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Don't Pack that ax
T.J. Kampa

     In the interest of aviation security, the Transportation Security Administration has once again revised the guidelines regarding what items will be allowed in carry-on luggage and which items must be checked. Keep in mind that these guidelines were created to make all passengers safe and comfortable. The list has been divided into several groups to make sure that every possible liquid, gel, lotion, spray, gloss, potential weapon, sporting good, electronic device, food or beverage can be categorized as acceptable or unacceptable. Please refer to the list below explaining each group and remember to arrive at the airport at least six hours in advance because “smart security saves time.”

 Health and welfare items
     Baby formula and breast milk is OK, but only if a baby or small child is traveling with you; the milk must be declared and checked. It also will be sampled, so make sure it’s warm. All prescription and over-the-counter medications including KY jelly must be checked. Don’t try to hide the jelly; we know what it’s for. Items used to augment the body for medical or cosmetic reasons: prosthetic breasts or shells containing gel or saline solution must be declared. If these items exceed three ounces, and what prosthetic breast doesn’t, they will be subject to further fondling/inspection. Cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap and lip balm must be limited to three ounces and fit in a one-quart, clear plastic bag. There’s a limit to how clean a person can get.

Sharp Objects
     Here’s where it gets a little confusing.
     Cigar cutters, corkscrews, those tiny screwdrivers in a eyeglass repair kit, nail clippers and tweezers are OK; they’re not sharp enough to cause any real physical damage, but they would wreak havoc on the terrorist with prosthetic breasts. Scissors must be plastic or metal with blunt tips, but who uses those? Metal scissors with pointed tips must have a blade shorter than four inches. A stab wound of four inches or less is survivable. Razor-type blades are not allowed unless they’re in a cartridge, then it’s a safety razor, and OK, but an inferior shave. Box cutters, ice picks, meat cleavers, sabers and swords are allowed only in checked baggage. Please keep these things wrapped up. Inspectors with less than eight fingers get stuck with X-Ray duty.

Sporting goods
     Baseball bats, bows and arrows, hockey sticks, pool cues and ski poles cannot be carried onto the plane. Walking canes and umbrellas are fine, but they must be declared and inspected. Don’t try to conceal something inside your cane, even with missing fingers we can find prohibited items. Toy weapons, as long as they’re not realistic replicas of actual firearms are fine. Speaking of guns, BB, flare, pellet and compressed air guns must be checked and unloaded. Ammunition must be checked and is allowed only for personal use. Bullets must be securely packed in boxes designed to carry small amounts. No gunpowder or flares, sorry we have to draw the line somewhere.

Tools
     This one’s easy.
     Axes, cattle prods, crowbars, hammers, drills and saws are not allowed in carry-on luggage. Miscellaneous tools, screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers less than seven inches in length are allowed, but we have no idea why.

Electronic devices
     Camcorders, camera equipment, laptops, mobile phones, pagers and personal data assistants (PDA’s) are welcome. They can cause interference with the plane’s navigational system if they’re not properly turned off at designated times, but we know how attached people are to gadgets. Business class would cease to exist without this exemption, so if the plane goes off course, blame the guy with the Blackberry.

Food
     Any beverage brought from home or purchased prior to the security checkpoint is not allowed. It’s just like the theater; if you didn’t buy it inside; don’t try to sneak it inside. Canned or jarred foods like soup, peanut butter, fruits, vegetables or jellies are not allowed, unless you’re traveling with a baby, which makes you less threatening. No Jell-O, pudding or yogurt, the shift in cabin pressure causes mini explosions frightening our service personnel, and also because it’s sticky. Whipped cream, has been classified as an over-the-counter medication for those KY jelly folks. Finally, cheese in a pressurized container is not OK.

Conclusion
     The Transportation Security Administration prides itself on its ability to classify those things that might be considered a possible threat to any travelers. We hope this list clarifies the restrictions.

Transportation Security Administration ... Vigilant, Effective, Efficient
                        U.S. Department of Homeland Security

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