BANGOR — Standing next to a table covered with brass knuckles, power drills, circular saw blades, baseball bats, ski poles, throwing knives and even a knife disguised as a small pistol, representatives of the Transportation Security Administration said on Thursday that travelers should be aware of what’s in their luggage this holiday season.

The collection of assorted utility knives, weapons, tools and sporting equipment was surrendered to TSA officials at Bangor International Airport’s security checkpoints after being found in carry-on baggage, in pockets and on belts.

“What we want to do is stress to passengers how to be a smart traveler this holiday season,” TSA spokesman Michael McCarthy said during a Thursday news conference at the Bangor airport. “We want you to know before you go, know what is and is not allowed to fly in your luggage before you show up at the checkpoint because that will help you get through the checkpoint quickly.”

TSA held a similar news conference on Wednesday at Portland International Jetport, McCarthy said, and it will be spreading that message across the country leading up to the holiday travel season.

Carey Varney, a TSA agent at Bangor’s airport, said more often than not, the people who try to bring these surrendered items on board simply forgot they had the items on them or in their bags. A person who wears a utility knife on their belt every day might overlook the fact that they can’t take it to their plane seat with them.

The items laid out on the table ranged from drill bits and paring knives to firearms.


“Nothing surprises me anymore,” Varney said.

TSA doesn’t confiscate the material it doesn’t allow on the planes. Travelers have the option of returning to their cars to leave the items, placing them in checked luggage or handing them off to a family member who isn’t traveling, but those who are about to fly often decide that’s too much of a hassle and instead opt to let the TSA keep the items.

Tony Caruso, Bangor airport director, said after the news conference that the holiday season tends to bring a lot of people through the airport who aren’t used to flying and are unfamiliar with TSA rules.

Here are a few rules:

— Liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-ons must hold 3.4 ounces or less per container. All containers should be put in a 1-quart clear, plastic zip-top bag.

— Firearms are allowed but only in checked baggage. Weapons must be unloaded and stored in a locked, hard-sided case. Firearms also must be declared to the airline.


— Large electronics should be packed on top of the luggage so they can be easily accessed when they need to be pulled out at security.

— Shoes should be easy to remove and placed on the X-ray belt.

— Pockets should be easy to empty at the X-ray belt for screening.

— If you’re taking gifts to a holiday celebration, it might be a good idea to wait to wrap them until you reach your destination. If TSA needs to check the packages, agents likely will have to open the gifts early.

For more information on what you can and can’t bring in your luggage and how to pack and prepare to get through security as quickly as possible, visit or download the MyTSA mobile application to your phone.

McCarthy said he understands that people want to get through security and to their destinations as rapidly and cleanly as possible.

“That’s what we want as well,” McCarthy said.

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