real ones. That applies to cane swords as well as the straight-up ninja kind. Sorry, Rafael.

Next: The TSA got real punny with the following airport security find.

14. If you saw this, keep it out of your luggage

You’ve probably heard the slogan, “If you see something, say something.” But as the TSA explained on Instagram, “But don’t saw something. If you saw something you see at the airport, there’s a good chance you won’t make your flight. We know it’s a cutting edge tool, but it’ll have to go in your checked bag if you need to fly with it.”

Don’t you love a good pun? TSA agents found this saw in a carry-on during airport security screening at the Atlantic City International Airport.

Next: This guy tried to bring a whole assortment of the following prohibited items.

15. None of this stuff can fly with you

knives and bullets

TSA prohibits these items. | TSA via Instagram

Really, dude? The TSA caught a passenger trying to bring several blades, some bullets, brass knuckles, and what looks like a clip through airport security at the Dulles International Airport. While some of the TSA rules can also sound kind of confusing, this one seems pretty clear. No weapons on the airplane, folks. Ever.

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