Well, that’s alarming: TSA blog shares some of its more startling recent findings

TSA photo
TSA photo (Transportation Security Administration)

If you’ve never taken a few minutes to check out the blog for the Transportation Security Administration, you’re really missing out.

How else would we learn all the off-the-wall -- and sometimes, well, dangerous -- items people are trying to bring on their flights?

The blog is written well, it’s full of helpful travel tips (can you fly with razors? How do you pack batteries or medication? What about aerosols?) and we usually try to check in every so often to benefit from all the stories and advice.

And without further ado, we’re going to share some excerpts from one of the blog’s most recent posts.

Get ready to talk firearms and all things Mike Wazowski.

First things first.

Fun fact: The TSA screened more than 26 million passengers and crew members during the holiday travel period, from Nov. 22 to Dec. 2.

Dec. 1 marked the TSA’s busiest day in history.

In a similar time period …

And if you look at the time between Nov. 18 and Dec. 1, the TSA said officials found 153 firearms in people’s carry-on bags.

Of the 153 firearms discovered, 127 were loaded and 47 had a round chambered.

Federal officials aren’t trying to prevent people from flying with firearms.

Pack it correctly if you’re going to travel with a gun -- and that means, your firearm doesn’t belong in a carry-on bag.

“Bringing a firearm to the security checkpoint may lead to a civil penalty of up to $13,333 or an arrest,” blog author Jay Wagner said. “And if you’re a TSA Pre✓® member, you could lose your status. Check out our transporting firearms and ammunition page to learn how to pack it properly.”

Here’s that page, if you’re curious or know someone who could use the guide.

Oh, and if you’d like to see a list of all the firearm discoveries, click or tap here.

Pivoting to another topic ...

Leave Mike Wazowski at home!

We all know Mike, right? Sully’s been jealous of his good looks since the fourth grade.

Here’s what Wagner wrote about a Mike doppelgänger: “Not all monsters have grenades, but when they do, they can’t fly! Every day, TSA officers answer the call to keep dangerous items and monsters off your flight. When we find replicas of dangerous items, … it makes our job harder and slows everything down. So just leave these items at home.”

Not to mention, packing replica explosives can also lead to a civil penalty or an arrest. This scary guy was found Nov. 25 by TSA officers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

And in Syracuse, New York …

TSA officers found two inert C-4 explosive training aids in a checked bag, Nov. 21.

That traveler, who was trying to fly out of Syracuse Hancock International Airport, could see a four-digit civil penalty.

“It might say ‘inert’ on the outside, but our officers aren’t going to start experimenting at the checkpoint,” Wagner said. “This is why we rely on explosives specialists, which can take time and lead to delayed or cancelled flights.”

No one wants that!

For what it’s worth, the blog said the passenger voluntarily abandoned the property and rebooked his or her flight after forgetting the items were in the bag.

Real or replica explosives are not allowed in carry-on or checked bags.

Finally, that will be a hard NO on grenades.

Just don’t pack them!

“Don’t be that guy,” Wagner writes. “The most common explanation we hear from travelers for prohibited items is, ‘I forgot it was in my bag.’ … Save yourself some money and embarrassment by thoroughly checking your bags for prohibited items before heading to the airport.”

Sound advice.

Pictured below are, from left:

  • An empty grenade found by TSA officers at Louisiana’s Monroe Regional Airport on Dec. 1.
  • An empty grenade discovered during X-Ray screening at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Nov. 24.
  • A novelty belt buckle grenade discovered at Louisville International Airport, Nov. 28.
TSA photo
TSA photo (Transportation Security Administration)

Flying soon and feeling under-prepared?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Check out this handy What Can I Bring? tool.

If you have questions about the security process, you can even contact AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook.

“Our AskTSA team will happily answer even the most outlandish travel-related questions,” Wagner promises.

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