The Christmas Day incident on Detroit-bound Northwest flight 253 has led to a predictable—and predictably disjointed—security crackdown. To help you keep track of what you can and can’t stow in the overhead compartment, we pored over the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) list of allowed and prohibited items (look for yourself at www.tsa.gov )
To begin with the obvious, items you may have brought on board may not include box cutters, ice picks, knives and meat cleavers. Ditto swords and sabers (who knew there was a difference?), as well as baseball bats, golf clubs, hockey sticks, pool cues, ski poles and—for our across-the-pond friends—cricket bats.
Hammers, crowbars, drills and drill bits are all banned, though screwdrivers less than seven inches in length are OK. Who decided seven inches is the magic point at which a piece of sharpened metal ceases to be a viable weapon is unclear.
Throwing stars, nunchakus and kubatons are listed individually under the heading “Martial Arts & Self-Defense Weapons,” though considering the section also bans “martial arts weapons,” it would seem someone at TSA did a bit of unnecessary research. (Seriously, define “kubaton” without Googling it).
You’re hopefully aware that dynamite, blasting caps, fireworks and hand grenades are not allowed in either carry-on or checked bags. What you may not know is that you’re also barred from flying with “realistic replicas of explosives,” bad news for those who enjoy pretending to blow stuff up.
Finally comes the perpetually murky realm of gels and liquids. At present, up to 3.4 ounces can be carried on (again, who determined this is the threshold past which liquid can used for nefarious purposes is unclear, as is what would stop several terrorists from each bringing 3.4 ounces and combining them into a more dangerous volume). Meanwhile, “gel type candles” and gel shoe inserts are carry-on no-nos, as are “snow globes and like decorations regardless of size or amount of liquid inside, even with documentation.” So yes, you went and got your snow globe documented for nothing. Jacob Shafer, MauiTime