Everyday thousands of people travel through the Victoria International Airport, and everyday interesting things get pulled during security screening.
Nunchucks, brass knuckles and bear spray are just some of the recent finds, but Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) spokesperson Christine Langlois said they get a lot more. By far, however, the most common issue is liquids and gels.
“The rule is it has to be in 100 ml or less,” said Langlois “If you have more that’s fine, you can put it in checked luggage.”
Typical finds include things like water bottles, makeup, sunscreen, honey, peanut butter and hairspray, but the limit also stops a lot of travellers from bringing along their favourite souvenirs.
“We get a lot of snow globes,” Langlois said, adding that liquid exceptions include medication, and milk or snacks for children under two years of age.
Some of the more interesting items to come through Victoria International Airport security in the past couple weeks include, pepper spray, knives, scissors, three sets of nunchucks, a magazine for BB guns, a blender, a Ninja brand food chopper, a hatchet, a torch lighter, bullet casings a jigsaw and a box of cooking knives. One traveller even lost a brand new 19-piece Master Chef barbecue set.
In a Facebook post from several weeks ago the Victoria International Airport even showed a picture of what looked like a grenade, but Langlois could not confirm what exactly this item was since it was no longer in the airport’s possession.
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The Victoria International Airport also has a box full of pocket knives collected over several months from passengers travelling between Canada and the states. For travellers staying within Canada or flying internationally outside of the U.S., knives with blades 6 cm or less can be taken on board.
Most of the time, legal enforcement doesn’t need to occur unless a prohibited item, such as a firearm, is found. CATSA does not seize items either; the team simply pulls items from coming on planes through a carry-on bag.
“People have options. They can get out of line and check the items in, they can leave the item in their car, or give it to someone who drove them to the airport,” Langlois said. “Other people choose to surrender their items because they want to keep moving faster.”
The leftover items are dealt with differently at separate airports. At the Victoria International Airport, the pocket knives are sent to Scouts Canada, while illicit items are sent to the police.
The summer season prompts different problems than others, such as in early July when a bottle of misplaced sunscreen caused the Victoria International Airport to shut down for three hours.
Other seasonal issues include passengers trying to carry on camping and sports equipment, including stoves, tent poles, baseball bats or walking sticks.
“Fuel doesn’t fly,” Langlois said. “If you’re travelling with a camping stove, it has to be thoroughly cleaned so no traces of fuel can be found.”
Beach-bound tourists are also reminded to keep their sand collection to a minimum, sincesecurity often has to pull jars of sand that exceed the limit of 350 ml of powder.
Still confused? Luckily CATSA has an app to help people plan ahead about what they can bring on board; the app is called Breeze Through and can be found in app stores for all smartphone and tablet devices. Information can also be found online at catsa-acsta.gc.ca.
–With Files from Kevin Menz