Skip to main content

Crazy things Americans tried to take on planes in 2013

By Hiufu Wong, CNN
updated 2:25 PM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
TSA stopped 1,813 guns (80% of them loaded) from passing through U.S. airports in 2013, averaging about five catches per day. TSA stopped 1,813 guns (80% of them loaded) from passing through U.S. airports in 2013, averaging about five catches per day.
HIDE CAPTION
Firearms
Cane swords
Mace
Non-metal dagger
Creative smugglers
Throwing daggers/stars
Suicide jacket
Lipstick pepper spray
Skull fragments
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than 1,800 guns discovered on fliers last year, according to new TSA report
  • Other smuggled items included knives, ninja stars and human skull fragments
  • Innovative weapons included credit card knives and lipstick pepper spray

(CNN) -- Guns, grenades, human skull fragments and a pepper spray disguised as a lipstick -- just a few of the things confiscated by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers from travelers in U.S. airports last year.

In TSA's recent blog post: TSA Blog Year in Review: 2013, TSA blogger Bob Burns reviewed some of the dangerous or unusual items officers confiscated in 2013 as well as some of the creative ways passengers tried to hide them.

A total of 1,813 firearms were discovered, 1,477 (80%) of which were loaded.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest, topped the chart for gun catches with 111 guns discovered over the year.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport followed, with 96 guns discovered, while George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston (68 guns), Pheonix Sky Harbor International Airport (66 guns) and Denver International Airport (51 guns) rounded out the top five.

The key message the blog wants to impart is: passengers can't fool TSA officers.

Deterrent vs detergent

"In what was believed to be an attempt to avoid declaring his firearms, a passenger at Houston (IAH) wrapped two guns in newspaper and placed them in a box of detergent powder in his checked baggage," wrote TSA blogger Bob Burns.

MORE: 15 bizarre items left behind by travelers

A non-metallic knife was just one item that tried to bypass the security checks, but failed.
A non-metallic knife was just one item that tried to bypass the security checks, but failed.

Another passenger was found at Salt Lake City with a non-metallic dagger strung around his neck with fishing wire.

A stun gun concealed in a cane and a pepper spray disguised as a lipstick both failed to escape detection by the TSA.

The TSA also busted people hiding various kinds of knives.

"Our officers regularly find sword canes, credit card knives, belt buckle knives, comb/brush knives, knives hidden in shoes, knives hidden in thermoses and knives hidden under the bag lining near the handle mechanism," wrote Burns.

Other knife finds included one hidden in an ink pen and a multi-tool inside a computer hard drive.

Ninja stars too

The TSA also found 562 stun guns, a wood and metal mace, throwing stars and grenades -- both real and replicas.

Another takeaway: inert weapons are as confiscable as real ones.

That should serve as a lesson for the self-claimed military instructor who carried six inert pressure plates, 20 inert initiators, an inert land mine, inert explosives and two initiation systems in his bag and got detained at Norfolk, Virginia.

The only non-weapon mentioned in the review was that of some human skull fragments in clay pots found at Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

The passengers claimed they bought the pots without knowing there were skull fragments inside, according to the blog.

The TSA Blog was launched in 2008 covering various stories, from Valentine's Day travel tips to the truth behind the behavior detection officer, the officers who glare at travelers as they pass through a TSA checkpoint.

MORE: Keep your shoes, jackets on: TSA to expand pre-screening program

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
A foreign language can be the best aphrodisiac, so we traveled the world in search of the hottest accents.
updated 3:35 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Hidden from the rest of the world for decades, Myanmar's Lethwei boxing is experiencing a revival globally.
updated 7:17 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
This aging cargo work whale makes more than 60 flights each week, carrying parts for all of the Airbus programs.
updated 7:32 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Vikings, vicious politics and vindaloo curries -- Scotland isn't all tartan and bagpipes.
updated 8:26 PM EDT, Sun September 14, 2014
Former brothels, public toilets and war bunkers now provide eccentric watering holes for those willing to drink deep.
updated 11:04 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Ushaka Marine World, Durban, South Africa
Joburg is trendy, Cape Town is glamorous, but Durban has style -- and a restaurant inside a shark tank.
updated 3:56 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Tirana's nightlife
Former Tirana stronghold of a totalitarian leader now home to a pulsing clubs and bar scene.
updated 11:38 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas.
updated 8:40 PM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
This once-a-year luxury cruise visits untouched islands and never-snorkeled reefs.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Peter J. Goutiere was just shy of 30 years old when he piloted a Douglas C-47 from Miami to Kolkata, India.
updated 6:47 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Breathtaking scenery, championship design -- many of the courses dropped into the Canadian Rockies are among the most memorable in the world.
updated 9:06 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
A floating hippo in the Thames river designed by artist Florentijn Hofman
Why Florentijn Hofman is sending a giant beast into London's River Thames.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
updated 8:42 PM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
updated 6:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT