My nailfile got confiscated at the airport.

I just returned from a trip to Spain, and the flights back went through Germany. There, they confiscated the little, flimsy, metal, barely pointy mini-nailfile I had in my suitcase, the same one that had already gotten through several other security checkpoints without so much as a murmur. I hadn’t even thought about the possibility of it being a problem when I packed it, although I probably should have. I understand that rules are rules and they’re just doing their job, but really, I could do more damage with the much-sturdier-than-my-nailfile butter knife they gave me with my meal, or with the pen I also had with me.

Then I also got to deal with being selected to be the one who got the special shoe-checking in the airport, and the security lady (who spoke only German, which I speak not a word of) wouldn’t even attempt to mime the fact that I had to take the shoes off, so I got to try to guess until I could figure out what the heck I was supposed to be doing. I don’t mind submitting to those little security procedures, but I would appreciate if I could have some indication of what to do, instead of just having some impatient woman keep repeating things to me in a language I don’t understand.

So, dopers, what silly items have you had confiscated at airport security? What potentially dangerous items have gotten through?

I’ve never been to an airport, so just slightly off-topic, I had my combination lock confiscated going into the Jacksonville state’s attorney office.

I don’t even remember why it was in my bag. I had no clue what the code was at that point, so no biggy to just toss it in the trash, but I could’ve done with out the witchy-poo security guards attitude about the whole deal.

I guess it could’ve been a bomb that could’ve exploded when dropped in a trash bin. :rolleyes: :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m not really mad about the loss of the nail file, I just find it laughable. If someone had told me to choose anything out of my suitcase to use as a weapon, that wouldn’t have been anywhere near the top of my list.

Returning to Boston from Scotland via Manchester, England, I got my tube of Crazy Glue confiscated.

This was pre-Sept 11, and I was travelling with a lot of technical stuff. I had tools and parts in my bag (including screwdrivers and my trusty Boy Scout knife). The only thing that excited Security’s interest was my container with 2 ml of cyanoacrylate Crazy Glue. Which, I want to point out, was still in its never-opened blister pack. I brought it along in case I had to make running repairs.

I was told I couldn’t bring it on board the plane, because it was an “irritant”. Mind you, I was leaving the country, having brought this in, via an English stopover, only a few days earlier. They didn’t care about my knife (thank goodness – too much sentimental value), but there was no way they’d let me bring the crazy glue on board.
Pepper Mill’s theory – somebody in Security had to glue sometrhing.

I never could understand why they confiscate things like nail files and nail clippers. Do they all need manicures? To test this theory, next time I fly I will bring a pretty French Manicure set and see if they decide it’s a threat to the flight…

But really, there are so many things in people’s suitcases that would make better weapons, if you think about it. A ballpoint pen can be dangerous if you put enough force behind it… and so can anything that leaves sharp edges when broken, like a CD, a makeup mirror, or a kitchy souvenir plate. compare this to the damage you can do with your standard set of nail clippers. :confused:

I’ll second Pepper Mill’s theory. Sometimes I wonder if these guys come to work with “shopping lists.”

Pre 9/11, my husband’s German Grandma always had sausage confiscated upon arrival here.

Yes, she isn’t suppose to bring sausage because Zee Germans do not have the same sausage packing standards that we do here read into that line as you will and it was always taken. We are talking about 15 years of attempted sausage smuggling into the US.

Every time. Ever.freaking.time. The Beagle Got Her.

Oh, the look on her face every time she would be hauled in by security. Nothing like the face of an indignant german grannie. Heeee.

Nice to know we are all safe from contraband wurst through the efforts of a hungry dog.

We are off to Germany next Wednesday and I have to take something to keep myself busy during the down time in the little town of Fartknockle as I cannot sit there and read books to while away the time of Infinate Boredom because of Language Gap and Family Conversation That I Don’t Need To Have Translated. And I have to have something to keep the kids busy. So I am taking a craft -I make fairies…oh Fabulously Ghay! - , but buying/borrowing scissors/sewing needle ( i just need one) and tweezers.

Fartknockle would be a most excellent name for any town.

Last year I had to go to an awrds show and music conference in New York City. I’d been preparing presskits and usiing my grandmother antique scissors – best scissors ever! They have really straight blades, are very thin, and about 14" long. Bascially, quite dagger-like.

Before I left for the airport, I DID check and then doublecheck my book-bag, make sure I’d removed them. Looked in the big, outer pouch, felt around inside… No scissors could be seen or felt. “I must have left them at work.”

At the airport, my bag went through the x-ray and the bag was abruptly pulled aside and given to a security guard to be hand searched. They came across my cell phone, made me turn it on.

My bag was hand-searched again right before boarding.

Got to my hotel in NYC, emptied my entire bag on the bed. Out dropped the dagger-sized scissors from hell – :eek: !

I was absolutely mortified! My bag had been a bit more stuffed than usual and somehow the bottom part of the big pouch must have curved in such a way that when you reached in you felt what you thought was the bottom, when in fact it wasn’t. The scissors must have been the the part that curved under all my other stuff.

If the security guard had undone the clasps of the bag, thus loosening the outer pouch, the slack would have made the scissors much more apparent. In addition to being the Greatest Scissors Ever, they have serious sentimental value, I’d have been crushed if they’d been confiscated.

But I’m still horriffied that I got on a plane unknowingly carrying what ammounted to a f**king dagger in my carry-on!!! Hand searched twice, no less! Ack!

We had a layover in Louisville and took a tour of the Louisville Slugger factory. At the end of the tour, they gave us these mini-baseball bats. We were on a layover so our bags were checked through. They said we couldn’t bring them on board, so we gave them to a couple of Nat. Guardsmen on security detail.

I understand they have to take them, but I’m trying to imagine the Punch and Judy hijack scenario that could use those tiny bats.

This doesn’t fit the OP’s case, but nail files/clippers are allowed in US airports according to the Transportation Security Administration. (Sorry, PDF file.)

Pre-2001, I had to give up a small container of lock-thaw - it was Chicago in winter time and I had a tube stashed in my coat pocket in case I’d have trouble getting into my car. I forgot it was in there. I guess it’s flammable and pressurized (it was the kind in a little aerosol-style can with a thin nozzle that fits into the lock), so probably not the wisest thing to bring on a plane anyway.

This happened loooong before 9/11, but at about the time someone was caught trying to smuggle a container of gasoline onto an airplane…probably 1979, because I take very few flights, and don’t remember being encumbered by children. I was returning home from Ohio and was carrying several plastic jugs of my mom’s homemade cider, frozen. I got stopped and the bag was searched, and of course these jugs were of interest, but once they realized they were frozen, they passed me through. I said, “don’t you even need to open them and smell them?” and the security guard just laughed and said, “No, ma’am, gasoline doesn’t freeze.”

I guess they were overzealous in my friend’s case, then. She had a small set of nail clippers, with the little file that swivels out, taken from her in the Seattle airport. It was October 2001.

I think the regulations have been relaxed since then. There’s probably also some kind of clause that states they can confiscate other stuff at their discretion.

My mom just had her manicure set - 40-year-old file (beyond dull), nail scissors (rounded tips), and toenail clippers confiscated - she had a choice of dumping them or checking the entire carry-on bag, which is what she did.

My mom’s 78 and slightly bent over. Someone could flick her and stop any attack she initiated. This was on a flight to Italy from NY.

I, on the other hand, accidentally left my pocket knife in my purse in December 2001. Small, but a knife all the same. Sailed right through.

My hairclip, which I wear practically every day, basically looks like a big metal spike. It is two metal spikes with a hinge, rather like a crocodile clip sort of arrangement. The tip is sharp. I had no problems with security when flying to and from the US in June. It so shouldn’t have gone through.

" the wurst is not, So long as we can say ‘This is the wurst.’"

Hah, a beagle nabbed my mother-in-law for sausage-smuggling as well, except the sausage was long gone by then. We were on our way to the airport in Milan, my mother-in-law had packed some snacks for the ride in her carry-on, some kind of salami among them, and we ate on the way there. After we landed back in the US, a handler was walking one of those USDA sniffer beagles among the travelers, and the dog laid his head down on my MIL’s carry-on and looked up at his handler. They practically took her bag apart - even casting some questioning looks at the dog - before she remembered she’d hours earlier been carrying unwrapped salami in there.

Also on that list of allowed items are knitting needles and crochet hooks. So, it’s apparently perfectly OK to bring on board 2 18" long pieces of pointed steel, but my brother had his eyeglass screwdriver (the kind that’s 2" long and about 4mm wide) confiscated the last time he flew. WTF?

Jadis, you’ll love this. The friendly TSA person told me that my 14-inch bamboo knitting needles were absolutely fine (because they are on The List of okay things, probably because the TSA got so much flack for taking knitting needles away from little old ladies who were knitting wee hats for preemies), but my 3-inch stitch holders were confiscated.

Just to review:

14-inch long, thick, strong pointed bamboo sticks: okey-dokey because they are on The List.

3-inch long, flimsy, saftey-pin shaped aluminum stitch holder: dangerous potential weapon because it is metal, and not on The List.

Yup, I feel safer.

(BTW, Jadis, standard knitting needles are 14 inches long, and made from aluminum, not steel. Still not useless as a weapon, though.)

Scary thing was, the last time I flew (dia to dfw in may) I had BOX KNIFE in the front pen pocket of my carry on. I’m a PC tech, and use this bag to carry my tools and software. I left the toolset (screwdrivers, tester, soldering iron, etc) at home, but accidentally left the knife in the bag. Managed to get through security twice without noticing (found it as i was unpacking).

My wife, on the other hand, had her purse, shoes, and baby seat torn completely apart. She doesn’t travel a lot, and doesn’t know the drill – and thus gets nailed every time. I, since I travel a lot, hand the security guard my shoes, dump my wallet and cell phone in the plastic basket, open the bag for the guard, put the laptop on the special tray, waltz through the metal detector, grab my stuff and walk off (don’t bother putting things back on/together until I’m 15 feet away from the checkpoint. I’m usually through the checkpoint in 30 seconds, where it takes most of my travelling companions up to 5 minutes.

Another trick I’ve found is to go through the 1st class checkpoint – if they aren’t busy, they don’t care that you have a coach ticket, and the security guards figure that if you’re smart enough to know this trick than you probably aren’t going to hassle them any.