As air travel soared closer to pre-pandemic heights last year, so too did the influx of travelers – and with them came a bevy of unusual items confiscated by agents at security checkpoints.
The Transportation Security Administration on Monday released a video highlighting the top 10 strangest items confiscated over the course of last year.
Topping the list was a chainsaw discovered at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, which was among a host of weapons intercepted by agents at the airport last summer.
The chainsaw, which was not fueled, could have been placed in checked luggage – but its owner “got to the airport with no time, except to run to his gate so he left it behind,” a TSA spokesperson wrote in part.
The second-strangest item confiscated last year was a wine holder shaped like a pistol, which agents nabbed in Sacramento, California.
Coming in at number eight on the list was a breakfast burrito containing methamphetamines, which was seized at the William P. Hobby Airport in Houston last April. Upon re-screening the burrito after spotting an “unidentified lump,” agents suspected there might be an illegal substance concealed in the food and contacted authorities.
Officers from the Houston Police Department determined the lump was, in fact, crystal meth and placed the passenger under arrest.
While transportation security agents do not actively screen for illegal drugs, they are required to contact law enforcement should they come across suspected drugs during routine screening of luggage or passengers.
Ninth on the list was a "long-barreled revolver with a wooden grip" that looked "very much like an antique pistol," the TSA wrote in a statement.
"It was the type of handgun that you might have seen pulled during one of several movie shootouts in 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,' the 'Gunfight at the O.K. Corral' or 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,'" the agency added.
At the bottom of the list was a set of six bullets uncovered at the Atlantic City International Airport last September, which a traveler had “artfully concealed inside a stick of deodorant,” the TSA wrote in a statement.
The TSA confiscated a record number of firearms at security checkpoints last year, despite fewer travelers passing through due to the ongoing pandemic. Still, in the first nine months of the year alone, agents stopped 4,495 individuals from bringing guns in their carry-on luggage, marking a two-decade high with three months still left to go in the year. That number passed 5,700 seizures by the end of the year, also a record for the agency.
As of October, the TSA was stopping 11 out of every million passengers for possessing firearms, compared to five out of a million passengers in 2019.
“The number of firearms that our TSA officers are stopping at airport checkpoints is alarming,” TSA administrator David Pekoske wrote in a statement at the time. “Firearms, particularly loaded firearms, introduce an unnecessary risk at checkpoints, have no place in the passenger cabin of an airplane, and represent a very costly mistake for the passengers who attempt to board a flight with them.”
Here is the TSA’s full list of unusual finds:
Chainsaw - Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (Louisiana)
Pistol-shaped wine holder - Sacramento International Airport (California)
Fireworks and pyrotechnics - Syracuse Hancock International Airport (New York)
Wooden-handled machete - Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (Virginia)
Bear spray - Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (Florida)
Used cleaver - Harrisburg International Airport (Pennsylvania)
Belt buckle with firearm - Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (Hawaii)
Crystal meth in breakfast burrito - William P. Hobby Airport (Texas)
Long-barreled revolver - Newark Liberty International Airport (New Jersey)
Bullets in deodorant - Atlantic City International Airport (New Jersey)