TSA to now allow pocketknives, but not “massive steel dildos”

The TSA’s ban on small pocketknives, wiffleball bats, hockey or lacrosse sticks and golf clubs will end late next month.

It’s a positive change for the TSA, though it still is a far cry from admitting that locking the pilot doors on planes has been the single biggest safety improvement since 9/11.

Here’s the TSA statement in full, released yesterday:

“Through TSA’s layered approach to security, and to align more closely with International Civil Aviation Organization standards, effective April 25, 2013 TSA will allow knives that do not lock, and have blades that are 2.36 inches or 6 centimeters or less in length and are less than 1/2 inch in width, novelty-sized and toy bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs as part of their carry-on baggage. This is part of an overall Risk-Based Security approach, which allows Transportation Security Officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives.”

More importantly, though not an actual “change,” the hotly-debated issue of whether the TSA allows sex toys that are more than 7 inches has been clarified by New York magazine. They’re legal, just in case anyone is wondering about that. (Though apparently the TSA draws the line at “massive steel dildos.”)

In fact, as NY Magazine has uncovered, you can even go to the TSA Web site and enter the item that you want to bring on the plane, in order to see if it’s okay.  I tried “vibrator,” and what do you know?

TSA permits vibrators

It’s not perfect, but the TSA is finally showing that the organization can evolve.

tsa-girl-wheelchair

Three year old Lucy, whose bff stuffed animal Lamby was banned by the TSA.

The TSA still has plenty of silly rules and even with those, their biggest problem has been their poor treatment of passengers including taking away the stuffed animal “Lamby” from three year old Lucy in a wheelchair a few weeks back.

And who can forget the TSA ban on cream cheese, unless it’s on a bagel, then it’s ok.  Or the TSA’s concern over the icing on a cupcake.

The list of abusive and mindless treatment of travelers is a long one for the TSA. and if the organization is going to turn the corner and put bad behavior behind, that has to be the focus of the organization.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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41 Responses to “TSA to now allow pocketknives, but not “massive steel dildos””

  1. Ramon Nieves says:

    Now wait a minute. Didn’t the September 1st 2001 terrorists use box cutters to take over the planes. What’s the difference between a box cutter and a pocket knife?

  2. Arjan says:

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  3. massive dildos says:

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  5. Comfortably Numb says:

    D’oh! Didn’t read all comments. Where’s the delete button? Flagging myself now.

  6. Comfortably Numb says:

    You can have my massive steel dildo when you pry it from my cold, dead anus.

  7. Naja pallida says:

    Exactly. The National Massive Steel Dildo Association just doesn’t lobby hard enough for the rights of us owners enough. They’re all for the manufacturers!

  8. You’ll have to pry this massive steel dildo from my cold dead….?

  9. You’ll have to pry this massive steel dildo from my cold dead…?

  10. Did ya know that someone can be beaten to death with a Chicken McNugget?

  11. That’s a lot of people to tackle.

  12. And I left (forgot) mine at home.

    How can anybody travel without one of these?

  13. AdmNaismith says:

    Falafel…? Falafel.

  14. Naja pallida says:

    Wait… massive clear steel dildos? This is obviously a new technology! Transparent steel! Mr. Scott, we’re going to need to violate the Temporal Prime Directive.

  15. Craig says:

    I’d really love to see that headline on Fox sometime. “Today’s top story: A Seattle bound 747 was hijacked when an assailant burst into the cockpit with a ten-inch steel …” Oh good Lord what would Bill O’Reilly have to say about that! :)

  16. BeccaM says:

    It has already happened, and continues to happen. Passengers will not be threatened into submission anymore.

    Richard Reid, the incompetent shoe bomber? Tackled, disarmed, restrained, and arrested. Same with that ‘underwear bomber’ dude, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab.

    Just last year, in a story few of us heard about, six men attempted to hijack a plane in China. The crew and passengers subdued them all, and beat two of them to death.
    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/06/chinese-passengers-crew-thwart-attempted-plane-hijacking/

    2011, on a flight from Oslo to Istanbul, a man tried to hijack a flight — and was overpowered by the passengers.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1344575/Passengers-stop-Turkish-plane-hijacker-storms-cockpit-bomb.html

    In 2009, on a plane bound to Cairo, a drunken Sudanese would-be hijacker with a knife was stopped, subdued by onboard security:
    http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&link=190753

  17. BeccaM says:

    Knitting needles were added back in. For several years after 9/11, they weren’t allowed.

  18. OtterQueen says:

    Personally, I would encourage my tax dollars being spent on anal plugs. Harmless fun, and hardly the worst use of our money.

  19. Drew2u says:

    “Well the doc gave me both a suppository and a breath mint. I could hardly swallow the pill!”

  20. Drew2u says:

    Good thinking. Wouldn’t it be considered “endurance training equipment for performance art”?

  21. Naja pallida says:

    Well, you know I already have a massive steel dildo, so you’re gonna have to go to your plan B if you want to get me something. ;)

  22. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    It would have made traveling with Christmas presents easier.

  23. Vicky says:

    Even before these changes, the TSA was (and still is, apparently) perfectly fine with screwdrivers (up to 7 inches) (apparently the magic number!) and knitting needles, which I’m pretty sure have the potential to do more harm than blunt tweezers (which once caused me to miss a flight). It’s never been entirely logical.

  24. 1. I wasn’t aware that tax dollars were being spent on anal plugs. So that’s where Lindsey Graham is getting his…

    2. If you’re so offended by massive steel dildos, then why did you click on the story in the first place, when the title made it massively clear what the story was about?
    Methinks…

  25. victoriousreality says:

    Is this a news blog or a porno blog? Why is Chris in Paris concerned about his ability to take “massive steel dildos” on a plane? Or, why is he assuming that everyone’s immediate next question, after hearing about pocketknives, is “can I take a vibrator or massive steel dildo or a plane?” Who are the people that read his stuff, anyway? Are they the people, like John Aravosis, that advocate for my tax dollars being spent on anal plugs?

  26. Indigo says:

    Security theater. Yes. I like to call it kabuki but they don’t wear the makeup. The TSA should wear the makeup. It’d all be so much more easily understood if they wore the makeup. Appropriate kabuki costumes would help too.

  27. Naja pallida says:

    Tell them your Republican Congressman diagnosed you via video with hysteria.

  28. Mary O'Grady says:

    How true– it is only theatre.
    Some years ago, on Texas’s death row, one inmate killed another using a chicken bone. How has the TSA not banned bone-in chicken?

    But seriously, Becca, you are absolutely correct– even I, the most peaceable, not to say cowardly of passengers, would fight tooth and nail against hijackers.

  29. Naja pallida says:

    Go long!

  30. Or medicinal? ;-)

  31. I wonder if folks still have that mentality. I suspect they do. I know flying will never be the same for me. I don’t loathe it as much as I did in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, but it’s still not the enjoyable relaxing mind-letting-go experience it once was for me. But yeah, I agree, someone goes nuts, I’m tackling him along with everyone else.

  32. Not necessarily. It is possible that someone flew before them, and after numerous attempts, snuck a boxcutter on and stowed it under the right seat. I doubt the cleaning crews would ever have found it.

  33. Naja pallida says:

    Damn, and here I was hoping to once again travel with my massive steel dildo.

  34. theophrastvs says:

    what about dildos that lock?

  35. Jafafa Hots says:

    How is a massive steel dildo not sports equipment?

  36. BeccaM says:

    Since 9/11, nobody can hijack planes anymore because passengers will refuse to cooperate 100% of the time.

    Quite honestly, they could allow machetes onboard planes and there still would be no hijackings. The ONLY things we needed for substantially greater air travel safety, we now have two of the three in place. One was reinforced, locked cockpit doors (done), while the other was passengers who will no longer cooperate. The third was full and thorough screening of air cargo — but unfortunately the moneyed interests fought against that, and so we don’t have it.

  37. eahopp says:

    Say goodbye to the Mile High Club!

  38. nicho says:

    Yeah, and according to the early reports — now gone down the memory hole — is that the weapons they used were already on the plane, meaning they had accomplices among airport employees. In fact, the authorities found box cutters under seat cushions on other aircraft. Basically, the whole thing tells you that the “security” measures are just theater.

  39. Honestly that was my thought too. Seemed odd that the one thing they were okay with is knives.

  40. Drew2u says:

    Somehow I think the real reason for this change is for the sports equipment. The rest seems incidental.

  41. GBC says:

    Uh, 9/11 perpetrators used box cutters. Perhaps knives should not be allowed in carry-on bags?

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