Minnesota can be a winter wonderland, but for those who crave a break from the frigid darkness, winter vacation season may conjure up images of blue lagoons and sun-drenched beaches.
Before one heads to the airport to escape from the frozen tundra, it is advisable to consult the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for its thoughtfully prepared information to protect the traveling public.
The list of things that are not allowed in carry-on luggage is quite comprehensive.
For example, it is not acceptable to pack a meat cleaver in one’s carry-on.
I was pleased to discover that. I don’t know what kind of person would think of taking a meat cleaver with him on a trip, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to sit next to him on a cramped airplane.
Swords, sabres, and fencing foils are also prohibited. I suppose passengers who are relaxing with a good book to pass the time might find it distracting to have swordplay going on around them during a flight.
One cannot carry gunpowder or percussion caps on a plane, either.
If Daniel Boone were alive, he might object to that, but it’s probably not much of an inconvenience for most of us.
Lumberjacks might be hampered by the prohibition against axes and hatchets on a plane.
I was somewhat taken aback to learn that cattle prods are not allowed in the cabin of an aircraft. I can’t imagine why a person would need a cattle prod on a vacation or business trip.
I suppose it might help one get through a crowded airport terminal more quickly, but there are bound to be consequences and repercussions.
It is not surprising that firearms are not allowed in carry--on baggage, but neither are billy clubs, brass knuckles, throwing stars, or a variety of other weapons.
It is comforting to know that dynamite is not acceptable on an aircraft.
Hand grenades are also forbidden, so it is best to leave those at home.
As tempting as it might be to bring a supply of plastic explosives along on vacation, this is also prohibited.
Flares, gasoline, gas torches, and lighter fluid are also on the do-not-pack list.
Travelers will also have to leave their spray paint, chlorine, fireworks, compressed air cylinders, and tear gas at home when heading to the airport.
Rounding out the list was a prohibition on vehicle air bags.
I’m not sure how one would pack vehicle air bags in a suitcase, much less why.
One item on the list really made me curious. According to the TSA, “recreational oxygen” is not permitted. This includes “non-medically required, flavored or canned oxygen containers.”
The need for “recreational oxygen” is surely a subject for another column, but for now, suffice it to say one can’t take it on a plane.
These are just the highlights.
The thing I wondered, after studying the list of prohibited items, is have people actually tried to take all these things on a flight, or is the list intended to prevent circumstances that might, hypothetically occur?
If it is based on actual experience, I may have to rethink my decision to use air transport.
Driving is no picnic, but at least it offers more options for escape than there are when one is trapped in a metal cylinder with a bunch of lunatics cruising at 30,000 feet.
For those who may have strange ideas about vacation equipment, or for anyone who is just curious about items they are thinking of packing, the TSA has a convenient app for travelers. Just download the app, enter the item in question, and the app will answer whether or not the item is prohibited.