Some carry-on items won't fly

Summer air travelers with illegal items at security face unhappy consequences.

Posted: May 25, 2007

Leave the kitchen sink at home.

The Transportation Security Administration - which actually seized a kitchen sink a passenger once tried to bring on an airplane - is renewing its call for summer travelers to learn before arriving at an airport what is allowed past checkpoints.

Your fellow passengers will thank you, TSA officials say, because, if you don't know the rules, it can slow down the security lines for everyone.

TSA screeners have seen an uptick this month in passengers who apparently fly infrequently and haven't heard that most liquids, aerosols and gels, and a long list of other items, are banned from commercial airline flights, TSA spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said. As a result, waiting times to clear security have increased this month at some airports, she said.

The security agency dispatched Kudwa, a public affairs officer, from Washington to Philadelphia International Airport yesterday, the eve of the Memorial Day weekend, to spread the word about packing sensibly - and legally - before a flying vacation.

Passengers are allowed to have three-ounce or smaller containers of products such as shampoo or toothpaste in a quart-size, clear-plastic bag in carry-on baggage. Full-size containers are allowed in checked bags.

The rules on liquids took effect in September, a month after an alleged terrorist attack using liquid explosives was broken up in London.

"A lot of people may be traveling over this weekend for the first time since September," she said.

On a table adjacent to the Terminal D checkpoint yesterday, Kudwa and other TSA officials displayed a 2-by-3-foot plastic bin brimming with more than 150 items that screeners seized at one airport checkpoint in a week. There are seven security checkpoints in Philadelphia.

The booty included multiple pairs of scissors, corkscrews with knife blades, screws, nails, fishing lures, drill bits, multipurpose tool belts, and knives of various sizes, including a nine-inch butcher knife.

Most travelers who try to carry on banned items simply forget that they have them in a bag, Kudwa said. But if that happens, and bags must be searched thoroughly, it takes five minutes or more to be cleared by screeners, rather than the minute or two for most people, she said.

Waiting times at Philadelphia International vary widely, depending on the time of day and the day of the week, according to records kept by the TSA on its Web site. Monday mornings are among the worst, with the longest wait - 51 minutes - at Terminal E, according to the Web site.

The Web site also has an exhaustive list of the rules for what can be in carry-on and checked bags.

Please Leave Home Without Them

The following were among more than 150 things seized from one security checkpoint at Philadelphia International Airport in a week this month:


Knives, from pocket to nine-inch butcher.



Ice picks.

Drill bits.



Multipurpose tool kits.

Fishing lures.

SOURCE: Transportation Security Administration


So, what should you leave in your toolbox instead of putting in your carry-on luggage? Read a comprehensive list on the Transportation Security Administration's Web site at

Contact staff writer Tom Belden at 215-854-2454 or

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