Since Sept. 11, 2001, everyone has known that you can’t carry items such as box cutters and knives onto commercial airline flights.
Well, most people have gotten the message.
To give those who haven’t been listening a reminder, officials with the Transportation Security Administration had a news conference at Fort Wayne International Airport on Thursday, showing off some of the items that people tried to bring onto airplanes in Fort Wayne in just the last month.
Spread out on a table were perhaps 50 items, ranging from large scissors, knives, box cutters, tools, hammers, mallets, brass knuckles, bats and loaded magazines.
Other items that passengers had to surrender included jars of peanut butter, cans of soup, bottles of mustard, hair mousse and spray cans of Lysol, which officials said could be used to conceal explosives.
The items on display represented only a sampling of weapons that people had to abandon in order to board airplanes, said Joshua Grabner, supervisory transportation security officer at the airport. There were probably another couple of hundred knives and who knows how many bottles of water (prohibited because they could hold explosives) that passengers had to give up, he said.
Grabner emphasized that anything with a blade or that can be used as a weapon is prohibited on an airplane. That includes souvenir bats from Tin Caps games and any tool more than 7 inches long.
Other items on display were a torque wrench about 18 inches long, a short aluminum baseball bat, a dummy grenade, some drill bits, containers of pepper spray and mace, and two realistic looking toy handguns.
Grabner acknowledged that there are people who have routinely carried pocket knives all of their lives. They stick them in their pockets, not stopping to consider they are not allowed on planes.
Other people seem to abandon common sense. Trying to carry a dummy grenade onto an airplane, for example, could result in all security lines shutting down and people missing their flights, officials said.
Also, so-called credit card knives are becoming far more common, said Mark Howell, a regional official with the TSA.
Credit card knives look like credit cards but can be folded, exposing a knife blade about 3 inches long. They are commonly handed out as promotional items, and some social media sites will even mail you one if you “like” their site, Howell said.
A lot of people put them in their wallets and forget they’re there.
“We’re seeing more prohibited items across the board,” Howell said.
In Fort Wayne, only one person has been caught trying to carry a handgun onto an airplane since January, but nationally, it has
happened more than 1,000 times through June of this year – about a 25 percent increase from the same period last year – and 90 percent of those firearms have been loaded, Howell said.
Howell offered a piece of advice.
If you were to stand up in the middle of an airplane and hold an item up in the air – a small knife, large steel tool, toy gun, bat – how would you expect people to react?
Finally, as a tip to tourists, larger snow globes, because they contain a significant amount of liquid, are also prohibited in carry-on luggage, Howell said.