12 Bizarre Objects Caught at Airport Security

  • Is it really that hard to check whether or not you can bring something on an airplane?

Airports and airlines have strict restrictions on what you’re allowed to bring on a plane. If you’re unsure if something can go on a plane, just check online — it’s not like the instructions are hard to find.

Still, every year people get stopped at airport security for trying to get a wide variety of totally mind-boggling objects through security. And we’re not talking about smugglers, either.

Sometimes, people simply aren’t aware they’re carrying something forbidden. Maybe they forgot they had it, were too lazy to find out, or maybe they just don’t care.

Here’s a collection of some bizarre things TSA (and other authorities) have nabbed at various airports.

1. Bullet-Shaped Whiskey Stones

All photos courtesy of TSA (except the chastity belt, that’s public domain).

In 2018, TSA officers at Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport in Idaho made an alarming discovery in a man’s carry-on. The X-ray showed that he had bullets in his bag.

But as it turned out, the “bullets” were completely harmless. They were, in fact, bullet-shaped whiskey stones — pieces of metal meant to cool down alcohol without diluting it.

Yet, the man didn’t get to keep his whiskey stones. That’s even though TSA rules state that deactivated ammunition can be carried on a plane.

2. Two Cattle Prods (in a Guitar Bag)

TSA found two cattle prods inside a guitar case at Dulles Airport in 2022. Yes, the bag also contained a guitar.

Who knows, maybe the prods were part of a band’s live show. The TSA mercifully allowed the prods’ owner to put them in his checked luggage and proceed onto the plane.

3. A Long Knife and an Entire Enchilada

In 2014, TSA stopped a woman at the Sonoma County Airport in California after they found an 8.5-inch knife in her carry-on. The weapon was stored inside a whole enchilada.

Fortunately, the woman hadn’t planned to use the knife for anything but eating. “The passenger’s intent was delicious, not malicious, and she was cleared for travel,” TSA said.

Still, though… Why would you think it’s a good idea to try and bring a knife on a plane?

4. Dead Sea Horses in a Liquor Bottle

Now we’re getting into really bizarre territory. In 2016, TSA in Detroit stopped a person trying to carry a large bottle of liquor onto a plane.

The oversized bottle wasn’t acceptable on its own. But then they also discovered five dead, endangered sea horses floating in the booze.

Look, we don’t know what was going on. The bottle (and the sea horses) were confiscated and handed over to Michigan Fish and Game.

5. A Chastity Belt (That Was Being Worn)

A British woman set off metal detectors at the Athens airport in Greece in 2004. Upon patdown, the security officers noticed she was wearing a metal chastity belt.

According to the woman, her husband had made her wear it during her brief trip to Greece to ensure she didn’t have any extramarital affairs. Isn’t trust in relationships wonderful?

6. A Gas Canister

We can only imagine TSA officers’ bewilderment at Southwest Florida International Airport on March 17 this year. They had to stop a person trying to carry an entire gas canister onto a plane.

Granted, the canister wasn’t full. But still, what the f*** was this guy thinking?

7. Pizza

Now here’s a handy tip for all air travelers. You can take a whole flat-packed pizza with you on a plane.

That was confirmed in 2016 when a pizza made it through airport security. So, if you don’t want to buy overpriced food at the airport, just bring a pie with you — as long as you don’t forget any utensils in the box.

8. A (Deactivated) Explosive Vest

There was a bit of alarm at Indianapolis International Airport in March 2013. TSA officers discovered an explosive suicide vest with electric matches and bags of potassium chlorate and titanium powder in a man’s checked bag.

He wasn’t a terrorist, though. The man turned out to be an explosives instructor who was traveling with a fully deactivated vest that he uses during his lessons.

We couldn’t verify if he got to keep his training aide. But we’re ready to err on the side of “no.”

9. An Antique Cannon Barrel

The TSA regularly has to stop people trying to sneak a firearm onto a plane. But it’s not every day they see an entire cannon.

In 2014, TSA discovered a full-sized antique cannon barrel in a passenger’s checked bag at the Kahului Airport. Now, the thing was harmless, but we suppose it still counts as a firearm that should’ve been declared.

10. An Anti-Tank Weapon

Speaking of cannons… In 2012, TSA stopped a passenger who had an anti-tank weapon in their checked bag.

We’re not kidding. They had an AT4 recoilless shoulder-mounted anti-tank launcher.

This one the passenger didn’t get to keep. “Anti-tank weapons, expended or live, are prohibited from being transported in carry-on and checked bags,” said TSA.

11. A Human Skull

The airport security line at Fort Lauderdale Airport turned into a crime scene in 2015. While screening some clay pots, TSA officers discovered a human skull in one of them.

Apparently, the passenger had purchased the pots and had no idea they contained human remains. Where the skull came from and who it belonged to, we couldn’t find out.

12. 163 Fish and 22 Invertebrates

Sometimes you have to travel with pets. But a passenger at Miami Airport in 2015 took it to a ridiculous extreme.

The person had on them 163 fish — including a bag of live eels — and 22 invertebrates. A little dog or cat might be okay to fly but, unsurprisingly, this aquarium collection didn’t.

The passenger surrendered the fish and other creatures to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.