The 7 Dumbest Things Ever Done by Airport Security

The 7 Dumbest Things Ever Done by Airport Security

If there's one holiday ritual we all know and hate, it's that yearly trip to the airport, where the friendly security man awaits with his X-ray machine, his metal detector and possibly a well-lubed rubber glove.

While none of us want to spend the holidays involved in a terrorist incident (unless you're living in the Die Hard universe), you have to admit that sometimes security gets a little out of hand. And then there are horror stories like...

Terrorist Breasts Safely Disarmed with Pliers

Just Another Day In Line:

Mandi Hamlin was just trying to grab a flight from Lubbock, TX. She made it through the main security scanners and her various metal piercings hadn't set off any alarms. Then she was wanded by a female TSA employee and discovered that, without her knowledge, her breasts had joined Al Qaeda.


Apparently figuring that the metal nipple rings were there to disguise some kind of implanted boob lasers, Hamlin was forced to remove both of her piercings.


One came out with no problem, but the other had to be removed using pliers. This was done behind a screen, while (according to Hamlin) male agents stood nearby laughing at her.

Here's what the Transportation Security Administration had to say for itself:

"TSA supports the thoroughness of the officers involved as they were acting to protect the passengers and crews of the flights departing Lubbock that day... In the future, TSA will inform passengers that they have the option to resolve the alarm through a visual inspection of the article in lieu of removing the item in question."

We suppose the visual inspection beats the hands on approach. Though it's just a matter of time until Al Qaeda develops some kind of poisonous nanodarts that can fire out from those piercings and kill everyone on board. Or at least that's what keeps happening in that dream we dare not tell the therapist about.

Where will you be when tits strike back?

To Make Things Worse...

Before the Hamlin incident, the TSA saw fit to feel up dozens of women, forcing them to take off their shirts in public while a female TSA agent felt all around the bra. Don't worry, ladies, after enough complaints rolled in the TSA promised to exclude your boobs from the pat-down.

Unless the metal detector goes off...

All Men Named David Nelson are Terrorists

Just Another Day In Line:

You probably know that all airline passenger lists are compared against a no-fly list, which the TSA didn't even want to admit existed at one time. The problem is that, as it turns out, sometimes more than one person in the world shares the same name.


So, you can imagine the chaos that erupted when a "David Nelson" somehow wound up on the list. That name isn't exactly as distinctive as, say, Flavor Flav, so the result was many, many David Nelsons getting pulled out of line every single time they flew (including one David Nelson who got called out by security four times on one trip).

It doesn't help that the process to get your name removed from the watch list takes at least a month and a half, and the ACLU had to sue to even get that. In a nice touch of irony, one of the lawyers who was working for the ACLU was named...David Nelson.

To Make Things Worse...

An easier way to get off the no-fly list is to just change your name, as one Canadian man did. Yes, the entire no-fly list is founded on the idea that terrorists are stupid enough to fly using their own names.

The Cutest Little Terrorist Ever!

Just Another Day In Line:

Now, of course the whole "block every flyer with the same name" thing doesn't apply to the obvious cases. Like they're not pulling little David Nelson babies out of the line or anything, right?



Yep, TSA employees pulled Matthew Gardner out of the line because somebody with that name showed up on a federal Most Wanted list.

Matthew is five.

Agents searched the belongings of both Matthew and his mom. When the mother went to comfort the upset child, she was told to back away. Because, you know, it totally says right here on the screen he like shot six dudes at a bank in Reno.

But, hey, we've heard of little kid suicide bombers before, right? It could happen. And really, can you ever be too careful?

To Make Things Worse...

Yes, yes you can. For instance, if you not only stop an infant in line, but you stop an infant from flying because, again, he shows up on the no-fly list.

"Sorry, but you're gonna have to leave that with us."

Parents have gotten repeatedly held up (or missed flights completely) waiting to get passports and other documentation faxed in to prove their one-year-old wasn't a little terrorist mastermind.

"All We Need to Take the Plane is a Butter Knife. And the Pilot."

Just Another Day In Line:

Anybody protecting our safety on airlines obviously isn't going to let somebody bring a knife on board. And, of course, the TSA plays things safe by confiscating thousands of Swiss Army knives and others that could make damn fine weapons in the hand of a trained nutjob.

We're not going to complain about that, are we?


Well, there's the case of Patrick Smith, who got stopped with a butter knife. A butter knife from the plane. It was one of the knives they give you with your in-flight meal.

Like this dangerous piece of murder.

But what was this crazy man doing trying to sneak airplane issued silverware through security anyway? Why couldn't he have just waited to get one with his meal, like a normal person?

Well, the airline issued it to him. Because he works for them. As a pilot. And all of this happened while he was standing there in full pilot uniform.

Wrap your mind around that. If this man was a terrorist and intended to fly a plane into a building, he doesn't need a knife to get into the cockpit. They pay him to sit there.

To Make Things Worse...

With such stringent standards, they catch every dangerous knife, right? Well, there was somebody who got through a security checkpoint with a four-inch knife blade after getting his apparently far more dangerous pudding confiscated.

As for all those knives they do confiscate, you might be wondering what happens to them. After all, some of these knives are cherished possessions of the owners, or beloved heirlooms! So, of course, there's a process to get them back. They call it eBay.

Break Your Ankle for National Security

Just Another Day In Line:

Obviously crutches are a big problem for metal detectors, because you can't exactly tell a guy with a broken leg to hop through without them. So the TSA has a perfectly reasonable policy in place for their employees to follow. Unless, of course, that employee is a prick.


Just ask Lona Dunlap. She had a sprained ankle and was on crutches. So what did her friendly local TSA screener do? He took away her crutches and forced her to stand on her sprained ankle, causing two fractures. Lona is looking into her legal options, and the TSA says it's taking such claims "very seriously."

To Make Things Worse...

Then there's this story of a woman who, due to childhood polio, needs braces, crutches and a wheelchair just to get around. She was blocked from flying unless she dropped her pants behind a sheet in a public terminal.

This sounds like they would be required to stand up to do that, which would seem to be impossible for somebody in a wheelchair. But of course that's just what a terrorist would want us to think.

You Can Only Feed Your Kids So Much

Just Another Day In Line:

The TSA, as you might have heard, banned liquids for a while. But what about the children? Well, the TSA of course allows amounts of baby food "reasonable for the duration of the itinerary." "Reasonable" being the key word.

Can you see what's about to go wrong here?


Anand V. Soni and Arati Pratap were traveling with a 10-month-old from Chicago to Manchester, NH. This was in February, and being reasonably bright people, they assumed there might be a few delays flying between two places famous for snow in the middle of winter. So they brought along six jars or so of Gerbers and 20 ounces of formula, which a TSA employee told them was too much. The supervisor on shift agreed. They were told they'd need a doctor's note to bring that much food.

They're both doctors.

And the kid was one, too!

To Make Things Worse...

A traveler named Monica Emmerson saw her toddler's sippy cup get confiscated, because it had water in it. Maybe her son was on the watch list.

Or not, since Monica is a former Secret Service agent.

TSA Stops Dangerous Terroist T-Shirt

Just Another Day In Line:

Raed Jarrar was just looking to get on his flight. The Iraq Project Director for Global Exchange is a pretty busy guy, after all. And, being a political guy and all that, he was wearing a T-shirt, in Arabic and English, saying "We Will Not Be Silent."

These are the situations irony was invented for.


The man was pulled out of line and questioned because the T-shirt had the Arabic on it, which he was told was like wearing a T-shirt saying "I am a bank robber" to the local branch.

They wouldn't let him fly unless he covered the Arabic script with another T-shirt, which they figured would offset the magical plane-destroying powers of the silk screened letters.

To Make Things Worse...

Then there's Dr. Ahmed Farooq, a Canadian national who got booted off an airplane for performing his evening prayers. To the TSA's credit, that was the flight crew that made that call and the TSA agents at the airport realized it was retarded (but didn't realize it in time to get him back on the flight, which took off without him and stranded him in Denver).

"See ya!"

Of course, the airline didn't feel bad enough to actually pay for Farooq's return flight the next day, or the costs of the hotel he stayed in until the next flight. The least they could have done was send him home with a free box of confiscated knives. Or a T-shirt.

For the other side of that stupid coin check out The 7 Most Retarded Criminal Excuses of All Time. Or for examples of weird shit you can buy online other than someone's confiscated pocketknife check out 5 Things You Shouldn't Be Able to Buy on eBay.

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