I always get swabbed for explosives at airports — I suppose I look like the sort. Apart from that, however, nothing interesting ever happens to me at airport security.
Luckily for Herald readers, other folk have had more exciting experiences, and we have rounded up some of the best.
TheMilkman01 has a goodie, "My grandmother emigrated to Spain and we were helping her move her stuff to the new place. She was 92 at the time, about 160 cm and a very neat and civilised person. Security checked her bag, checked it again, called some more security guys and pointed - and then they asked if she had anything in her bag that was illegal. Grandmother said no, and they asked if they could search it. They couldn't find anything at first so they asked her again if she had a knife or something like that in the bag. Granny thought for a while and the she suddenly remembered. She unzipped a hidden pocket and pulled out a 15cm switch blade that she forgot about it. Apparently she used to carry a knife when she went to the market with her friends and wanted to get a bit of food."
Encrowpy "It was me. I found a taxidermy chicken on a trip, and had to buy it. Then I had to get her home. Well, she wouldn't fit in my suitcase, so I had to carry her in my arms. That chicken amused EVERYONE. Absolutely every person in line suddenly wasn't grumpy anymore. TSA all laughed, especially when she had to go through the x-ray; passengers who were irritated at lines started smiling. I loved it. 10/10 would travel with a chicken again."
TheDutchGuy87 "Went through customs in Tunisia, And the security people trolled me by telling me my deck of cards was illegal. Guy took a card out and slit it across his throat making a really serious face... I was terrified. Then four of them went up to me, all looking very serious, as if they were going to arrest me. Then they all laughed their asses off."
VultureLady, "Bought a wiener dog corkscrew for my fiancé at a gift shop the same day as my flight. Threw it in my backpack and totally forgot to put it in my checked luggage. Noticed security grabbing my bag off the belt, they pulled out the corkscrew and I gasped and said 'MY WEINER DOG!!!' I must have looked genuinely concerned about that corkscrew because two TSA guys decided it didn't seem like much of a threat and let me keep it. Shout out to those TSA guys for letting me bring my derpy gift home!"
Another time, TSA was brutish, "An Indian friend of mine's name is pronounced the same as Shoe-Bomb (his name is Shubham). One time, with his extended family as a young child, he had walked off somewhere, and his uncle called out his name. Of course that led to him being tackled by TSA," Dakayonnano shared on Reddit.
PotsPansAmsterdam's kid nearly caused An Incident, "My child once packed a ziplock full of sand in her suitcase. Turns out on X-ray this looks like a bomb. Also turns out her sand was full of rotten seaweed and tiny little (dead) sea creatures. Opening that bag was like the bog of eternal stench. Three airports we hauled that damn bag through - and then I made her throw it away."
GloomyNebula also caused a stir, "When I was around 4, me and my mom would go visit my aunt down in Southern California and every damn time I would bring back a Ziploc baggie full of seaweed so that I could take a bath with it back home and pretend like I was in the ocean. Every time the bag got alarmed on the scanner. The TSA always wanted to throw it away but I would always start bawling my eyes out and they would let me keep it. My mom told me recently that she kept hoping they would throw it away so she didn't have to deal with it.
WillingPublic had a close call in his younger years; "In college many years ago I had a part-time job demonstrating a dollar counting machine (they were relatively new then). Once I had to fly somewhere to give a demo and took my duffel bag full of $1 bills. The guy searching that bag called for his boss to come over. The boss was experienced enough to figure out that real drug dealers don't traffic in low-value currency and he kept me from being arrested."
Of course, the security agents have the best yarns, as oxo_cube demonstrates; "A live spider. Passenger didn't know and wasn't large but he opened his bag, it crawled out, and I screamed. Human ashes. Homemade dildos. The woman gave me her business card. A live cat. Antlers with rotting flesh still on them. My favourite was a magicians bag. Alerted for explosives. He kept pulling bits out of pockets and showing me bits of his act."
Commander_Alex_Mason, "Did you know that there's a sports drink that comes in a bottle that's shaped exactly like an M2 grenade? I didn't, until I was working an x-ray machine in a military airport and some f***** decided it would be a good idea to put a bottle in his checked bag."
TheGeneralStrike has a powerful story, "I was flying out of Amsterdam to Minneapolis. Some quick background: this was just after 9/11, and I'm a scruffy looking unshaven young man, who looks South-American/Arabic to some but am an ethnically Jewish dude. On with the story. So I'm boarding the plane, and I get tackled by security. They haul me into an interrogation room, pull my luggage off the plane, search it and talk to me about drugs and terrorism for two hours. Thinking my plane is gone, I just tell them the truth, and they keep talking to me. This goes on and on, and I'm wondering how I'm going to get to North America.
"Eventually, they let me go, and tell me my all luggage will stay in the EU until further notice. So they tell me to have a nice flight, and off I go to the bar. With, literally, nothing but the clothes on my back, the shoes on my feet, some euros and my Passport, this seemed like the logical place to go. Suddenly, I hear my name over the intercom, and a request to report to my old gate. I wander over, and it turns out that the airline had been instructed to delay the flight in case of security risks or some such.
"When I got on that plane, the stares, the looks, the hatred, they haunt me to this day. I felt like screaming "How do you think I feel?!" But I just drank the whole way to Minnesota. Oh, I did get my luggage back. In three months. Anything remotely smashable was smashed into, ironically, powder."