You know when you're traveling by plane and you can't remember if you can bring a whole tube of toothpaste or if it has to be a mini one? Or if you're wondering, how about my antique Chinese throwing star collection, will that be a problem? What about my dog, the one I had stuffed and keep on a bookshelf at home?
The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has some pretty strict rules (with good reason) for what can go in your carry-on bag, what has to be checked, and what can't fly with you at all. If you've got a question as to what you can take with you, you can just tweet a picture of the item to @AskTSA (or send it via Facebook Messenger) and they'll let you know ASAP. But sometimes people just pack stuff and hope for the best. As you might imagine, TSA agents come across some pretty unusual things during their inspections of passengers' bags. Here are just a few of them, from the hidden gem that is the official TSA Instagram account.
1. Huge lobster
Allowed! And it doesn't even need a seat of its own.
2. Cooler full of crawfish
Also allowed! After all, they're just small lobsters, right? Basically? Just go with me on this one. They're all just insects of the sea, anyway.
3. Meat slicer
No luck. You can bring it, but it's got to be checked. Once you've removed your meat slicer from your carry-on bag, though, you've got so much extra room for the little odds and ends you might need on your trip—like your wallet, ticket, Kindle, phone, keys, etc.
4. Propane gas tanks
Um, nope. Those babies are not going anywhere with you, even if you poured them into little 3 ounce bottles. So no, you won't be grilling on the plane.
5. Flare gun
You can check it, but—surprise!—you are not bringing that sucker onto the plane with you. You're going to have to find a different way of getting the flight attendants' attention.
Yeah, no way on these. Not carry-on, not checked, not at all. So you might as well go set them off in the long-term parking lot before getting on the plane.
7. Giant scissors
What even would you do with scissors that big? They weren't allowed, so we'll never know.
8. Just a couple of swords
When you just want to bring a couple of swords with you, like one does.
9. Anti-tank weapon
Hey guess what NOPE.
10. What even is this knife thing?
TSA agents found this in a passenger's carry-on bag, but it had to be checked. Hopefully he didn't have to slay any dragons on the plane.
This can be in a checked bag. You'll just have to make do without it during the flight.
12. Gas mask
This is a tricky one—gas masks are allowed in carry-ons, but bullets (even replica ones) are not. This one has to be checked until you land at your destination (the zombie apocalypse?).
13. Sword or stun canes
Sure, you can bring a cane onto the flight with you, but not if it's also a weapon. As the TSA caption for this pic reads, "Most people do not realize they have a sword in their cane." Whaaaaaat? That would be, imho, the number one selling point of a cane. "Will it help me stand and walk?" "Yes." "But will it also help me vanquish my foes." "You betcha."
14. Heroin wrapped up like presents
Sure, you can put your heroin into your carry-on ba—just kidding, come on, that shit is illegal, and not only cannot it not go on the plane at all, the TSA agents are required to call the police. Yes, even if you wrap it up all pretty.
15. 92 pounds of pot
Maybe the fact that it was 92 pounds was a little bit of a giveaway.
16. 17 bags of pot
17 vacuum sealed bags of weed. Nice that someone found a new use for Space Bags®. But still a no go.
17. Enchilada knife
"What?? I, uh, I don't know HOW that got in there! I'm going to go back and complain to the manager! I definitely told him 'NO KNIVES' this time."
18. A few tactical axes
Just a few axes, no big deal.
19. Comb knife
The TSA Instagram account has a surprising number of comb knives. But this one actually has packaging that says "COMB KNIFE." Super subtle.
20. World's largest teddy bear
This sad-looking bear couldn't sit with its owner (who turned out to be a YouTuber trying to pull a prank—he'd even bought a ticket for the teddy). The airline refunded the ticket, and offered to check the bear, but I guess since the stunt had failed, Teddy was no longer wanted. This sort of stuffed animal abandonment happens all too often. Luckily, the bear has now found a new life in L.A. Check out his upcoming NBC pilot, Bear With Me.
21. Jar of live bees
Sure, why not, what could possibly go wrong? Actually, in a case like this, it's not up to TSA, it's up to the individual airline whether they want to let live insects on the plane. Seems like it'd be a hassle, serving each of them tiny little drinks and snacks, and there's no way they'd agree on an in-flight movie.
22. Snakes in stockings
[Insert obligatory snakes on a plane joke here.]
23. Live parrots
Um, nope. Especially not when they're wrapped in socks and taped to your body and they are also an endangered species that you are obviously trying to smuggle out of the country. Polly want freedom?
24. Bag of eels
A bag of eels?? Well, that's a slippery situation! The passenger was also trying to bring 163 marine tropical fish. Hmm, certainly something fishy about this traveler. Okay, I'm done with the puns now, sorry.
Dogs are allowed on planes, but not IN LUGGAGE. The owner said her dog climbed in when she was packing and apparently she didn't notice. Uhhhh, that seems…questionable. Like, wouldn't you notice your dog was gone when you went to say goodbye to it? I'm just sayin'.
26. Bottle full of dead endangered seahorses
No dice. The bottle is too big for carry-on, and the dead seahorses are prohibited (although once they're dead I don't really know that they're endangered anymore…seems like the danger has already happened).
27. Human skull
Oh, you know, just some skull fragments in clay pots. What, don't most clay pots have bones in them?
28. Mummified head
Yes, this mummified head of Jeremy Bentham can accompany you on the plane in your carry-on, as long as it's "properly packaged, labeled, and declared." (Note to self: Google how to properly package and declare a mummified head for airline travel.)
29. Texas Chainsaw Massacre prop
Okay, this prop made it on the plane, but there's no information about whether he was put in cargo or first class.
Allowed! You can bring your hubcap with you in your carry-on! Wait a minute, is that stolen? Haha, just kidding, I'm sure the TSA doesn't care, on the plane you go!
Bonus: Explosive-sniffing dog cards!
Apparently the TSA has cards (like baseball card-style) for the explosive detection canines at the airports. These are real physical cards, but I don't know how you get them. All I know is I WANT TO COLLECT THEM ALL!