When traveling via plane, there are certain rules we need to adhere to. These rules are in place not only for our safety, but also so that things can run smoothly. But there are times when people ignore these rules or are just not used to them. And these are the moments that make these hilarious, weird and downright scary stories possible.
From dangerous animals to actual people and chastity belts, we’ve just about seen it all. And if you’d like to read about some of the strange things that people have tried to get past airport security, keep reading.
38. A Child in the Suitcase
I worked as a TSA a few years ago. There are hundreds of stories of naughty toys and other gross stuff, but the weirdest was a suitcase with a child in it.
The child was about two years old, and the parents did not want to pay for another ticket. They were stopped at the gate, though.
37. He Was Just “Sleeping”
My friend works at the John Lennon airport and he found a family smuggling their dead father through airport security in a wheelchair to avoid paying fees.
When they’re questioned about it, the family kept saying that he was just sleeping. Needless to say, the cops were soon involved.
36. A Guarantee of Faithfulness
A man was stopped by security when passing through the metal detector. It turned out that he was wearing a chastity cage as a guarantee for his wife during his vacation.
Of course, he didn’t have the key to unlock himself before going through, so he just had to face the consequences. So, he had to do the whole strip-search routine, and that the security peeps sent the rookie to do it, who was stammering throughout and clearly far out of his comfort zone.
35. Cash In A Checked Bag
When I was working for USAir, TSA notified us that one of our passengers was flying with a checked bag that had around $6,000 cash. It wasn’t in a bundle or banded together, but in $50s and $100s strewn throughout the bag. The bag looked like the passenger had just thrown random belongings in it without seriously packing, and there was no organization (clothes weren’t folded, etc.).
They searched him again, didn’t find anything else, and although it was a suspicious way to travel with money, it wasn’t illegal, so they let him go. They did give him the cash to hand carry, just because it’s stupid to have cash in a checked bag.
34. The Mannequin and the Midget
A friend of mine works as a flight attendant. She told me about some guy who was stopped from going on a plane because he had a suitcase full of female mannequin parts, heads, bodies, etc., all taken apart. Apparently, the security thought he was smuggling something, but it just turned out that he liked mannequins.
Another story she told me was about a lady screaming that x-rays weren’t real, but there was a little person in the machine going through her bag to steal things.
33. That Device Will Make You Blind!
One day, I was doing a bag check on a strange dense metal item. It was a woman and her son and the item was some weird piece of metal. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it wasn’t dangerous. Anyway, she saw what it was and yelled at her son, “Don’t look or you’ll go blind!” She then whispered to me that it was a Kegel exerciser.
I re-ran the bag through the x-ray so the operator could see what it looked like without the item in the bag and he said, “What the heck was that?!” I told him and he had no idea what Kegels were and why someone would need to exercise them. I gave her the bag back and tried not to die laughing because of her poor sheltered child.
32. The Unprepped Muskox Heads
A hunter returning from Canada brought back some unlicensed animals. All were unprepped and still-bleeding severed muskox heads, wrapped in plastic.
The whole baggage system for half the airport had to be shut down and cleaned, along with a couple of our machines.
31. Sexy Time Spoons
While I was analyzing an image on the x-ray machine, I realized that the bag was filled to the brim with all different types of spoons.
I pulled it aside and asked the passenger what the deal was. He looked me straight in the face and said he uses them to spank his wife; it’s their “sexy time” spoons.
30. “That’s My Pet Rock!”
I’m not airport security, but one time I was in the security line with my parents and little sister and we got stopped because they found something in her bag. The person at the scanner opens my little sister’s backpack and pulls out a rock the size of a grapefruit.
He just looks at us and goes, “What’s this?” and my little sister goes, “That’s my pet rock!” He put it back in the bag and told us we were good. She took her pet rock on the plane and my parents were totally mortified.
29. A Chicken in A Hoodie
My friend’s dad told me about a woman who tried to take a whole cooked chicken through the scanner in the pocket of her hoodie.
She tried to play it off like she was pregnant, but was clocked on the x-ray as having a weird looking baby. She then tried to eat it as fast as possible, while it was covered in the hoodie. The funny thing is that she could have taken it through if she’d just put it through with her luggage!
28. She Drank It All
While working for a company before the security of the TSA line, I witnessed a lady get denied entry due to a massive bottle of bubbly.
Somehow, she got it open, drank the whole thing in what seemed like one second (I was just in shock, didn’t think about time) and proceeded on through. This was at 6 in the morning.
27. This One is Really Alarming
I’m an airline pilot in Europe, and I once had a passenger in Italy present a weapon to us on the flight deck and wanted to know what he should do with it. It turned out he was an Italian police officer and was used to leaving it on the flight deck.
Our airline did not permit weapons on board. He either had to leave it, or he couldn’t fly, so he had to offload himself. The scary thing about it was that, if he hadn’t mentioned the weapon to us, no one else would have – not the security personnel or the handling agent. Needless to say, reports were filed on Italian security procedures.
26. Two Suitcases of Empty Egg Cartons
A guy once passed through with two suitcases filled with egg cartons. Empty egg cartons. That was it.
After some questioning, we let him go- he refused to answer a single question and only kept asking, “Is this illegal? Why am I not free to go?” I lie awake at night wondering what his story was.
25. Just Cash and Magazines
As an airport security worker, I have seen all kinds of things try to go through, like kitchen sinks, engine parts, chainsaws and blowtorches.
But my all time favorite was the man who came off a flight from Haiti after the earthquake with a suitcase stuffed with nothing but cash and adult magazines. There were no clothes, no keepsakes, no paperwork from his homeland beyond his passport- just cash and adult magazines.
24. Hiding Inside the Guitar
A guitar belonging to an old lady, probably mid 70’s, comes in through the scanner and I noticed there was something inside the guitar. We couldn’t see what it was so I decided to make a security check.
I asked the old lady to open up the guitar case and she became really nervous and avoided all sorts of eye contact, as if she was truly frightened. I noticed it but I wanted to keep things as calm as possible, so I proceeded to open up the case, then removed the strings. It turns out that the lady just couldn’t find a proper place to put her toy, so she hid it in the guitar. I struggled to hold my laughter in and just said, “Miss, the next time you bring your radio with you, make sure to remove the batteries before the flight.”
23. Smelling Something Fishy
One passenger passed through with four strange looking suitcases. When the bags were scanned, we couldn’t make sense of what we saw, so we had to open the weird suitcases. We expected explosives, but what we found was actually bags of water housing 240 live fish of various species and sizes.
When the passenger was questioned about his strange and highly illegal cargo, we found out that he had apparently bought the fish at a local pet store and was trying to get them home.
22. Not Just One, But Hundreds of Exotic Snakes
An older man turned up to the airport. When his bags were put through the X-ray scanner, hundreds of reptiles were detected and he was arrested.
When his bags were fully opened and explored, we found hundreds of exotic snake species packed into plastic boxes, accompanied by a pair of his socks. It is thought that he was a member of a gang attempting to smuggle the exotic, endangered animals in order to sell them.
21. Live Lobsters
Many years ago, I flew back into Sydney from London. Ahead of me in the queue were passengers from a flight from Yugoslavia. The customs officer opened a suitcase and leaped back with a very loud shout.
He then reached into the case and pulled out two lobsters which were still waving around in the bag. The passenger had brought them for her relatives because she didn’t think you could get them in Australia.
20. The Armpit Sandwiches
Neither of these was in luggage, but the lady had McGriddles sandwiches tucked into each armpit. They both fell when she was asked to raise her arms for the scanner. She thought that food wasn’t allowed through so she was going to smuggle them in her armpits.
I asked the lady if she had anything left in her pockets. She proceeded to reach into her shirt, down into her bra, pull out a set of teeth, and pop them into her mouth! She also had fake body parts; part of her brain, eyes, fingers, toes, intestines, and even her heart. Some of it looked very realistic, specifically the details on the fingers, toes and eyes.
19. An Extremely Powerful Magnet
Believe it or not, one passenger brought a high-powered magnet. This thing was so powerful that, while still in the bag, it was ripping off the rollers on our conveyor and literally took three adult men to get off. If you put this thing around 1.5 feet from a metal object and weren’t holding it properly, it would fly out of your hand.
One of my co-workers who was working that day had braces and if I didn’t stop him, he probably would’ve gotten his teeth ripped out. It was just so strange and random. We didn’t let him keep it.
18. The Human Body Parts
My dad works for the airlines and the scariest story he told me was when he and a few others were loading containers onto a plane. One guy accidentally dropped a container and when he picked it back up, the container opened and there was a severed head and various human limbs all packaged in clear bags.
This package was going to some medical place, hence the body parts, but he said that it scared the guy so bad, that he went home for the day.
17. A Golden Toy for Matthew
Last year, I had a passenger standing outside security looking awkward and uncomfortable. The security guard kept looking over so I knew it was a matter of time before he came to question the guy. So he comes over, and says “I have an item in my bag, but not sure if it’s any trouble getting through security.” The guard asked what it was, and he said it’s “a golden encrusted naughty toy for a friend.”
The guard asked to see it just to make sure, and lo and behold, in its own little silk pouch, was a golden encrusted toy with Matthew boldly written on it.
16. The iSmuggler
This happened in 2014. A man was spotted walking strangely and his jerky movements aroused suspicion among security agents. When he passed through the security, the metal detector was set off.
We decided to have him inspected and it turned out the man had about 90 iPhones strapped to his body and was intending to sell these devices at a high price.
15. Not Just One, but Two Dogs
I was waiting in the line at security behind a lady with two bags. She put both bags down on the conveyor belt and opened one up to grab something. One of the dogs decided this was its cue to make itself known and popped its head out the bag.
The security line was halted and she was asked to open the bags revealing not just one dog, but another one. I really have no idea what was going through her head.
14. Stacked Live Turtles
I was going through security at KMCO (the Orlando Airport) and looked over at the TSA x-ray screen. A small woman was transporting sixteen live turtles inside a black carry on bag. They were stacked on top of each other, but you could see the shells outlined perfectly and a couple of turtle legs wiggling.
The TSA officer stopped the belt and was like what the heck? He called over two other TSA officers immediately and radioed for a supervisor. I had a flight that I had to work so I couldn’t stick around but I did see the TSA officers flanking her and escorting her for further investigation. It was the weirdest thing I have ever seen.
13. A Human Skull
I worked at an airport as a line tech. A former baggage screener (pre-TSA) told me of the time he opened a bag and found a human skull.
It turned out that the passenger was a medical doctor and had all the appropriate paperwork to transport the skull, but it was still surreal.
12. Human Remains
Two women, who were returning from vacation were stopped by TSA agents when they were spotted with what appeared to be human remains wrapped inside ceramic pottery.
It turns out the pair were on their way from Miami to Baltimore, and TSA agents found a skull and teeth mixed in with dirt and rocks. The women had been sold the pots back in Cuba after they were told that the talisman would ward off evil spirits. They didn’t ward off the TSA agents, however, who let the two women go but kept their souvenirs and impounded it!
11. Painting the Plane
I’m a flight dispatcher and one of my passengers once brought in paint on a local low-security flight and didn’t declare them.
Do you know what happens to pressurized paint containers when gaining altitude in a non-pressurized cargo compartment? They blow up. There was paint all over the cargo bay and other passengers’ luggage.
10. Traveling with the Dead
I saw a guy try to bring a dead rooster and other voodoo-like trinkets, including swords in his carry on.
Also, another person put a dead dog that was badly decayed in their checked luggage. I would say it was dead for over a week.
9. Sand And Sea Creatures
One time, a child packed a zip-lock full of sand in their suitcase. It looked like an explosive device on the X-ray so we opened their bag to check.
It turns out that inside the zip-lock was tons of rotten seaweed and tiny little dead sea creatures. Opening that bag made the whole area smell like a bog.
8. A Tiring Situation
One time on a local flight, everyone in the line had to wait at baggage check because a man was trying to bring a large tire on as hand luggage.
It didn’t fit in the scanning machine and they wouldn’t let him take it through the detector either. The stubbornness stalemate eventually died off but needless to say, everyone was very upset.
7. Fine Italian Linens
My father used to work for Canada’s customs department and said their biggest bust wasn’t illegal medicines, it wasn’t weapons or even exotic animals.
It was an Italian man who was arrested for illegally importing tens of thousands of dollars in fine Italian linens.
6. A 5-Foot Python
My boss is a retired TSA agent from the Austin-Bergstrom airport. His best story involved a 5-foot ball python. They saw something unusual in the X-ray and opened it up and there it was, just staring at them.
He said the girl with him screamed so loudly that everyone on the radio was freaking out, thinking someone was hurt.
5. The Sharp Thing Was a Scorpion!
In the security area for checked bags, my co-worker asked our supervisor of the next day off to start his week or so off early. The supervisor says no because he already has a lot of time off. So the co-worker is checking a bag when something pokes his hand. He tells the supervisor that there is something sharp in the bag that stabbed him. The supervisor thinks he’s trying to make excuses to go home, but checks the bag. The sharp thing was a scorpion. So we tell him to sit down with his hand down and call first aid.
Agriculture comes after handling a situation at a different airport and puts the scorpion on ice to kill it and asks the hospital if they need it for anti-venom. The worker then calls the supervisor and tells him he won’t be in tomorrow or for the next month because they had to give him so much anti-venom. Then he tells his boss to call him the “Scorpion King.”
4. A Live Spider
I worked at TSA and one passenger brought a live spider. When I asked him to open his bag, it crawled out, and I screamed.
But the things that stood out to me was a hookah pipe; it looked like an octopus. It that wasn’t weird enough, some lady put her dog through the machine. It looked like a turkey.
3. The “Interesting” Items
I was a ramp agent for a while. For those unfamiliar with the term, it means I loaded and unloaded bags. Some of the more interesting things I saw were at baggage processing.
A list of things I saw is – a human head, eyeballs, skin (for skin grafts I suppose), a deceased person, lab research rats, snakes, and dogs in cages. I always tried to calm the dogs down. Flying is a terrifying experience for them.
2. Hidden In the Laptop
I’ve seen someone fill an old laptop with ripped up papers to stop the weapon he had hidden in there from moving. He had naughty magazines in his bag on top of everything and was acting shady in general, so I was thorough in my search. Looking at the laptop, I could see papers through the fan vent.
My supervisor wanted to wave it off as something normal, so I went to a different supervisor and we took it apart, finding the weapon hidden inside. The guy gets taken by the FBI and I later get an award for doing my job properly (which is special at the TSA).
1. The Curling “Weapon”
We are “that passenger.” My family and I were trying to get back to the USA from Paris. At the airport, they scanned all our luggage and during the process, the agents were pretty shocked. A number of them crowded around the monitor for one of our suitcases and then brought me over to the screen and pointed to an image on the X-ray. At the bottom of my wife’s suitcase, it appeared to be a shooting weapon.
As it turned out, it was my wife’s curling iron with power cord rolled up just right. I couldn’t make them understand what I was trying to tell them because we didn’t speak much French and they spoke little English, so I just pretended to curl my hair like I’ve seen my wife do with the thing. They started laughing and were so relieved it was nothing, and we were on our way quickly after that.