25 Odd Confiscations: The TSA on Instagram

Shannon Whitney

I’m going to go ahead and guess the TSA security check point is not your favorite part of the airport. Mine is the Hudson News, where I pretend I’m deciding which magazine to buy and actually reading the articles I want, without purchasing anything.

But, have your seen TSA’s Instagram account? Well, if you’re not one of the 301,000 followers, please check it out!

They are one of the few arms of the government that does social media right. The account shares photos of confiscated items and their adorable search dogs. If you think it’s going to be a couple of jars of peanut butter and full-size sunscreen, you are mistaken. Even 14 years after 9/11, people are still traveling with shocking weapons, both concealed and poorly packed.

They have perfectly blended dry humor, subtle education, and just enough puppies. Scanning the photos makes you appreciate their hard work and wonder about some of the people who fly. They truly have seen it all.

Today we’ll highlight the top 25 and maybe learn something along the way. Be prepared to be astounded by the creativity, the craft, and the sheer idiocy of some of our fellow travelers.  Hopefully you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and pick up a tip or two.

Instead of our usual packing tips and tricks, go ahead and file most of these under do not try this at home

You Can’t Fly That

1. Deodorant Safe?

Using an old deodorant for safekeeping? Awesome. Storing a knife? Less awesome. Turns out those x-ray machines aren’t as gullible as pickpockets.

knife concealed in deodorant

2. Guns & Ammo

Did you know you can travel with a firearms and/or ammunition? You totally can, but only if you declare it in your checked bag. Here are all the details. Notice those details don’t include wrapping in plastic wrap.

follow firearm packing guidelines

3. Teddy’s Packin’

Let’s assume these stuffed animals weren’t packed by a child.

knives in stuffed animals

4. Corkscrew: Yes. Knife: No

You can (and probably should) travel with a corkscrew. Just be sure it doesn’t have a knife on it.


5. Just Say No To Knives. Period.

Boot knives are very cool, but you have to leave them at home or buy them when you get where you’re going. When you travel you could use those pockets for extra bandaids or a maybe a pen?

boot knives

6. Praise The Lord & Pass The Ammunition

Classic hidden compartment in a Bible!  Again, could be a great place for some extra cash, but this will add significant weight to your bag. We recommend getting the Bible app and packing your bullets according to TSA guidelines.

bullets in a bible

7. That’s a Dynamite Carry On!

Yosemite Sam usually just drives to avoid getting his dynamite confiscated. If you travel with real or fake dynamite of your own, you may want to consider other methods of transportation.


8. Hair Cut?

While this looks like a practical travel tool for a lot of reasons, it’s probably not worth getting arrested. Leave your comb knives at home, people.

comb knife

9. Puppy Power

We interrupt this list of weapons and did-you-knows with a dog. We are talking about Instagram, after all. There are quite a few dogs on the TSA feed so we can get to know their team.

true dog

10. In The Grim Reaper’s Carry On?

I can’t think of the last time my sickle has come in handy, but you know this person is the kind of traveler who packs a lot of extras “just in case.”


11. Klingon Carry On?

While this weapon is a necessity for space travel, it’s way too dangerous for air travel. (If you’ve never seen this before, it’s modeled after a Star Trek weapon.)

klingon batleth

12. Head Hunter’s Carry On?

Imagine, you purchase some sweet ceramics on vacation and you’re taking them home to display on your mahogany bookshelves.  While in the security line, the officer pulls you aside. You’re expecting a compliment on your decorative jar, instead he tells you there is a HUMAN SKULL inside one of them. Detectives Benson and Stabler have to get involved and your souvenir turns into a whodunnit chase.

skull in a jar

13. People: No. Blades. Ever.

If we have learned anything from this Instagram feed, it’s that you can buy a knife that looks like pretty much whatever you want. Also, you cannot fly with any of them.

hidden knives

14.  Cell Phone Stun Gun? Who Knew?

As a precaution, they have started stopping everyone with this model cellphone because it’s obviously a concealed weapon and something people would talk or text on in 2015.

cell phone stun gun

15. Leave Your Shoes On, Kids

Besides cute dogs, there are occasionally cute kids featured. This one is to remind you kids don’t have to take off their shoes in line!

cute kid

16. Pick Up Your Passport

Here’s an image to strike fear into the hearts of world travelers. This is a pile of passports left behind at LAX. Each of those passports represents a full day of hyperventilating, tears, and travel stress. Double check where your passport is at least six times each day.


17. You Can Bring Live Fish

You CAN bring live fish through the TSA and onto a plane. And, you can do it in a container of more than 3.4 oz of water (lucky fish!) but you can’t put them in your checked luggage. And, there are rules. A plastic bag won’t cut it.


18. The TSA Are The Good Guys

You’re running behind at Newark Airport. It’s been a rough morning and you spilled coffee on your Armani travel suit. The leather on your brief case was scuffed as you got into your Lexus on the way to the airport. Somehow you managed to leave behind your Cartier watch. You buy internet on the plane and waste some sky time scrolling through Instagram and see this post. BOOM. Your watch is found! Big sigh of relief. Can we please get a round of champagne for the first class cabin?

diamond watch

19. No Grenades

Turns out you can’t pack any grenades, ever. Even fake ones.


20. In a Ninja’s Carry On?

There are a lot of throwing stars on the TSA Insta feed. This makes me think I may need to get into throwing stars. What am I missing out on?

throwing star

21. “It’s Oregano Officer… I Swear!”

Let’s get real, if you carry illegal stuff, they will call the police.


22. Just Pack It In Your Checked Bag Already

TSA wants to make this extra clear: you cannot have knives, guns, guns that look like knives or knives that look like guns. All great keepsakes, and all very prohibited.

knives that look like guns

23. Pack it Properly. Not in Your Carry On

Double check your carry on for ammo. This happens all the time and is extra scary in other countries. Bonus points for this artsy shot.


24. Pie in the Sky

Surprisingly, no knife was hidden in this pecan pie. Just your friendly reminder you can fly with a pie. Big props if you share it with your row mates during your flight.

pecan pie

25. Just Mail It

When I bring back treasures from abroad, I always look for the right mix of chic and dangerous. This Eiffel Tower really fits the bill. Just remember to ship it home next time!

eiffel tower dagger

All these posts and more can be found on TSA’s account. To avoid being featured in a future post, check your questionable items using the TSA website.


If you travel regularly within the US, security regulations probably come second nature while packing. TSA’s Instagram account proves not everyone is familiar with them. Here are 25 of our favorites.


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