10 Weird Items That You CAN Travel With

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The prohibited items list from the TSA might seem long, but as it turns out, there are plenty of weird things that you can in fact travel with.

1. Snow Globes
As long as it appears to be less than 3.4 ounces (which the TSA points out is about the size of a tennis ball), and you can fit it into your clear, plastic bag with all your other liquids, feel free to pop your favorite snow globe in your carry-on.

2. Ice Skates
You might think that a blade that allows you to do double sow cows on frozen water wouldn’t make it past security, but ice skates are carry-on friendly.3. Antlers
Just like a bicycle, as long as its correctly packaged and you pay the fee, you can check a rack of antlers (provided there’s enough space on the plane). The skull must be wrapped and the tips covered though, and on some airlines they need to be in a hard sided box, so be sure that you work on your antler packing skills before you head to the airport.

4. Christmas Trees
Delta is all about the holiday spirit, and is happy to accept your Christmas trees as long as they’re wrapped in burlap.

5. Really big musical instruments
We’ve all seen the 20-something indie singer songwriter get on the plane with his/her guitar. But what about those instruments that won’t fit above or under the seat in front of you? KLM will actually let you book an individual seat for your instrument. Just in case you didn’t want to be separated from your harp for too long. That piano will have to travel as freight, however.

6. Needlepoint
Didn’t have time to finish up that needlepoint sampler while staying at Grandma’s? Pop it in your handbag along with your knitting needles.

7. Live lobsters
Yes, live lobsters and even crabs are perfectly fine to check on many airlines, like Southwest and Alaska even lets you pre-book live animals as you would your dog. It’s all dependent on how you pack them though, so check individual airline regulations. You can even have the animal as carry-on, as long as it’s in its own bag with nothing else in it.

8. Crematory remains
Depending on what airline you’re flying, you can carry-on and check crematory remains, according to TSA regulations. Little known fact: TSA agents are not allowed to open containers carrying remains, so be sure to pack in a container that can pass through the x-ray, like plastic or wood.

9. Parachutes
Yes, you can bring your parachute, as long as you arrive an additional 30 minutes early to the airport since the security officers might need to open the entire thing to inspect it.

10. Monkeys
Well, not just any monkey, but if you have a service monkey (yes, that’s a thing) they are more than welcome aboard. You may be asked to remove the monkey’s diaper for the TSA agent however.

Long Lines At Airports Have Got To Go, Says Travel Association

Photo – Chris Owen


The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been working on addressing long lines at airport security screening areas for quite some time. TSA Precheck lanes are being expanded to more airports every year and Global Entry lets frequent, pre-authorized travelers to zip into the United States. Just last week, we reported faster airport screening via a new TSA program. But that’s not enough, says a travel trade organization, urging Congress to take action.

The U.S. Travel Association (USTA) is battling what they believe to be the cause of problems at our airports; budget restrictions and poor planning. They believe the current system leaves airports unable to handle millions of visitor a year. They have some specific recommendations too.

Calling for a 50-percent reduction in peak the wait times, the USTA believes it should take just 30 minutes to process travelers. They want Customs and Border Protection staffing and participation in the Global Entry Program increased. Congress should be involved in an ongoing way, and should require periodic progress reports, says the association in a list of 20 recommended policy changes.
Back at the TSA, the new system is indeed a step in the right direction, classifying travelers into three tiers — expedited, standard or enhanced — with each level requiring different procedures and qualifiers. The current system treats all travelers the same and is exactly what the Travel Association wants changed.

In an Open Letter to the U.S. Congress, over 70 travel leaders even suggested ways to fund the additional programing necessary to address the problem and increase transparency in the entire process. It’s a lofty goal but one worthy of pursuit: the U.S. economy could lose $95 billion and 518,000 jobs over the next five years due to long security and customs lines at the nation’s airports.

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Airport Screening To Be Faster Thanks To New TSA Program

screening
Photo- Chris Owen

It’s taken a long time but a quicker, more efficient screening process at the nation’s airports looks to be coming into focus. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is planning a new three-tier system for passenger and baggage screening that taps features of ongoing programs to streamline the process.

Based on elements of the best parts of the existing Secure Flight and TSA PreCheck programs, the new system is “designed to increase the number of airline passengers who may be eligible for expedited screening,” says a report in Travel Weekly.

Using that information, air travelers will be classified into three tiers — expedited, standard or enhanced — with each level requiring different procedures and qualifiers. The current system treats all travelers the same.

Under the new system, low risk travelers would be directed to the lanes now used for TSA’s PreCheck program. Shoes and belts stay on. Laptops remain in cases.

Passengers would be screened at the time of booking, and the level of required screening would be embedded in the barcode of the traveler’s boarding pass.
PreCheck expands this year to 100 U.S. airports. This Fall, anyone can join by going through a background check. Participants allow their fingerprints to be file. The anticipated fee is $85.

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TSA Prefers That We Leave Hand Grenades At Home

TSA Grendades
Transportation Security Administration photo

The Transportation Security Administration has been working on its image, engaging readers on its blog with the latest travel security information, inviting fans to “meet the bloggers” and more. The TSA is also finding that its message is more palatable with a dose of humor.

This week on its Transportation Tips post, TSA asks readers to please leave their grenades at home. “After reading the title of this post, your first thought probably was, ‘That’s obvious.’ Not always so”, writes Bob Burns. Just this year, TSA officers have discovered 43 grenades in carry-ons and 40 in checked luggage.

Most of the grenades were inert, replica or novelty items, like antiques someone might buy on eBay. “But a few were live smoke, flare, riot, and flash bang grenades, which can pose major safety issues to aircraft and also violate FAA hazmat regulations,” added Burns.That the majority of grenades TSA sees won’t actually explode isn’t the issue. The problem is that they look just like real grenades during screening, slowing down the process, if not closing and evacuating terminals.

The “please don’t bring” advice goes for grenade shaped belt buckles, lighters, soap, candles, MP3 players, paperweights, inert training grenades, and other items can all look like the real thing when x-rayed.

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TSA Giving Veterans Clothing Left At Checkpoints

Thanks to the Clothe a Homeless Hero Act, veterans are now receiving clothing that has been left as airport security checkpoints. The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Kathy Hochul (D–N.Y.) was signed by President Obama in January. Reagan National Airport is the latest airport to join in on the charity with a donation comprised of two months’ worth of abandoned clothing. Before the passing of this bill, clothing that was left behind at security checkpoints in airports was either donated to police-dog scent training or discarded. It’s nice to know that forgotten clothing items will now end up serving a purpose within our respective communities instead of sitting in a landfill.

In other TSA/veteran news, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii) has been working to pass legislation that would ease screening procedures at airports for wounded or disabled veterans or soldiers. The TSA has also made an effort to hire veterans. This is all welcome news in light of some of the outrageous news involving TSA employees and veterans that has surfaced.
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