I just read this story on Consumerist and realized how lucky I was when a similar incident happened to me a few months ago:
Cecilia Beaman is a 57-year-old grandmother, a middle school principal and part-time terrorist. She was busted by the TSA for attempting to sneak a 5 1/2 inch bread knife with a rounded tip and a serrated blade onto an airplane.
Original story here. Seems the screeners took down her personal information and otherwise scared the @#%^ out of her.
In my case, last February I took an overnight trip to Chicago to attend the funeral of a friend’s Mom. I grabbed a really small bag, since I only need one change of clothes for the return trip home the next morning. I dutifully packed my toiletries in a plastic bag and headed for the Philadelphia airport. When my bag was pulled from the TSA security belt for hand inspection, I didn’t think twice about it. It happens from time to time. I appreciate the attention to make us all safer. I waited on the side for a bit, and then a security agent came over and emptied out the bag.
It wasn’t until he pulled out the knife that I remembered the last time I used that bag. It was when C3 was doing a booth that I drove to and I used that bag for supplies. Scissors, tape, vecro, etc…and an X-Acto utility knife complete with a blade. This wasn’t a Leatherman or nail cutter like most folks (including my husband) accidentally get caught with. It was a nice size box cutter! Yikes!!!!! I had emptied the supplies from the bag a while ago, but missed removing the black knife at the bottom of the black bag. I was immediately truthful with the officer. I explained why it was there, and how I had absolutely no idea until that moment that I left it in there. I apologized profusely, but remained calm. He kept the knife (of course), gave me back my stuff and sent me on my way to the gate. That’s it. I’ve flown since, so I’m probably not on any list. Thank goodness.
It was really really really stupid of me, and I know I was lucky not to have gotten into much deeper trouble. I am now more careful to separate the bags that are suitable for carry-on from those that aren’t. For example, I never put anything in my laptop bag that isn’t airport-safe without leaving myself a big note somewhere to remind myself that I did it, so I remember to take it out before the next trip. Looking back, I think I was fortunate that I was flying from Philadelphia, which is a smaller and more “casual” airport, than Newark or Laguardia.