One of the great benefits of living in Santa Barbara is access to an airport which is typically much less overwhelming than a larger, international airport like LAX might be. Santa Barbara Airport is small, the baggage carousel is easy to find, and we don’t have snow, sleet, or hail to make take-offs and landings impossible.
However, Santa Barbara airport has been just as much subject to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations as any other airport. Anyone who’s flown out of Santa Barbara since 2001 will recall removing shoes and frantically moving small items from one bag to another, hoping to arrive at their destination with their tweezers and toothpaste still intact.
During the height of the airplane terror scare, almost everything was prohibited. Old ladies had their knitting needles confiscated, and children had toys taken away. While Santa Barbara’s airport wasn’t one of those that made the news for enforcing regulations with almost too much zeal, we were still subject to the same draconian rules.
The TSA has finally relaxed some of those regulations, and Weird SB took a look at some of the items we’re finally allowed to take on flights again.
Many of you may sleep better at night, knowing that we may once again take up to three ounces of pressurized cheese aboard any flight, either carry-on or checked. Interestingly, the prohibition on pressurized cheese products pre-dated the restriction of other gels and liquids – Easy Cheese, apparently, is more dangerous than we knew. Of course, perhaps the TSA was simply trying to protect the long-term health of frequent flyers – the regulation three ounce container of Easy Cheese contains half a day’s allowance of saturated fat.
While lifted regulations on food and grooming items are certainly welcome, the TSA still does not permit quite a few objects that travelers might want on a daily basis. Cattle prods, brass knuckles, and throwing stars are only permitted in checked baggage. Cowherds, mafia enforcers, and ninjas may prefer to rent a car for long trips.
Dynamite, plastic explosives, and hand grenades, however, are forbidden in either carry-on or checked baggage. Those regulations actually make sense although the fact that the TSA feels the need to list these items separately makes one wonder who attempted to use the argument that hand grenades might be forbidden, but that the website didn’t say anything about dynamite!
Overall, it seems that the skies, which have been somewhat unfriendly for several years, are finally starting to lighten. Passengers traveling through Santa Barbara can be comfortably assured that after several years of difficulties, spear guns are finally allowed in checked baggage.