Check yourself before you wreck yourself — and fellow passengers.
More than 50 million passengers pass through JFK each year but not all of their possessions make it on a plane. Each month, hundreds of pounds of souvenirs, lighters, knives and large objects (think hockey sticks) are confiscated by the Transportation Security Administration, said agency spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.
“Every flight, every checkpoint, every day,” Farbstein said. “Your hammer/mallet? Put that in your checked bag. Your 10 pound weight? Put that in your checked bag.”
Aside from obviously illegal items like firearms or explosive materials, people who show up with things like knives or anything large enough to use as a blunt instrument have five options: put it back in the car, give it to someone who isn’t traveling, check it, mail it from the airport (There is a U.S. Postal Service location at JFK), or give it up.
The most commonly confiscated items are knives.
“You see kitchen knives, folding blade knives, swiss army knives, hunting knives, tactical training knives, there’s a BBQ knife, there’s a steak knife,” Farbstein said.
Every few months, confiscated items are boxed up and picked up by Pennsylvania’s state surplus program, which sells off the items in bulk. Pennsylvania keeps the money earned.
“New York doesn’t want to deal with that, so Pennsylvania comes because they know there’s a good haul at LaGuardia … at JFK,” she said. “They’ll dump a box and they’ll sit there on the counter and go red knife, blue knife, yellow knife, other … and they make piles.”
Unsure of what to bring to prevent it from ending up at a bulk sale? The TSA’s app has a search function where users can type in a specific item, down to the brand in many cases, and find out if its allowed in their checked or carry-on baggage.
Here’s a look at some unusual items recently picked up at JFK’s security checkpoints: