An item most fowl tried — and failed — to make it through an airport security checkpoint over the weekend.
On Nov. 7, the Transportation Security Administration announced via social media that it had caught an unusual attempt at smuggling a weapon onto a plane: a gun stuffed inside a raw chicken. The poultry in question was a raw Kikiri Quirch brand baking hen and held a handgun wrapped in brown tape inside its cavity.
“The plot chickens as we barrel our way closer to Thanksgiving,” reads an Instagram caption from TSA, adding many tonally lighthearted chicken-based puns to their explanation of what led to this set of photographs we see before us.
“We hate to beak it to you here, but stuffing a firearm in your holiday bird for travel is just a baste of time. This idea wasn’t even half-baked; it was raw, greasy, and obviously unsupervised. The only roast happening here is this poor packing choice,” the caption further reads.
According to TSA spokesperson R. Carter Langston in an email to the Washington Post, the incident occurred around 6 a.m. on Sept. 27 at the checked baggage scanning facility in Terminal 4 of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
The dad jokes didn’t stop on Instagram, either. On TSA’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, the agency shared the images along with more puns and lightheartedness which has become a trademark social media tone for the agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security.
“There’s a personal fowl here,” tweeted TSA, to which a Twitter user responded, quite comically, with: “Shoulda called the butterball hotline for directions.”
In fact, most responses to the TSA’s posts have been similarly jokey, making light of a potentially dicey situation if not for the fact that chicken’s aren’t X-ray-proof.
“Glock a doodle doo,” wrote one Instagram user.
“Maybe it’s a recipe? Pollo con Pistole?” said another person on Instagram.
“(In) what world would flying with raw poultry not be suspicious?” asked another Instagram user.
Unfortunately, this isn't an uncommon scenario — not the gun-stuffed chicken specifically, but guns being hidden inside other objects. In fact, in 2021, TSA caught 5972 firearms at airport checkpoints — the most ever. And a hidden gun was just confiscated at Newark Liberty International Airport checkpoint on Sept. 6. The TSA announced in a news release that a woman tried to board her flight with a loaded handgun hidden behind the lining of her carry-on suitcase; she was arrested.
A short list of the wilder things that TSA agents have had to confiscate from passengers who needed a spoonful more of common sense include: a chainsaw, a table saw, a preponderance of throwing stars, a bag filled with 80 pounds of marijuana, hidden live eels and endangered dead seahorses, a tube of lipstick that concealed a knife, a walking cane that concealed a sword and last but not least, a human skull.
The TSA’s Instagram account has been posting since June 2013, and the account’s tongue-in-cheek approach to reminding the public of travel safety has netted the agency three 2018 Webby Awards, which honor excellence on the Internet, as well as 1.1 million followers on Instagram.
“Feather you like it or not, there are rules for traveling with guns and ammunition,” said TSA in its Instagram post, pointing to their extensive guidelines of proper packaging info (even for guns) on their website. “So, don’t wing it.”