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Going away May 21? Unless you're headed for the rapture, focus on what you can't take on a plane

May 20, 2011|By Catharine Hamm | Los Angeles Times Travel editor
  • Cricket bats are OK on the field, but don't try to take one through airport security in your carry-on bag.
Cricket bats are OK on the field, but don't try to take one through airport… (Alessandro Abbonizio/AFP/Getty…)

I don’t know what you can take with you for the "rapture," which some people believe will happen Saturday, but I do know there are things you can’t take with you on an airplane (and one thing I didn’t know about). And now, the owners of these objects know that too.

In recent, separate incidents at John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County,  would-be passengers were found to be carrying a loaded Smith & Wesson .38 Special; a round of .22-caliber ammunition; some throwing stars; and a shotgun barrel, the Transportation Security Administration said.

The first incident is perhaps the most surprising: That passenger was an airline employee, the TSA said. As for the round of ammunition, that was an oversight, the owner told the TSA.

Ordinarily, I’d say, “Yeah, right,” but having recently surrendered a Swiss Army knife and a mini-Leatherman at security — which I had forgotten were in my bag — I'm a little more sympathetic, although I hope I'd know if I had a bullet with me.

Here are two suggestions to keep you and your carry-ons out of trouble going through airport security:

 1.  Search your own bag before putting it through security, especially if it’s one you use daily (as I do) and where junk tends to accumulate (as mine did).

2.  Go to the TSA website’s list of prohibited items. Most of the items won’t surprise you: no ice axes or ice picks, no sabers, no cricket bats or billy clubs, no cattle prods or drills or drill bits, no blasting caps, no liquid bleach and no snow globes.

Here’s one that did surprise me: No gel shoe inserts. But the list notes: "Shoes constructed with gel heels are allowed and must be removed and screened."

So if you’re gellin’, you might be yellin’ because those inserts aren’t making the trip on your person or in your carry-on.

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