In the USA, the government agency in charge of airport security is the TSA (Transportation Security Administration).
In the process of screening carry-on items they come across some insane – and often totally prohibited – things.
One of the ways they help get the message across that no, you can’t bring firecrackers, nunchucks or an enormous lobster on your flight, is with a brilliant Instagram account.
It was launched in 2013, has more than 980,000 followers and is filled with educational-but-fun posts generously littered with perfect puns and genius dad humour – i.e. totally not what you’d expect from a government agency.
And, as a bonus, there are also loads of photos of gorgeous and fluffy TSA explosive detection experts (of the canine variety).
The Instagram account is so good, in fact, that in 2015 Rolling Stone ranked it the fourth-best on its list of top 100 accounts — one slot above Beyoncé’s and two above NASA’s!
Here’s a selection of some of the items highlighted during 2018 as examples of what you most definitely cannot bring on board – complete with excerpts from the fun Insta captions…
“It’s safe to sleep on Elm Street again. Freddy lost his glove at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). He got burned after forgetting to take it off before going through the TSA checkpoint.”
“If you’re looking for that perfect electrifying shade of lipstick, this one’s a real knockout! Just don’t pack it in your carry-on bag, or you could get grounded. This bedazzled 3-million-volt lipstick stun gun was discovered in a carry-on bag at the San Diego International Airport.”
“We think it’s safe to say that the traveler who packed this prefers their rice wine with a bit of a sting. One might even go as far as to say that they like their libations to have a bite. Either way, it definitely looks like something that could get you all coiled up and hissin’.”
“An Erie International Airport (ERI) TSA Officer let the cat out of the bag this week. Literally. And the cat’s name is Slim. Slim’s owners packed her in their checked bag. While this could have been extremely dangerous for the 6-month old cat, Slim is just fine and is currently residing under the care of the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania.”
“A traveler on her way to the Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) in Barbados attempted to smuggle the snakelet inside of an external hard drive packed in her checked bag. If you think airplane seats can feel constricting, imagine how this little guy felt! Talk about bad memories!”
“We know it didn’t go down this way, but we’d like to imagine that the groom lobbed these inert well-dressed grenades over his shoulder to his groomsmen, just as bouquets are tossed to bridesmaids.”
“This batarang was discovered in a carry-on bag at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI). Holy Guacamole! Does BWI actually stand for ‘Bruce Wayne International?'”
Note: Sadly, the guy in charge of this brilliant Instagram account, Curtis “Bob” Burns, died unexpectedly in October last year. We’re honouring him with this story, and hope that the TSA has someone to continue his brilliant legacy!