TSA
TSA

When Rolling Stone announced its picks for the 100 best Instagram accounts, some were shocked to find that the TSA came in fourth place — even beating out Beyoncé — but if you scroll through its feed, it’s not hard to see why. The account is both informative and entertaining. Here are 10 things we learned through the TSA account.

1. The TSA is hip to social media.

Have you ever wondered about whether or not you can pack your crochet hooks or knitting needles in your carry-on bag? Let me get directly to the point here. I’m not spinning a yarn when I tell you that knitting needles and needlepoint items, including scissors under four-inches, are allowed in your carry-on bags. This includes and is not limited to circular knitting needles, bamboo, wooden, aluminum, metal, and plastic knitting needles, double pointed knitting needles, knitting hooks, knitting stitch holders, sewing kits, sewing needles, sewing pins, and sewing scissors (blades shorter than 4 in). Have other questions about what you can and can’t pack? Fret no more! Now you can simply snap a picture and tweet it to @AskTSA or send it via Facebook Messenger and our team will get back to you promptly with an answer. If you're a regular follower of this account, I'm sure you can think of many situations where it would have behooved somebody to send us a picture first. And that's not all. Contact us about any TSA related issue or question you might have. We can even help you with TSA Pre✓® issues. We look forward to answering your questions, 8am-10pm ET weekdays; 9am-7pm weekends/holidays. #AskTSA #TSATravelTips #crochet #knitting #knittersofinstagram

A photo posted by TSA (@tsa) on

If you’re not sure whether you can bring a certain item in your carry-on, tweet a photo to @AskTSA on Twitter or send it to them through Facebook Messenger ahead of your flight.

2. You can try to hide items, but oh yes, agents will find them.


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They’ve found everything from knives hidden in pill bottles to razor blades concealed in the insole of a sneaker.

3. Every airport has a lost and found desk for items left behind at TSA checkpoints.

You can look up the phone number for the desk at each airport online.

4. Laptops are one of the most common items left behind.

Missing something? These are all laptops that were left behind at Newark (EWR) checkpoints in November. When a laptop is left behind, it’s recorded in the lost and found log at the airport and stored in a secure location. If you leave a laptop (or anything else) behind, you can access a list of lost and found phone numbers for each airport at TSA.gov, or you can reach out to our AskTSA team via Twitter or Facebook Messenger. The most common way laptops are forgotten is when traveler’s stack a bin on top of the bin their laptop is in. Out of sight out of mind… If you haven’t already, tape a business card or a piece of paper with your name and contact info to the bottom of your laptop. This will allow us to attempt to contact you via a page or phone call before you board your flight. It will also allow us to contact you if you’ve already left. #TSATravelTips

A photo posted by TSA (@tsa) on

Pro-tip: Tape a business card to your laptop with your name and phone number. This way, TSA can at least try to reach you before you board your flight.

5. The agency has a list of no-no items on its website.

From food and firearms to sporting goods and knitting needles, the TSA has a list of prohibited items on their website that is frequently updated.

6. Explosive-sniffing dogs get loads of love when they’re off the clock.

Don’t feel bad when you see these canines wearing their “do not pet” vests — they’re working to keep everyone safe.

7. The TSA confiscates around 70 firearms every week from carry-on bags.

However, you can pack them in your checked bags. Packing guidelines can be found here.

8. The agency does not regulate transporting insects in your carry-on bags.

Contact your airline about its individual policy as it relates to bringing live bugs on its aircraft.

9. More automated screening lanes are on the way.

Imagine stepping up to a TSA checkpoint lane where a bin is ready for you (thanks to bin return system) and multiple travelers are simultaneously placing their belongings on the X-ray belt at their own pace. Imagine not needing to wait for that family of six in front you. When you’re ready, you push your bin forward and move on. Imagine the X-ray belt not coming to a complete halt when a bin needs searched. If your bin is cleared, it’s advanced to the end of the lane where you can pick up your items. If a bin needs searched, it’s diverted to a separate belt that allows the main belt to continue while taking the it to a screening area that’s inaccessible to passengers, yet in clear view at all times. Don’t worry, you don’t need to generate 1.21 gigawatts for your DeLorean to see this checkpoint of the futre in action. You may have seen this technology at some of our larger airports such as Atlanta Hartsfield (ATL), Newark Liberty (EWR) and Chicago O’Hare (ORD). Have you been through an Automated Screening Lane? Let us know in the comments what you thought. #TSAOnTheJob

A video posted by TSA (@tsa) on

These security lanes have already been introduced in Atlanta, Newark Liberty, and Chicago O’Hare with the goal of cutting down on time spent in line.

10. There is never a lack of wacky items found in carry-ons in the TSA feed.

The agency even has a video of the Top 10 Most Unusual Checkpoint Finds — Hello Kitty pistol, anyone?

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