No weed whackers allowed: A review of what TSA agents won't let you bring on a plane

No weed whackers allowed: A review of what TSA agents won't let you bring on a plane
Source: WOIO

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - People voluntarily surrender hundreds of pounds of property to the Transportation Security Administration each year, and Cleveland 19 got to see some of those items Wednesday at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

From water bottles, to brass knuckles, to even a weed whacker, TSA agents showed off just some of the items people tried to carry on within the past 30 days.

"You always hear the saying, 'Everything but the kitchen sink?' But here usually we've seen everything including the kitchen sink," said Jeffrey Taylor, an agent with the TSA.

Taylor showed Cleveland 19 that with some of the items – like a pink cat key chain that doubled as a weapon, a cell phone that was a stun gun, and two flash lights that also were stun guns -- aren't always what they seem.

He said the majority of people caught with prohibited items aren't trying to do anything wrong.

"More times than not, no, there's no malicious intent behind it. They just didn't think about what they're carrying or what the harm would be," said Taylor.

The weed whacker was a little more confusing to explain. TSA spokesperson Mike England said he chalked it up to someone who likely didn't travel very much who didn't realize that it was prohibited.

"Leave the weed whacker at home -- there's not grass on the airplanes," said Taylor.

Cleveland 19 also asked TSA representatives about why some security procedures seem to vary depending on the airport.

"Well we try to make them as uniform as possible but sometimes the security environment is slightly different airport-to-airport, so we make those adjustments as necessary," said England. "We do random checks, we do random pat downs, just like you said -- so people cannot cheat the system."

Reports from the TSA do say that part of the agency's plan is to have "random and unpredictable" safety and security measures at airports to increase safety. Basically, it's harder to beat the test if the test changes slightly from time-to-time or place-to-place.

"That is part of the reason we mix things up, so that the bad guys can't figure out what we're doing, but sometimes procedures will vary slightly based on the security environment at that particular airport," said England.

TSA representatives recommend emptying out purses and bags before heading to the airport to make sure the traveler doesn't accidentally bring something prohibited to the airport.

They also say if there's a question or concern, go right to the TSA website. Spokesperson England also said that people with concerns can reach out to the TSA directly reaching out to TSA Cares. TSA Cares can be reached at (855) 787-2227, or the website.

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