Get ready to wonder “What were they thinking?”
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently released its list of the most unusual items confiscated at airport security checkpoints in 2021. As you would expect, the list details some puzzling choices made by people entering U.S. airports.
“It’s here! TSA’s Top 10 Catches of 2021!” the TSA explains in a video with some levity.
Here are the TSA’s Top 10 Catches of 2021. It’s up to you to decide which item is the most unusual.
- Chainsaw (New Orleans International Airport)
- A wine holder shaped like a gun (Sacramento International Airport)
- Fireworks (Syracuse Hancock International)
- Machete (Reagan Washington National)
Bear spray(Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport)
- A meat cleaver (Harrisburg International Airport)
- Gun belt buckle (Honolulu International Airport)
- “Meth-burrito” (Hobby International Airport in Texas)
- Antique pistol (Newark International Airport)
- Bullets in deodorant (Atlantic City International Airport in New Jersey)
Okay, let’s get to what we consider the most unusual item confiscated by the TSA last year: That so-called “meth-burrito.”
During a routine X-ray screening of carry-on luggage on Friday, April 2, at the William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas, a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) saw what appeared to be an unidentified lump inside a traveler’s breakfast burrito. The traveler said it was just a burrito, but the officer asked the traveler to unwrap the burrito for further visual inspection, the TSA explains.
Another officer then assisted with the inspection. Once the burrito was unwrapped, officers noticed a suspicious lump inside the burrito, so they decided to send the burrito through the X-ray scan again.
“Following the second scan, the TSOs were able to see on the X-ray screen what appeared to be black tape and dark wrapping around a large organic mass,” the TSA explains. “Because they suspected there was an illegal substance concealed in the food, they notified the Houston Police Department (HPD), which responded to the security checkpoint. HPD then determined that the lump was crystal meth.”
While it isn’t unusual, the presence of firearms continues to be a growing problem for the TSA. Indeed, 5,674 guns were confiscated at U.S. airports in 2021, the agency told CBS News. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, 85 percent of those firearms were loaded with ammunition.
It should be pointed out that the number of confiscated firearms was at an all-time high last year.
“The number of firearms that our TSA officers are stopping at airport checkpoints is alarming,” David Pekoske, TSA administrator, said in a statement. “Firearms, particularly loaded firearms, introduce an unnecessary risk at checkpoints, have no place in the passenger cabin of an airplane, and represent a very costly mistake for the passengers who attempt to board a flight with them.”
It should be noted that if you are a firearm owner, firearms can be transported by airlines — following strict guidelines.
First, unloaded firearms must be packed in a locked hard-sided container that is traveling as a checked bag. The locked case must completely secure the firearm and it must not be able to be opened easily.
Passengers must also declare the firearm and any ammunition to the airline when they are checking the locked container at the ticket counter.
All of the details about properly traveling with a firearm and ammunition can be found on the TSA’s website.
Know Before You Go
If you don’t want to end up on the TSA’s list of unusual items that were confiscated in 2022, be sure to leave all weapons, drugs, and fireworks at home.
Then, before your next flight, be sure to read all of the TSA’s rules about what can, and cannot, be carried on airplanes. You can find that list here.
You can learn more about the TSA confiscating firearms here: