BOISE -- KTVB got an exclusive look at some of the scary and simply strange items Boise Airport passengers have tried to take on board planes. The Transportation Security Administration saved some of the items passengers had to abandon because they were not allowed in their carry-on baggage.
One out of every one hundred passengers who's flown since 9-11 has had with them some type of prohibited item that couldn't go onto into a plane cabin. As you'd imagine, that's a lot of stuff, and with all of the safety restrictions, there's some interesting stuff in people's pockets and carry-ons.
In the last six weeks, TSA officers have found a lot of unusual things in carry-ons and pockets. Those items included all of these things: switchblades, Swiss army knives, pocketknives, multitools, cattle prod, clips, slingshot, small ax, bottle openers and corkscrews, gardening tools, small saws, decorative saw blade, baton, pool cue, purse with brass knuckles, and a small gun keychain.
"Many of these items, the majority of these items would be fine in your checked bag that you would check in at the ticket counter," Idaho TSA Federal Security Director Jeff Holmgren said. "For instance a knife is certainly allowed in your checked baggage for instance."
Many of the prohibited items the TSA collected were simple pocket tools, like a BSU corkscrew and bottle opener.
"While we're a big fan of the Boise State Broncos you know, unfortunately a lot of these sharp items here can be used in the wrong hands," Holmgren said.
Novelty items can also be stopped at security, like the decorative saw blade, toy gun keychain, and the purse with a weapons theme that has a handle designed to look like brass knuckles.
Some rules may seem over-the-top, but to the TSA, anything that even looks like a threat might not just present danger, it could make your seat-mate defensive, or simply uncomfortable.
"We're also beyond security, very much in the business of safety for all passengers at all times, on every flight," Holmgren said.
In the last year, Boise TSA officers have collected around 700 pounds of prohibited items. Most were small knives or prohibited liquids, but they also found nine guns.
Just last month, TSA found a loaded gun in a man's carry-on by running the bag through the x-ray machine. Boise Police ticketed him, took his gun, and destroyed the ammo.
Most of the time, bringing a prohibited item is an honest mistake, and passengers just hand over their prohibited item, no problem, no punishment.
"We know that the vast majority of passengers that might have these have either forgotten or just didn't realize and certainly didn't have bad intent," Holmgren said.
But with terrorism freshly in mind, officers know even little things could become big things, and that's why many items are now prohibited and need to stay on the ground or in checked luggage.
"We want to present an image to a potential adversary somewhere in the world that we take all levels of this business very seriously," Holmgren said.
Most of those things you just saw are obviously not allowed, but what about your shaving razor or knitting needles? If you can't decide whether something's okay to carry on or check, the TSA has a mobile app and web page where you can type the item in and check out the rules. According to the site, our examples, razors and knitting needles, are okay to carry on.
The TSA doesn't force anything from people, it's all up to passengers to decide what to do, if they can't take something on. If they choose to just leave things behind, like the surrendered things KTVB saw, the TSA waits 30 days, then donates the items to the state's federal surplus property program where they are sold. The TSA doesn't make any money off of the sales.