Dan Velez, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, works at a table displaying prohibited items passengers surrendered at checkpoints at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in the past month. They included a rubber coin purse shaped like a grenade.
A power sander, brass knuckles, a hammer with a flower motif and a rubber coin purse shaped as a grenade.
The items — just a sample of what passengers at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport tried to bring aboard planes in the past month — were on display before security checkpoints Wednesday.
“It blows my mind what someone’s going to try and get on the plane,” Rollinsford flier Deb Walker said while looking at a knife with a 5-inch blade. “The grenade is what got me.”
Transportation Security Administration agents at security checkpoints give the owners of prohibited items a choice: “You can go through if you surrender the item, or you can keep your item and you’re not going through,” said Dan Velez, spokesman for the TSA’s New England region.
“So nine times out of 10, people give the item up,” Velez said.
If they don’t give up the item, a flyer could take it back to their car or return to the airline ticket counter and ask to retrieve their checked bag to put the item inside.
The prohibited item people most frequently try to bring through checkpoints? “Believe it or not, it’s water,” Velez said. (No more than 3.4 ounces of any liquid is allowed to pass through security under TSA rules.)
TSA has 30 to 40 surrendered box cutters in storage at the airport.
“This is what the hijackers used to take the planes down on 9/11,” said Colleen Kiernan, stakeholder liaison for TSA in New Hampshire.
TSA said it collects 50 to 60 pounds of prohibited items each month, not counting all those water bottles. Those items are sold in Concord at the state surplus store at 144 Clinton St.
TSA also has hundreds of wine corkscrews in storage, many of which have other sharp attachments.
“Our job is to ensure that when people get on flights that they feel safe and that’s there’s no weapons on the plane,” Velez said.