The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) projects that a record 41 million people will fly this holiday season. If you’re one of them, be warned: The agency doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to…well, anything.
With that in mind, here are seven times the TSA made us shake our heads—either in mild disbelief or intense disgust—in 2018:
- TSA confiscated a pink, plastic, dinosaur-shaped hand grenade toy.
This is courtesy of the TSA’s awarding-winning Instagram account (it’s won more awards than the agency has caught terrorists), which regularly posts photos of confiscated items. In February, the TSA explained that it had found the toy in a carry-on bag in Denver. As you (or anyone with half a brain) can see below, it was clearly not a real grenade:
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While one might say that this pink plastic dinosaur-shaped grenade is dino-mite, it’s not permitted in carry-on or checked baggage. Yeah, I know… It’s a pink plastic toy. But as I’ve explained before, anything that resembles a grenade is not permitted. At all. Jurassic’n for a bag search if you pack one. This one was discovered by a TSA officer (not a paleontologist) in a carry-on bag at Denver (DEN).
But it still wasn’t allowed. The agency prohibits “replica firearms,” including toys, in carry-ons. That policy apparently applies to plastic dinosaurs as well.
- A secret watch list for loiterers?
In May, The New York Times revealed a five-page directive regarding a watch list for unruly passengers. What kind of behavior could warrant a spot on the list? Anything that’s “offensive and without legal justification” or that threatens “the safe and effective completion of screening.”
If you think that’s rather broad, you’re right: The Times reported that “people who loiter suspiciously near security checkpoints could be put on the watch list.” So you’d better keep it moving when you’re traveling this holiday season, or you could end up on the TSA’s naughty list.
- TSA agents spent five minutes searching a 96-year-old woman in a wheelchair.
“What the hell do you think she’s going to do? Set off a shoe bomb?” Jeanne Clarkson asked as TSA screeners patted down her 96-year-old, wheelchair-bound mother. Clarkson filmed the encounter and posted the video to Facebook, where it racked up more than nine million views: