Memorable experiences going through airport security?

Stealthflyer

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I had a tiny tube of white oil paint confiscated once at Sydney airport because it contained lead. It wasn’t confiscated because of the lead in itself, but rather that the tube came up as a solid block on the X-ray and I “could be hiding anything in that tube”.

About 15 years ago I had an empty water bottle confiscated at BKK because it had “the capacity to carry liquid”.
 
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Scarlett

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At an airport overseas in what was a war zone… at the air movements terminal:
armed forces personnel carrying weapons were being directed through the metal detector scanner; beeeep, beeeep, beeeep. One guy goes to just walk directly from his seat out to the waiting military aircraft and gets told off because he needs to go around and through the scanner.

You probably only need one guess about the accents of the air movements staff.
 

AisleSeat

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About 15 years ago I had an empty water bottle confiscated at BKK because it had “the capacity to carry liquid”.
Ugh, I had this at Halifax NS. Everything was shut as it was last flight out (and I had a 2 hour wait), so I kept a water bottle to fill up at the water fountain. Security threw it out and wouldn't let me have it back.
 

Happy Dude

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After about a dozen trips doing so, CBR security insisted I couldn't carry spooled fishing reels. Fishing line can be used to restrain a person. Even chased me at the VA checkin counters to show me the CASA website. Then I get on the plane and see a guy carrying a cricket bat. Then on the return flight a guy gets on at WEI with an 8ft fishing rod still rigged with hook, line and sinker - just popped it in the overhead.

I also unknowingly carried a metal tent peg in a work laptop bag for many many flights through BNE, then was once pinged there for having one little plastic cable tie in carry on. I pointed out that a neck tie or belt or shoelaces would make a more effective "restraining device". Now I just put them in my pocket.
 

Happy Dude

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Not sure if still the case, but security for some regional flights (eg Burnie BWT - MEL) was after the flight. Particularly stupid IMO.

Once I had a can of something (tuna?) confiscated because it was a fraction over some limit, like 16g but the limit was 15g, or some such. I'd souvenir-ed it from a lounge in LED.
 

openseat

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Travelling around the US and to and from Australia to US in the period 2001 to 2005 - I got the dreaded SSSS so many times. The worst experiences ever in security. Most memorable of these was being sent to a LEO at DCA for being Australian after refusing to tell the TSA agent the gritty details why I was travelling - I had initially said "business", which was the case. Anyway missed my flight and connection back to Australia.

In Australia, special mention to CBR for being difficult and officious.
 

Lynda2475

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I've only had SSSS once and that was when flying LHR to JFK in 2019, was told because it is considered unusual routing for an Aussie to go to USA from UK and they have a quota. Interestingly everyone else pulled aside was a non-white male (many of whom were travelling with wives and kids who didn't get the dreaded SSSS).

It actually worked to my advantage, as got called up first for boarding even ahead of First, requested a better seat (as the SSSS blocked online check-in) which was granted (moved from middle of last row of Y to second row of Y window with a shadow), quick look through my carry-on and boarded before J.

Am also flying LHR to JFK this year, will be interesting to see if that triggers SSSS again, hopefully not as Ive never had when flying direct to USA from Aus.
 

Peanutbladder

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I used to visit a facility in South West Victoria that produced Morphine and Codeine for use in pain killers, that was always fun then going through security for the flight back home !!
 

AIRwin

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I used to visit a facility in South West Victoria that produced Morphine and Codeine for use in pain killers, that was always fun then going through security for the flight back home !!
International flight?
 

kelvedon

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We went, on another trip to Bali with young 10 year old. He packed his own backpack. My bad. We got to check in and thankfully the agent asked if there was anything risky in hand luggage. Thank god she did as young son asked if these were ok - and pulled out handcuffs and a toy pistol. This was 25 years ago. We are off to UK next month for his delayed wedding celebration and we are taking toy handcuffs to him and asking, in our parents speech, if he has any further need of them.
Mmmmmm…. The answer might be yes ! 😉
 

Seat0B

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A couple of years back whilst in the USA we visited a shooting range and relived our glory days from military service. Then we went back to our hotel and started packing for our return flight to Australia the next day.

All of a sudden, i said to Mr Seat 0A “do you think we will have explosive residue on our hands and clothes when we check in tomorrow?”

Unwilling to risk it, we found an overnight dry cleaner for our coats, and scrubbed and scrubbed in the shower, triple washed hair etc. Absolutely no issues at all on check in!
 

Peanutbladder

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A couple of years back whilst in the USA we visited a shooting range and relived our glory days from military service. Then we went back to our hotel and started packing for our return flight to Australia the next day.

All of a sudden, i said to Mr Seat 0A “do you think we will have explosive residue on our hands and clothes when we check in tomorrow?”

Unwilling to risk it, we found an overnight dry cleaner for our coats, and scrubbed and scrubbed in the shower, triple washed hair etc. Absolutely no issues at all on check in!
When we did it just outside LAX a few years ago they told us to keep the receipts to show at security just in case.
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International flight?
Yes back via MEL to the UK where I lived at the time. I was paranoid about powder residue on the soles of my shoes.
Fortunately I never got pulled aside for the swab (unlike every trip since !!)
 
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kookaburra75

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A couple of years back whilst in the USA we visited a shooting range and relived our glory days from military service. Then we went back to our hotel and started packing for our return flight to Australia the next day.

All of a sudden, i said to Mr Seat 0A “do you think we will have explosive residue on our hands and clothes when we check in tomorrow?”

Unwilling to risk it, we found an overnight dry cleaner for our coats, and scrubbed and scrubbed in the shower, triple washed hair etc. Absolutely no issues at all on check in!
Several years ago when I was doing some consulting work with Defence, we were over out the back of Port Augusta at the training area and wandered around while monitoring some tests. We drove back to Adelaide and checked in for our flight, and while going through security our boss was pulled aside for getting swabbed. Needless to say, the machine went off with a very loud beep, which startled the staff. I and our other colleague offered to go warm a seat in the lounge for him, while the boss chatted with the security people - he didn't agree with that idea.

The 'funny' thing was that the security staff didn't seem to know what to do - I think it must have been the first time for them to see such a result in real life. They swabbed his boots again, and came up with the same result. They tried a third time, and it came back negative, so they waved him through.
 

trooper

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I travel exclusively for target shooting competitions.. everything I have with me must be just about BATHED in primer/propellant residues....yet I have never had a problem with the swab tests... <shrug> I can only assume the residues from shooting are NOT the nitrates or whatever the machines are programmed to detect... (???) On one trip where I was loading my ammunition "onsite" I had my powder thrower in my carry on...they swabbed the inside of the (now empty) hopper.... no result. That surprised me a little....
 

Pushka

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A couple of years back whilst in the USA we visited a shooting range and relived our glory days from military service. Then we went back to our hotel and started packing for our return flight to Australia the next day.

All of a sudden, i said to Mr Seat 0A “do you think we will have explosive residue on our hands and clothes when we check in tomorrow?”

Unwilling to risk it, we found an overnight dry cleaner for our coats, and scrubbed and scrubbed in the shower, triple washed hair etc. Absolutely no issues at all on check in!
Similar thoughts to us for Bali where fireworks were legal and could be let off on the beach. Anytime. Hmmm. There's a trend here with younger son...
 

Seat0B

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I travel exclusively for target shooting competitions.. everything I have with me must be just about BATHED in primer/propellant residues....yet I have never had a problem with the swab tests... <shrug> I can only assume the residues from shooting are NOT the nitrates or whatever the machines are programmed to detect... (???) On one trip where I was loading my ammunition "onsite" I had my powder thrower in my carry on...they swabbed the inside of the (now empty) hopper.... no result. That surprised me a little....
Wow that’s amazing to know @trooper! Looks like I put us both through a whole lot of stress for nothing 😆😆
 

Hvr

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A few come to mind:

Transiting through MNL in the early 90s. A very thorough pat down. Let's just say, no stone was unturned.

Going into the holding pen at BKK, the bag search uncovered my nylon spatula. The security guard held it up and looked quizzically at me. I asked him to give it to me and then used it to scratch my back. Hilarious laughter from the security guard and I was allowed to proceed. I've carried it in my hand luggage for years without any comment.

Landing in SYD from BKK and there was a line of trainee sniffer dogs waiting to check our luggage. The dog assigned to mine went ballistic. Very excited and jumping on the suitcase. The handler asked me what I had that would set the dog off. I pulled out a pack of durian chips (still in the manufacturer's package, they were for my then boss).

The handler looked at them, smiled, handed them back to me and said they would have to note that odour so that the dogs didn't react.

Edited to correct spelling error.
 
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