So flying can be a handful and a half. We can't travel with anything but our knickers anymore, well that is what it feels like. Sometimes we forget what we've packed, especially if we've packed in a hurry. It feels like the simplest of necessities is now a HUGE no-no. So once and awhile we're flagged with a thing or two that could raise a few eyebrows. (For no good reason!)


On Quora some people wanted to discuss this by asking....

What's the most embarrassing thing you've experienced while going through airport security?

Check EVERYTHING!

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I was a 14 year old girl on a trip to New York City with our school band. The trip was a lot of fun, but I was exhausted and stressed beyond belief at the end of it (not to mention on my period, which screwed everything up emotionally). It doesn't help that I'm terrified of planes. So when TSA stopped me to check my shoes, I was a little too distracted to remember to empty my water bottle. They dumped it out and had me go though security again. This time, it was a can of Pringles in my sweatshirt pocket. They had me open my bag and take EVERYTHING out (despite no detectors going off), meaning I was showing all my packed underclothes and period supplies to strangers and classmates behind me in line.

That was bad enough until they apparently decided it was a good idea for me to go into the full blown machine that checks for EVERYTHING. I was super stressed at this point (exhaustion and an anxiety disorder really does a doozy), and just started sobbing in front of everyone, which, as a freshman girl in high school, is absolutely horrible. I was so upset with myself for crying that I started crying harder and one of the THREE TSA agents who were watching me suspiciously just kind of realized my plight and was trying to be more sympathetic, which I certainly appreciated, but not enough to stop crying. She's just trying to remain calm and gentle and reassure me that it's just a precaution and everything will be fine.

So I walk into the machine (I'm a freshman on a band trip, what did they expect to find), and, as per expected, they find nothing. I have to refold and repack everything, sobbing the whole while, while being watched by all of the classmates who were behind me as well as a bunch of strangers. So yeah, that'd probably be my most embarrassing TSA story.Isabella M

Rubbed. 

Well this just happened to me on June 1. I am about 5′ 10″, broad-shouldered, long brown hair, and olive complexion. I am about 230 lbs with a small beer belly. I look like a out of shape line backer. This is important to the story. So I am flying from Charlotte to Boston. I also get stopped by the TSA. Either going or coming. I was not stopped at Boston so I was going to be stopped at Charlotte. Well I am at the check point. My shoes and belt are in the conveyor.

I am at the big spinning scanning device. I step in put my hands up. The machine whirls, I then am told to step out. I am at that spot where we put your feet down in the painted areas. Just in case you cannot figure this out. The TSA man says to me hold on for a second. He then says I need to see what is under there. He is pointing at my midriff. I say to him "So you want me to drop my pants? Could you at least buy me dinner first?" I was trying to be funny. He did not get the joke. He states "No, under your shirt." My stomach - I lift my shirt to show him my hairy belly lol. He still looks at me.

He then pokes it and rubs it to make sure it was real. So I was a little annoyed as this lovely lady was looking at me. So when I am nervous I tend to use humor. So when this large man is rubbing my stomach to see if it is real I start to purr like a cat. He turned red and the lovely lady started laughing. George S

"YOU. GET BACK IN THAT LINE."

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It wasn't security and it wasn't embarrassing but definitely annoying.

I was traveling to Corpus Christi to inspect a ship. With me was the new master of the ship. I had a regular US B1/B2 visa and my companion had a C1/D seaman's visa. We landed at Houston and were waiting in the immigration queue when I saw a sign saying seamen. I told the master you stand in that line. He ducked out of the line and headed for the seamen's queue when a TSA woman yelled at him. "YOU. GET BACK IN THAT LINE." He tried explaining that he was a Seaman but she continued yelling. "I DON'T CARE. DO WHAT I TELL YOU."

So he returned. When in due course we reached the head of the line, I went to one desk and he to another. The immigration officer looked at his passport and told him to go to the seamen's line. Net result was that it took another 30 minutes for him to clear immigration. All thanks to an officious know nothing jobsworth.

On the same trip when we were passing through immigration at Heathrow (required because our connecting flight to Houston was from Gatwick) he was asked why he didn't have a UK visa. I explained to the immigration officer that any seaman holding a Seaman's Book in transit or entering to join a ship did not need a visa.

"Is that so?"

"Yes."

"Ok. Please wait. I'll check with my supervisor."

He was back in five minutes. "Sorry for making you wait and thanks. I learnt something new today."

What a contrast in behavior of officialdom. Arun V

Random Search. 

I was in a very abusive relationship for 5 years.

I was always covered in bruises, hiding myself, and just so insecure. There was a spell of bad depression I had after being beaten down for so long. I stayed in bed for 8 months straight. Didn't shower much at all and on top of that I had dreadlocks underneath my regular hair.

Because of my lack of hygiene and refusal to leave the bed, the entire back of my hair formed into one matted rats nest clump. I mean it HURT. Bad. I didn't care at the time because I never left home. There were tons of white fuzzy's in my hair from the blankets that I couldn't brush out- it was horrible.

One day my fiancé's father passed away on Thanksgiving morning. We immediately had to fly to Connecticut from Atlanta. As I realize what's happening my anxiety set in. I looked at myself in the mirror and started crying. I was terrified to go outside. Obviously I was dragged out.

During the security check at the airport a TSA agent pulled me aside. They proceeded to "randomly search" me which was fine, but then the male agent touched the back of my hair. "Holy crap" he said. "Hey, *insert female agents name here* come take a look at this." He pulled out a tongue depressor and some gloves and proceeded to dig through my hair because he was convinced I was hiding something in there. He muttered under his breath "how does this happen…"

This drew so much attention to me that I started crying hysterically asking them to please stop. They did and but never apologized. The next morning I shaved my head completely.

Three months later I left my fiancé.

Now my hair is very long, happy and healthy & so am I. Jay R

8 Inches.

I was traveling with my 15 year old daughter and she had an 8" long knife in her backpack. She didn't know she had it. Nor did I. But the security guard at the scanning machine quickly knew.

Here's how it went down. The security person kept on looking at the image and examining the backpack. She finally demanded we tell her where the knife was hidden. I quickly explained to her that there wasn't any knife. I asked my daughter and she also confirmed no knife existed.

Finally, the security person showed me the image. Sure as shit there was an 8" long knife. I turned to my daughter just as she was finally remembering. She had brought bagels and cream cheese to her class earlier that day. The knife was a regular kitchen table knife she had brought to school to spread the cream cheese. She had tossed the knife into her backpack and completely forgotten about it.

Somehow the knife had worked it's way into the seam of the backpack and could only be seen with the imaging.

We told the security woman our story. She looked at us sternly. She finally was able to dig out the knife and let us go on.

Needless to say I was rather embarrassed. My daughter was just mortified at how lame brained she had been. Thank god I hadn't tried to bust the security guard's chops for having made such a ridiculous accusation that we had a knife.Hill R

When leaving Halifax.

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I was leaving Halifax, Nova Scotia after a three-day business trip. I was with a colleague so we arrived at the airport with plenty of time. I stopped at one of the gift shops and bought a bag of salt water taffy for my daughter. I stuffed it the top of my brand new, work-issued laptop bag.

When I went through security, the officer took a long time to scan my laptop bag. He moved the belt back and forth, back and forth before calling over a colleague. The pair of them watched the screen, back and forth at least five times.

Finally I asked if there was a problem. The officer asked me what was in the bag. As I said, I had just received my new work-issued laptop before leaving on this trip so I tried to remember ever thing in the bag — laptop (of course), power supply, mouse, maybe some pens and a notebook. And then I remember! "Salt water taffy!", I yell thinking this is what is causing the hold up. And, being a natural born smart ass, I told the two officers if they wanted some, all they had to do was ask. Ha ha.

Except I was wrong. They weren't worried about the taffy. Now they've called over the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police for you non-Canucks) and there are at least 8 officials looking at the screen — back and forth, back and forth.

By now I'm sure my flight has left. It's at least 10 minutes past departure time. I'd long ago flagged my colleague onward so she's on the plane. And that's how I later find out that she saw them pulling my luggage off the plane, while delaying the flight.

They finally all agreed that I wasn't up to anything nefarious and told me that my laptop bag and I could board.

I didn't understand what concerned them so much until month later.

Laptops were fairly new at the time so not many people had seen the cable used to lock them and I'm sure the numbers on the lock had them scratching their heads. Of course it was the one thing I forgot to tell them was in the bag!

Good times. My colleague teased me about it every time we travelled after that! Susan C

I have never returned to Bolivia.  

Back in the 80's, I was flying out of the La Paz airport in Bolivia. Now, La Paz is very close to the Peruvian border and is (was?) a known point for smuggling. This was back in the 80's and the Bolivian police were all on edge. That day I had come down with a low grade fever and my buddy took me to a pharmacia (corner drug store) and asked for some Tylenol or something for my fever and headache. The pharmacist actually sold me the pills individually, folded into a small glassine envelope. You can probably see where this is heading…

So my buddy and I are in the airport waiting for our flight. I am sweating and glassy-eyed with the fever but I notice the security guys watching me. Just before our flight is called, my buddy heads off to make a quick pit stop. That's when the policia come over and take me into custody. We head to the Back Room. I have no idea what they want and at the time I spoke virtually no Spanish. They start searching my bag, taking everything out, and they find the glassine envelope, still with a bit of powdery residue from the pills. Uh-oh.

As they became agitated, I immediately understood the situation - they thought I was high and was smuggling dope. Not speaking the language, I had visions of being dragged off to a dank South American prison. In desperation, I grabbed the hand of the nearest guard and pressed it to my fevered forehead as the word "Enfermo!" (sick) somehow emerged from the recesses of memory of my middle school Spanish class.

Meanwhile, my buddy had finished his business and was wildly searching for me as the loudspeaker announced final boarding for our flight. He burst into the Back Room and explained in rapid fire Spanish why I was glassy eyed and why I had the glassine envelope. He was convincing enough that they released me (even though we both very much did fit the stereotypical image of druggy American hippies). I grabbed up all my stuff and somehow managed to get it all stuffed into my bag as we sprinted across the tarmac to the plane.

I have never returned to Bolivia. Nick T

It's Only Peanut Butter....

Not so much embarrassing but funny My friend Holly and I went to Sanibel Island last weekend for a short getaway. We went to a small grocery to get snacks and some bagels for breakfast. The day we left we were sorting out the leftovers for our carry ons and she took the bagels and a jar of peanut butter that we had bought for the bagels. I don't think we opened it, I didn't use any.

We get to the airport to go home and her bag is pulled aside. They swab her hands and we stand there while the TSA agent reaches in and pulls out our jar of Jif. I didn't even know it was not allowed, but the funny part is when she asked us, "If you would like, you may step out of security to eat this, then re-enter when you are ready." EAT a whole jar of peanut butter? Even with two of us, how in the world? Imagine how you'd feel after shotgunning half a jar of peanut butter, green around the gills, that's how.

We declined, but I thought it would be a funny sight to see two forty something women scooping peanut butter out of a jar with their bare hands and eating it just to keep it from being tossed. Melissa O

Christmastime in Florida!

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I was returning home from my vacation in Florida after Christmas. Everything was going fine until will got to the security checkout and I was stopped by the TSA officers. I had no clue what was happening. I was terrified and my brother who was waiting for me on the other side was utterly confused. My brother and I asked what was happening, and we were told that I was getting a pat down. My brother asked why, but they did not respond and they told him to wait.

They said that they found a suspicious item near my private parts. For the record, it was a pad. On the screen where your body was scanned, it was the obvious shape of a pad. Even one of the officers asked me if it was! I was so embarrassed. I was holding up the whole line and a male TSA officer proceeded to try to do a pat down on my private parts. I immediately said "No!" and I requested that a female officer do it because I did not want a male to be touching my privates. The man scoffed and called over the female officer to pat me down. First, she rubbed my upper thighs and then rubbed in between my legs. This was absolutely humiliating and one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life. It only gets worse though.

She proceeded to stick her whole hand in my underwear on both sides. She then literally grabbed my butt. I told her to please stop as that was very uncomfortable, but she said it was "just protocol." I was then tested for bomb residue and was begrudgingly released. They said "Oh, I guess it was just a pad. You're free to go." I was crying the whole flight after that, and it still haunts me to this day. It was absolutely embarrassing and quite frankly disgusting! Kylie Marie E

A Bridge Too Far....

I personally have never felt embarrassed going through airport security. I have, however, seen TSA agents checking my bags become embarrassed when I went through airport security.

I was coming home from a get-together of the extended poly family. I had a sound in my toiletries bag. It showed up on the X-ray, of course, and caused the X-ray tech to pull my bag for hand screening.

So the poor TSA guy opens my bag, takes out the sound, and starts waving it in the air saying "What is this? Is it a weapon?"

I tell him, no, it's not a weapon, it's a sex toy.

"A sex toy?" He says. "What kind of sex toy?"

So I explain it to him.

Poor guy was mortified. He looked like he wanted the earth to swallow him up.

I always thought TSA agents were basically impossible to embarrass. Apparently, a sound is a bridge too far.

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