PETALING JAYA, June 23 — A routine social media update by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has sparked fresh debate over the efficacy of liquid limits on airplanes.
TSA regional spokesperson Lisa Farbstein on Thursday posted a “display” of the various liquids confiscated by security at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport in New York.
Display of oversized liquids, gels and aerosols that travelers had in their carry-on bags at the @SyracuseAirport @TSA Checkpoint in a 3-day span. The limit for liquids through a checkpoint is 3.4 oz. pic.twitter.com/Fan95TLrLy— Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) June 22, 2022
Farbstein frequentlys post images of confiscated items — her latest post details a 12-inch sword that was found in a carry-on bag.
A @TSA officer detected this sword in a traveler's carry-on bag at @LGAairport yesterday. Sorry, even pirates can't bring swords onto their flights. Likely this pirate was headed on vacation because he needed a little arrrrg and arrrg. (I love a good pirate joke.) pic.twitter.com/9OYSlyDZKe— Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) June 23, 2022
The “liquid display” post in particular, showing an array of bottled drinks and moisturiser tubs, incited ire among American travellers.
“Just curious, did a single one of these items that were taken contain anything that was a threat to the public?” asked one user.
“Really appreciate the reminder that someone can get on a plane with lungs full of COVID and not have to mask, but by god we’re protected from snow globes and hand lotion,” quipped another.
Some users wondered about the collection as a whole, with one saying: “(G)osh, if you honestly thought any one of them could be a bomb, maaaaybe (sic) you wouldn’t throw them all together like that...”
As per the TSA’s website, travellers are only allowed to pack a quart-sized bag of liquids in their carry-on luggage and each liquid item needs to be 100 millilitres or less.
“Liquids” in this case includes aerosols, gels, creams and pastes.
Restrictions on liquids in carry-on luggage were set in place as an anti-terrorism measure following the September 11 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
In recent years however, many have questioned the usefulness of these restrictions in preventing terror attacks — as well as the usefulness of the TSA itself.
In 2015, ABC News reported that undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives and banned weapons past checkpoints in “95 per cent of trials”.
Social media users were also bemused by some of the more unexpected items featured in Farbstein’s post; including peanut butter jars, large tubs of vaseline and snow globes.