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Transportation Security Administration

TSA Week in Review: April 15 - 21

Thursday, April 25, 2019
explosives cover

Aviation security is our forte! And it is music to our ears when passengers know the rules. After all, we hate seeing people get in treble for forgetting a prohibited item in their bag. If you’re planning on traveling to tune into some Jazz at the New Orleans 50th anniversary Jazz Fest, then don’t fret and follow these travel tips.

Packing real, replica or inert explosives can be a major problem as the trio of passengers who packed the above items recently learned. Any time we locate a suspected explosive device, we call an explosives specialist and security screening is paused until the item is determined to be safe. That takes time and could lead to your fellow passengers missing flights and being delayed.

Pictured above from the left:

  • Officers at Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage discovered a grenade-shaped battery pack on April 15.
  • A replica grenade was found in a carry-on bag at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on April 20.
  • An inert initiator key chain was discovered during X-ray screening at Albert J. Ellis Airport in North Carolina on April 21.

fireworks cover

Fireworks are not allowed in carry-on or checked bags. This includes, but is certainly not limited to: “spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, donkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don’ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or whistling kitty chasers.” Oh, I almost forgot, snakes and sparklers are NOT allowed either! If we do find snakes we will for sure call Samuel L. Jackson to come handle the situation!

The fireworks pictured above were discovered at Miami International Airport this week.


Between April 15 and 21, TSA screened 16.3 million passengers and found 68 firearms in carry-on bags. Of the 68 firearms discovered, 57 were loaded and 19 had a round chambered.

Bringing a firearm to the security checkpoint may lead to a civil penalty of up to $13,333 or an arrest. If you must travel with your firearm check out our transporting firearms and ammunition page to learn how to pack it properly.

See all firearm discoveries from April 15 to 21 in this chart.


Knives are allowed in checked bags, but not in carry-on bags. Regardless if they are sharp or not flat. If you want to travel with your blades be sure to pack them in your checked bags. All of the knives shown above were just some of what we discovered in carry-on bags this week!

Pictured above, top row from the left:

  • Two ornate daggers were discovered at Albuquerque International Sunport on April 16.
  • Three identical daggers were found at LaGuardia Airport on April 16.
  • A throwing star was detected at General Mitchell International Airport in Wisconsin on April 15.

Pictured above, middle row from the left:

  • A butterfly knife was located at Burlington International Airport in Vermont on April 16.
  • An antique knife was detected at California’s Ontario International Airport on April 15.
  • A fixed-blade knife was discovered at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on April 18.

Pictured above, bottom row from the left:

  • A knuckle knife was located at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on April 16.
  • A switchblade was detected during screening at Sacramento International Airport on April 19.
  • The top of a cane sword was found at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on April 16.

Starting October 1, 2020, all passengers over the age of 18 will need a REAL ID or another acceptable form of ID to fly.

Our mission at TSA is to ensure you get to your destination safely by keeping dangerous items off planes. The most common explanation we hear from travelers is “I forgot it was in my bag.” Don’t be that person. Save yourself some money and embarrassment and thoroughly check your bags for prohibited items before heading to the airport.

So, come prepared! For a list of prohibited items, be sure to use the What Can I Bring? tool. If you have questions about the security process, reach out to AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger. Our AskTSA team will happily answer even the most outlandish travel-related questions.

Want to know how many firearms we found last year? Check out our 2018 blog post.

Also, don’t forget to check out our top 10 most unusual finds video for 2018.

Want to learn more or see the other wacky finds? Follow us @TSA on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook.

Jay Wagner


Submitted by RB on

68 guns and 16,300,000 million passengers. What is the rate of guns per passengers?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Joe Dirt reference

Submitted by Hermann Fegelein on

68 guns detected, divided by a 5% detection rate is 1360 guns

1360 guns divided by 16,300,000 passengers is .0000834 guns per passenger, or 1 gun for every 11,985 passengers

Submitted by Jhon on

Good job Jay.
"Forgeting" that you are carrying a loaded firearm at an airport should be a major red flag and should be punished harshly.
Who the F*** goes around with a gun and forgets it?
Can you imagine if someone stole their bag? The dude would be like, underwear, keys, Ruger.380 in pink! bingo!
It is 2019 for crying out loud people should be more aware.

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"...An inert initiator key chain "

Once it was determined to be inert, was it allowed to fly? If not, why not?

Submitted by Sigh on

Because after it held up the entire security line while the item was checked, do you really want that to happen at another airport on the return trip? Maybe you'd like to be on that line when it went through the second time and the checkpoint came to a stop? Maybe while the airport was evacuated? Seriously, if you even have to ask the question...

Submitted by What, Really? on

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason Said,

"Once it was determined to be inert, was it allowed to fly? If not, why not?"

Did you really ask this question? Of course it was not allowed to fly! It is ILLEAGL!!!!! plus how is anyone else going to know it is inert.

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"... plus how is anyone else going to know it is inert.'

So you don't trust the TSA either? Your first thought isn't "we are past security so they must have screened that plastic looking thing and determined it's ok.'?