When heading to the security checkpoint at any airport, your biggest concern is making it through as quickly and easily as possible. Even if you just packed the basics, there’s sometimes a worry that your bag will be pulled for further inspection—which could keep you from making your flight on time. These concerns are normally unwarranted, but travelers do get stopped by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers even when they truly believe they haven’t packed any security no-no’s. Eager to avoid that situation? Read on to discover five surprising items TSA may flag you for at airport security.
1 Snow globes
The holiday season means seeing family, and more often than not, carrying gifts to give them. But if you’re planning to deliver a snow globe to a loved one, be warned that it might not get through security. “If a wrapped gift looks suspicious on an x-ray machine, the only person unwrapping your perfectly wrapped gift will be the TSA screening agent,” she says.
2 Exercise weights
If you’re looking to stay fit—and don’t mind schlepping a heavier bag—you might toss some exercise weights into your carry-on. Doing so can be problematic, however, according to Rebecca Deitsch, founder of the travel blog Day Trip Queen.
“While TSA doesn’t technically forbid weights in your carry-on luggage, they do forbid sports equipment that could be used as a bludgeon,” Deitsch says. “Their example is a baseball bat, but other items can be removed at the discretion of the TSA agent.”
3 Peanut butter
Food is always a questionable addition to your carry-on or personal item, and some foods seem to fall into a gray area. For instance, peanut butter is considered a liquid.
“Last summer, TSA confiscated a jar of peanut butter I was bringing to a family member who lives abroad,” Eric Segalstad, vice president of Gondwana Ecotours, tells Best Life. “I was traveling without checked luggage and didn’t foresee that JIF Extra Crunchy was considered liquid. Now I know!”
4 Christmas crackers
When you think of Christmas “crackers,” your mind might go to some festive food, but these crackers are actually cardboard cylinders that are pulled open to find a small gift inside. They’re often used as table decorations, and while they’re more popular in the U.K. and Canada than in the U.S., you’ve likely seen them during the holiday season. If you’re in charge of supplying them, though, they’re not getting past TSA
According to TSA, these novelties aren’t permitted in your carry-on luggage or your checked bags. And don’t pack bang snaps—those small fireworks that make a snapping noise when thrown against hard surfaces—either.
5 Small metal tools
It’s common sense that any weapon shouldn’t be brought to the airport (unless you’ve followed instructions to transport it properly), but TSA has a wider definition of what can actually be used as a weapon—similar to those two-pound weights. Deitsch recommends looking out for “small metal tools of any type.”
“If you are flying with your guitar and you have extra tuning keys, wire clippers, or any little metal objects, it’s best to put these in your checked luggage, even if they seem inoffensive,” she says. “This is especially true if you are entering a foreign country and there is a language barrier.”
Corkscrews are a bit tricky, as they’re not allowed if they have a blade, per TSA, but if they don’t have a blade, they’re safe to take through security. Swiss Army Knives will be confiscated as well, as the agency says that only “plastic or round bladed butter knives” can come through a checkpoint. When putting them in your checked bag, make sure that they’re “sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors,” per TSA’s requirements.
If you have concerns about what you’re packing, TSA makes it pretty easy to search for items on its website. For items that you can’t find listed, take a picture or send a question to AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger, the agency says.
Good advice from Abby Reinhard for travelicious©
Photo credit: Bestlife.co©