Airport security practices are one of the most controversial issues today. The stringent pat downs or applied technologies were not always used. If you look back about 20 years ago, one could go with their loved one or family up to the gate to say goodbye. It was not an issue for security if your loved ones waited with you while you waited to board your flight.
When you went through airport security checks, you walked passed metal detectors and occasionally were scanned by a handheld device. There was no worry if carried in your purse or carry-on food, drinks, nail clippers or for that matter scissors. It was a personal pleasure of mine to go to pass the time sitting at an airport to watch planes takeoff or land.
Sadly, the current generation will never know that it was not the way it is right now. Having to wait in a long line to be searched from head to toe with the fear that one forgot to empty their handbag or pocket of small vials, drinks or food. It is unfortunate but I dread going to airports. In fact I try to avoid traveling by plane as much as possible. Not only do I get perturbed by the security procedures but also the new body scan machines that may pose serious health risks.
Sadly, we have given up our personal freedom at the expense of security. How true were the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” For those who for some reason may not know how this all came about, I present below the events and consequences of how we arrived to our current state of affairs.
The 9/11 Attacks
September 11, 2001, was the first time a large scale terrorist attack occurred with such devastation and with such blatant disregard for life. The attack was orchestrated by a group named Al Queda, who was stationed in an Islam run by its leader Osama Bin Ladin. The four airplanes were filled with innocent people, 2 hit the World Trade Center towers, 1 hit the west side of the Pentagon in Washington D.C, and the last one crash landed in Pennslyvania.
With a total of over 3000 people were killed, including those on the plane and the subsequent destruction brought about from the Twin Towers falling apart. This prompted the U.S.A to become unanimous in stomping out the possibility of other terrorist activity by that of airplane related accidents.
Many acts were put in place due to the attacks on American soil. Acts that included the creation of TSA, the Patriot Act, and the FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide. All which may have caused more issues than actually protecting people.
The Patriot Act was an act that allowed the government to take suspected terrorists off the street with no trial. The FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide is an act that allows for the racial profiling of Muslim Americans, as it allows tracking and tagging of this type of ethnic group as to deter further disasters in the future.
What Is The Transportation Security Administration?
Created on November, 26 of 2001, this department is only 16 years old. This department was created after the horrible tragedy of 9/11. This acted as a catalyst of the much argued and supposedly needed form of governing to ensure the chance of a disastrous airline situation would never occur.
There was never a specific “TSA”, every airport had their own rules and regulations. There had been situations in the past in which this danger was very pronounced, such as the terrorist attacks in 1985, in which terrorist cells attacked airports in Rome and Venice. As well as a hijacking of a commercial plane that lasted for 15 days, in which the plane was forced to constantly refuel and fly until the demands of the terrorists on board had been met.
What are Items that can be allowed?
Security is very tight on what you can bring on board through a carry-on. Obviously, you can imagine bringing a knife or a gun might make you have some issues with the customs agents there. For those interested in a comprehensive list of all items allowed, and barred from entry items, can be found here. The TSA approved carry on items might surprise even the most avid commercial airplane passengers.
For those who want a much more simplified and easier to understand version, allow me to summarize. In essence, if there is an item that can be explicable used for harm or to cause harm. Surprisingly most types of guns are allowed to go through check-in luggage, this includes rifles, side arms, and bullets. There are special permissions you will need in order to bring them on board which can be found here. So while it might seem that if it is banned to be brought on board through your carry on bag, check and see if it is allowed to be brought on by your luggage. Although there is a number of items that are completely banned, it is not that difficult to single them out.
Obscure Prohibited Carry-On Items Not Allowed by the TSA
According to the TSA, these items here are on the list of prohibited items and allowed items on almost all commercial airlines. Be sure to double check, as even some mundane items can make you land with for a very long interview with airport security.
- Alcoholic items over 140 proof
- Bang Snaps (fire crackers)
- Bear Bangers
- Blasting Caps
- Chlorine and Spa Kits
- Engine Powered Equipment with Residual Fuel
- English Christmas Crackers
- Fire Extinguisher and Other Gas Cylinders
- Fire Crackers
- Fire Works
- Flammable Liquid, Gel, or Aerosol
- Flammable Paints
- Flare Guns
- Gas Torches
- Gun Lighters
- Gun Powder
- Hand Grenades
- Lighter Fluid
- Liquid Bleach
- Medical Marijuana
- Party Poppers
- Realistic Replicas of Explosions
- Realistic Replicas of Incendiaries
- Recreational Oxygen
- Samsung Galaxy Note 7
- Small Compressed Gas Cartridges
- Spillable Batteries
- Spray Paint
- Spray Starch
- Strike Anywhere Matches
- Tear Gas
- Torch Lighter
- Turpentine or Paint Thinner
- Vehicle Airbags
Take a quick look at this list, and if you have any of these items, be sure to take them out before you make your trip. Take it from me, you’ll be having some issues when the TSA agents look over your items. Potentially you can be detained, questioned, and then made to pay a fine. Worst case scenario, you will most likely be detained and tried in a court of law.
When all is said and done, knowing what you can bring and not bring on an airplane is not only a huge time saver, it can save you plenty of headaches at check in and through customs. While there are some TSA items that garner more attention from the media, such as guns and knives; it is easy to forget a small pen knife in your carry on bag. It is even easier to forget how much things have changed in favor of a more security oriented future.
While it can be safe and useful, there is something to be said for the items prohibited. While I can agree with the danger of some of the items above, there are others that are somewhat mundane that could lead to serious problems with the law. So be sure to triple check your carry on bags, and luggage, as even a small oversight could be very bad for your trip.