The Weirdest Things TSA Confiscated in 2016

Who knew: TSA has a major sense of humor.

The Weirdest Things TSA Confiscated in 2016

Terminal 4, D Gates, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

Photo by Alan Levine/Flickr

It turns out the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) has a wicked sense of humor.

Sure, a recent TSA Instagram video grabbed headlines when it listed the 10 “most unusual finds” confiscated at airport security checkpoints in 2016. But the real story was the tone of the David Letterman-style video itself. It’s FUNNY. Like, snarf-coffee-all-over-your-keyboard funny.

A big part of the humor comes in the delivery: Blogger Bob Burns is dry, wry, and Confucian in his brevity on camera. Also, his purple paisley tie kicks major you-know-what.

The items are a hoot in their own right, too. Eight of the Top 10 confiscated items could have been construed as weapons or bombs, making it understandable that TSA agents would give them the Dikembe Mutombo finger-nod. Two of the items, however—a bottle of dead sea horses and a mummified person movie prop—were just plain creepy; the kind of creepy you half expected to see in the killer’s lair at the end of The Silence of the Lambs.

(Of the others, the replica exploding vest and pink Hello Kitty pistol were among our faves. A copy of Lucille, the baseball bat in barbed wire from The Walking Dead, gets honorable mention.)

The video certainly is turning heads; in three days online it had garnered nearly 56,000 views. A recent article on TravelPulse helped spread the word.

As for TSA, the agency wisely is seeking to capitalize on all this attention, reminding viewers at the end of the video that if we’re wondering what we can and can’t bring to the airport, we should visit (and leave the hand grenade–shaped tow hitches at home).

Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at

Matt Villano is a writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. To learn more about him, visit
From Our Partners
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More from AFAR