The Transportation Security Administration shared a photo this week on social media of a missile launcher found in a passenger’s checked bag.
“Man said he was bringing it back from Kuwait as a souvenir,” said TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein on Twitter, “Perhaps he should have picked up a keychain instead!”
Moreover, as a division of the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA is responsible for overseeing security at the nation’s airports. But weighing in on the pros and cons of travel souvenirs and answering questions about what items are permitted at airport has become part of the job.
However, on its website under the header “What Can I Bring at airport? ” — and on its app, TSA has an extensive catalog of the things travelers may or may not pack in their carry-on or checked bags. Items are listed alphabetically and by category and the list can be searched.
Under “toys” there are seven examples and TSA notes that while fidget spinners and remote-controlled cars are allowed in carry-on luggage, realistic replicas of firearms and explosives are not. The TSA directory also has a helpful note about adult toys, which are allowed in both carry-on and check bags.
What can I Bring at airport?
TSA’s “What Can I Bring?” database says: “Sadly the technology doesn’t currently exist to create a real lightsaber. However, you can pack a toy light saber in your carry-on or checked bag.” It adds, “May the force be with you.”
With summer travel in full-swing, it’s good to know ahead of time that tent spikes or poles, strike anywhere matches; spear guns, pool cues, Magic 8-Balls, firecrackers, bear spray, baseball bats and bowling pins are not allowed as carry-on items, but that bowling balls are allowed.
Also allowed as carry-on: compasses, amethyst crystals, fresh fruit, fishing rods, live lobsters (in a clear, plastic, spill proof container), seashells, fruit gummies, cooked lasagna, jelly beans, electronic bathroom scales and frozen water bottles, as long as the water is completely frozen when presented for screening.
And while the Federal Aviation Administration is emphatic that drones not be flown near airports, TSA allows drones in carry-on bags. However, the agency encourages travelers to check with their airline about specific rules for taking drones on board.
For items not found in TSA’s database, and for travelers who want to make sure a specific item will fly, there is a team of 10 full-time TSA employees who monitor and respond to questions sent in via Twitter (@AskTSA) and Facebook Messenger.