What People Bring To the Airport

By | August 5, 2009
From the photograher, Dean Shaddock: This was ...
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On Saturday morning, an emotionally disturbed man named Scott McGann showed up at LaGuardia Airport with a ticket on United to Chicago and onward to Oakland, purchased by family. He also showed up with a duffel bag contained an item that was not, but appeared to be a bomb.

The Central Terminal, where all airlines excepting Delta/Northwest and USAirways operate out of, was evacuated from 5:30 through 9:00AM. The airlines who maintain their own terminals also suffered delays, as flight crews could not arrive due to the jam of people.

We gave the matter a lot of thought. A great many people were pissed off that for a fake bomb, the terminal was evacuated. We can excuse the actions of a disturbed individual. But what about apparently sane people? What are they trying to bring into the airport? We reached into the Flight Wisdom bookmark file for some stories we never posted.

  • Back in March, a federal appeals court ruled that licensed firearms owners may not carry guns into parts of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. Georgiacarry.org, a gun rights group, challenged the ban, claiming a law that took effect in July of 2008, which allows licensed firearms owners to carry them on public transportation and in parks and restaurants. Senior U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob threw out the suit, saying public transit systems are not the same as airports and airline passengers are not allowed to carry firearms onboard.
  • The FBI charged a US Airways employee in June with helping his roommate get a concealed, semiautomatic handgun past security and onto a plane from Philadelphia to Phoenix. The employee got the gun in through an employee entrance and then traded bags with his friend so he could get on the plane.
  • The TSA blog answered the all important question last week, you CANNOT take your hand grenade on the plane. Apparently, this needed saying. This does include novelty or replica grenades or other weaponry. If it looks like a grenade on an x-ray, then it will raise a flag. You also can’t take your fireworks on the plane.
  • If you don’t believe this happens, a woman preparing to board a Southwest flight at Birmingham Airport in Alabama advised the TSA while being screened she had an inert grenade. The woman was not arrested, however.
  • The TSA confiscated a toy Pirates of the Caribbean gun and sword purchased at Disneyworld. Apparently, they even caught the TSA officers playing with them later. We’re not sure how real the item looked, but that isn’t the issue. Disney took pity and sent them replacements.
  • Homemade Gadgets – Back to the TSA Blog…Don’t bring your homemade devices online, because the TSA may fear your homemade headphone amp in an altoids tin is a malicious device and confiscate it, or blow it up.

What are your stories? What have you seen, malicious or otherwise, being brought through security, that makes you wonder what they were thinking? What have you tried to bring through security that it surprised you they flagged? Our most amusing was a New York City subway rollsign onboard a US Airways regional jet.

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