These are the most unexpected items flagged at airport security, according to TSA

You might think it's common sense not to stash a medieval crossbow in your carry-on luggage (or in any luggage at all) when you're packing for vacation, but, as a TSA employee I would tell you You, the airport traveler, common sense is subjective. Depending on the scope of items confiscated at airport security checkpoints, there are certainly different perceptions of what items can be traveled with. Bustle spoke with TSA representatives about the most unexpected things flagged in airport security to give you a better idea of ​​how big the scope is. Spoiler alert: Objects range from snowballs and candy wrappers to torture devices. Yes, the TSA saw it all.

Some of the tagged items may seem innocuous, while others definitely fall into the realm of "Why?" Whether you're looking for a reason to feel better because you were recently shamed for forgetting to throw in a bottle of water before going through the airport security line, or you're currently standing in front of your suitcase with nunchucks and wondering if you can this way. If you're going to be flagged by TSA, you'll love this list. What better way to learn about our society than to study the items they brought with them when they traveled?

Oh, and if you're confused about what you can and can't bring, there's an app for that: check out the MyTSA app, which is free and easy to use, or tweet @AskTSA for real-time answers. When in doubt, a TSA representative tells Bustle, "If you plan on traveling with frequently used luggage, empty and repack it before arriving at the checkpoint. You might find something." You may not even Knew there were prohibited items inside. "


According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), knives are the most commonly marked item at security checks. "We've seen everything from machetes to butter knives," TSA tells Bustle. But in their view, these are not failed attempts at violence but the fact that some people simply carry knives with them regularly and forget to throw them away before traveling.

smoke bomb

On November 19, three smoke grenades were discovered in a checked bag at Nashville International Airport and were safely removed, according to a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) representative. Anything resembling explosives is prohibited, so it's shocking how a traveler could think multiple smoke bombs would get through.


True. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) tells Bustle that people are still trying to sneak snakes on planes. In 2018, someone hid a giant snake in a bag inside an electronic console. Thankfully, it was flagged and removed. FYI, this is my worst nightmare.


According to the TSA, snowballs are a very common item marked at security because people often buy them as gifts while traveling and innocently keep them safe in their carry-on luggage. The only problem was that the snowball looked like explosives on the TSA's X-ray equipment and exceeded the allowed amount of liquid. That said, be sure to check it on your luggage if you want to take it home with you.

rocket propelled grenade launcher

Yes. A Florida man checked a bag at Lehigh Valley International Airport this week and the TSA found unassembled parts from a military rocket-propelled grenade launcher, a TSA representative told Bustle in an interview. And the grenades contained inside. I think you can guess where that is going.

peanut butter

It doesn't look like a liquid, but according to the TSA, peanut butter falls into the "spreadable" category and is therefore considered a liquid. So, if you want to take some home, you have to check it out. Yes, that includes chunky peanut butter too.

electronic sex toys

The TSA tells Bustle that while you can definitely travel with personal electronics (aka sex toys like vibrators), they often get flagged during TSA security checks. That's because when they go through the X-ray machine, they show up on TSA's screen as a tangled mess of wires, so your bag must undergo further inspection. In other words, be prepared for a TSA inspection to make sure this fun contraption isn't something more serious.