A Former TSA Officer Is Sharing Airport Security Hacks on TikTok
All your most pressing questions about weed pens, scent hounds, checked bags and more, answered
When it comes to sneaking things through TSA checkpoints in your carry-on, my advice, generally, is … don’t. Not only do you run the risk of holding up yourself and everyone else, but also subjecting yourself to a more thorough search and potentially having your personal items confiscated. It can be a humiliating ordeal if nothing else.
That said, unlike TikTok user Jaime Cooper, I’ve never worked for the TSA. And while TSA employees may have been banned from the platform for safety concerns following an appeal from then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in February of last year, Cooper, who is no longer employed by the organization, has taken to the platform over the last month to share what she knows.
“Number one: the dogs in the airports don’t smell for drugs, they only smell for explosives,” Cooper kicks off the initial clip with. (That’s news to me, and other sources refute this, so carry contraband at your own risk.)
“Number two: all of the tips and tricks that you’re using to try to conceal and hide the illegal things that you’re bringing? Just stop, because it’s an X-ray,” she continues. “It can literally see through everything. You’re not hiding it in a toothpaste tube or whatever it is that you’re doing.”
That one admittedly seems pretty obvious, but the more you know.
“Number three: it makes more sense to put it in your checked baggage because that way if they find it they’ll just throw it out, whereas if you’re in the security checkpoint and somebody finds it and they decide to be an asshole, they’re going to call the cops and that’s just going to lead you to issues and missing your flight,” she says in reference to all of the less-than-savory items that have a tendency to not make it through security checkpoints.
The clip, which has amassed almost 13 million views, garnered so much attention that it resulted in several corresponding posts where Cooper can be seen addressing specific topics pertaining to domestic travel, like sex toys (yes, you can bring them in your carry-on and yes, TSA will be able to see them) and items you can actually carry on, despite popular belief (vapes, carts, pepper spray, edibles so long as they’re bagged discretely, etc.).
Cooper’s tips and tricks don’t feel all that dissimilar to the in-flight hacks making the rounds on TikTok courtesy of a handful of flight attendants: marginally enlightening but definitely objectionable. In a few of the later posts, Cooper goes on to explore some topics of more dubious legality, like whether or not you can fly with a warrant (TSA is not aware of standing warrants, nor is it their job to be) and acceptable IDs (you must be in possession of a photo ID, but it can be up to a year expired).
Cooper’s tea-spilling sessions cover some topics of mere curiosity as well — not least of which is that sex toys are hardly the weirdest thing a TSA officer sees on a daily basis. So what is the weirdest thing anyone ever tried to bring through security on Cooper’s watch? Apparently not a thing at all, but rather the body of a newly deceased family member posed to look like a still living family member.
So, uh, there’s a little something to think about the next time you’re filling your plastic bin with shoes, electronics and definitely-not-a-weed-pen.
For more travel news, tips and inspo, sign up for InsideHook's weekly travel newsletter, The Journey.
Suggested for you