Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Grenades: A Refresher Course on Checkpoint Etiquette

Last July, Blogger Bob wrote a post: “Can I Take my Hand Grenade on the Plane?’ Some wondered aloud if we had to state such an obvious thing, because seriously, who would think they could take a grenade on a plane?


Over the weekend, a grenade was found in a passenger’s carry-on bag in Phoenix. At first, the passenger said he didn’t know the grenade was in his bag. Then he said he left it unattended curbside and someone could have put it in there. Later, while talking to law enforcement officers, he admitted it was given to him by his grandfather from WWII.

There’s been quite a few reports of grenades found at checkpoints lately, so I did some research to find out just how many had been caught by officers since Blogger Bob’s July post. The answer: 21.

Of the other 20 or so hand grenades found, here are some highlights:

One was found hidden in a stuffed animal. The passenger said the stuffed animal was a gift and had no idea anything was hidden in it. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving…

One was the popular gag-gift plaque that says: “Complaint Department: Take a Number.” Problem is, in the X-ray, the most notable part of the image is - you guessed it - the grenade.

A Pittsburgh passenger who packed an inert hand grenade in his bag as a present for his son said he has never flown before and had no idea he couldn’t take the inert grenade on the plane.

A law enforcement officer from Canada visiting the US for a convention had a pepper spray grenade, flash bang grenade and a smoke grenade in his bag.

A passenger who said he was previously a member of the military stated that the grenade found in his bag was a souvenir.

A military reservist said the grenade found in her bag was a gift for her brother.

The lesson to be learned here is that even if it’s a gift (gag or otherwise), souvenir or inert, putting a grenade in your carry-on or checked bag is a no-no. I would also suggest not packing the new novelty grenade MP3 player in your carry-on or checked bags. Not only will you be delayed and possibly miss your flight, but you could also end up spending some quality time with law enforcement officers.

As we like to say when giving packing advice, when in doubt, leave it out. And it can’t hurt to do a last minute double check of your bag to make sure there are no grenades, guns or other prohibited items in it.

Safe travels,


TSA Blog Team