Airport Security?

I just found a pocketknife in my laptop bag. This is not unusual, except I remembered that I must have taken it with me both to and from Houston earlier in the week, passing through security both times with a 2 inch blade in my bag. This happened once before, but was caught on the return flight. Total I have passed through airport security at least 4 times with a forgotten pocketknife, and only once did they stop me. A 25% hit rate? That’s just going to frustrate me more next time I’m standing in a security line for an hour.

45 thoughts on “Airport Security?

  1. That is kinda annoying. I don’t really wait long at phx international when leaving, but I travel to Orlando usually and departing from Orlando intl. can be painfully slow. The fact that, even with them delaying me as long as they do, they are only hitting at 25% makes me hate flying even more.

  2. The funniest is when coming back from Hawaii my son was able to walk on with a 5 foot long wooden staff. And they allowed him to carry it on.

    Yet they made sure we took off our shoes.

  3. That’s nothing…

    I inadvertently had a pocketknife in my carry-on bag for over two years, during which time I round trips from Washington DC to Salt Lake City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Canada, Argentina, El Salvador, etc, etc.

    They finally stopped me once at the x-ray machine and told me I had a knife…oops! 😛

  4. You think that’s bad? I’ve heard similar stories except with one different detail. Replace “pocket knife” with “hand gun” or “bomb like device”. Random audits showed that the increased TSA checks still were letting enough problems through that a plan could be just as vulnerable — the “terrorists” would just have to send N x 3 amount of peopl to get N in. :/

    I like to think of the TSA security checkpoints about as effective as DRM.

  5. I once got pulled over at TSA while they searched my camera bag. After clearing security, I found a pair of scissors in my camera bag.

    Yes, they pulled me over, but forgot to take the scissors.

  6. It depends on the airport. I have faced a problem but with something different, a juice bottle. It passed through security as I carried it in my person, it had been just juice but I wonder what if it had been something more sinister…

  7. Airport security really is a hit and miss thing. Me and my family have brought knives through security so many times just not thinking about it and the knives in question have never been discovered.

    Once time I went through security with my carrier bag. I had to enter through security again and this time they did a full inspection of my person and bags, checking the pockets and everything. When I got home I found that I had my pocketknife in the first pocket. How they could not detect that after a bag search I do not know.

    Plus all the other inconsistencies that I have been witness to. I have decided that security, at least in the US, is pretty much a joke.

  8. I was flying with Continental Airlines. The lady next seat to me gets a big cinnamon cake from her bag, starts eating, notice my looking, generously asks if I’d like some, I say yes. She briefly tries to tear a piece apart, realizes it’s going to be quite messy, and asks the crew for “something, a plastic spoon ?”. Guess what the crew brings her: a very regular metal knife.

  9. And did you ever realize that on many Airports you have shops with Swarovski and other glass stuff *after* the security checks?

    All this emphasis on security is just propaganda (if not intentional terror by the authorities — but let’s not get into conspiracy theories).

  10. I guess it will frustrate everyone even more when they learn that at least some aviation experts think that the simple act of installing a locked bulletproof door between cockpit and cabin took the safety back to the same level of the 60’s.

  11. Wow – that’s, um, impressive. I’ve been stopped for having a metal bookmark when flying out of Graz airport. Graz! It’s a tiny place.

  12. I’ve been flying with audio equipment a fair bit this summer. In a hard case it must look like a rat’s nest of wires and devices on the security scanner. They’ve only made me open it once. Yet my daughter was strongly challenged and almost denied a flight when she was traveling as a child under 16 with both her parents but without photo-ID (no borders crossed).

  13. I managed once to get on an internal flight in the UK at Heathrow without a single piece of ID being checked. I took my credit card to the electronic check-in machine, got my boarding pass, I had no luggage so went straight to security who just checked the boarding pass, and got on the plane. I could’ve been anyone.

  14. This is no surprise to me. While I was travelling abroad with my father last weekend, we discovered (after we arrived back home) that he had about 4 razor blades — used for box cutters — in his jacket pocket. What makes things even worse is that they specifically asked him to remove his jacket so they could scan it.

    Troubling indeed. They confiscate my can of Off™ insect repellent, but razor blades are OK.

  15. 😀

    It’s been a while, but the last time I flew, they took away my expensive little steel cuticle clippers (pretty hopeless if that’s your only weapon and you need one). I had a choice of going back to check or mail it, but would have missed the flight.

    So I board sans clippers, we eventually take off, and then a meal is served. I look at my tray and that of those around me and see that each of us has been given a metal fork with long tines. I want to stick it in the person that took my clippers.


  16. Funny, I flew to London from Belfast on Wednesday and was stopped because I’d accidentally left a spray deodorant in one of the side pouches.

    To be honest, if I’m going to get blown up on a flight (or stabbed by Matt), I’d prefer to smell my best. From what I can tell, security is inconsistently applied at different airports anyway.

  17. It’s pretty silly isn’t it. And they insist it’s called “security” and not “drama” or “entertainment”.

    @Mark Jaquith: there is a reason they are so much better at banning liquids rather than weapons. Airlines make a ton of money selling beverages on board aircrafts. There’s more pressure for them to do a good job.

  18. Also silly is that if you bring bottled water to the checkpoint, it has to either be finshed and chucked or just plain chucked. Yet you could then buy another bottled water and take it on the plane. How is the second bottled water any safer than the first?

  19. Technically, and I may be wrong about this, but a pocket knife that is under 2″ in length can be considered a tool and may be overlooked by security. I have traveled multiple times with a Swiss Army knife and have never had it taken away.

    Granted, security is a dog and pony show anyway.

  20. I’ve seen them taking pocket knife out, then senior officer said “thats ok”, and allowed it inside. Apparently they don’t want just very long knives.

  21. that’s why I always keep my lighter on me (I am a hopeless smoker). if they want to have it, they must find it first.
    and they never did. yippie.

  22. I was caught with orange marmalade at Stockholm Airport.. it was in a handy plastic refill package, lighter than the usual glass jar. If I had take the jar (which I believe to be more dangerous since I can break it and use it as a knife) there would have been no problem, but liquid (or similar) stuff in a plastic wrap is considered more dangerous.. well, maybe for my figure :/

  23. That’s great. Meanwhile, my wife and I just returned from vacation in Florida for our first anniversary. This being the first anniversary, of course there were things left undone. Like for example, the wife never changed the name on her drivers license. The security guy wasn’t going to let her through even though the name on the ticket was hyphenated to include her maiden name!

    But you got a pocket knife through without even meaning to. Not sure if this makes it better or worse, but the security guy was the husband of a fellow teacher at my wife’s school and when he figured that out, he let her through. Incompetence and nepotism all in one stop! Huh!

  24. No surprise there, although I think it depends greatly on the size of the airport and how busy they are.

    Ex: at Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, made it through security with a Leatherman (pocket knife + screwdriver + wirecutter + pliers). Got to Greensboro, NC, and they found it.

    Seems like smaller cities are more diligent about security (because you know, those terr’ists are targeting small towns too). Plus they have the time to be diligent since there are fewer people passing through their gates.

  25. My dad was flying to NYC recently (from Portland, OR) and carefully searched his backpack for all of his camping knives (little razors, etc.)

    Well of course he missed the biggest pocket knife he owns which has about a 5 inch blade. The TSA wasn’t too pleased when they found it and charged him an arm and a leg to ship it home. lol

  26. Could depend a bit on the size of the thing too… I know that in the EU, you may carry a blade up to 6 cm in length on board. Depending on the operator, he or she can judge the size of these things pretty accurately on screen, comapring it to objects of known size.

    A leatherman isn’t too good though… 😛

  27. they have already won if we have to go thru humiliation of removing shoes, luggage and body search, and give up water and personal items only to purchase later at airports at a much higher cost. it’s hopeless. it’ll never end. i don’t want to fly again until this madness stops!

  28. I know this topic is dead:P but i had my pool stick confiscated at a security checkpoint before :\ when I got to the gate I told the guy there and he bitched out the TSA people then made them bring my pool stick to the gate