Imagine this: You’re hustling through the airport and running the gauntlet of security. As your bags disappear into the X-ray machine, the TSA agent pauses, squints at the screen, and then points to your suitcase. Heart pounding, you replay every packing decision you made – did the nail clippers make it into the suitcase? Was the bottle of shampoo too big? 

This is a common scene for the EM Over Easy crew. As a group of EM doctors who often pack unusual simulation equipment for conferences, we have become quite familiar with the “additional bag check”. In this episode, Andy and John are joined by guests Geoff Comp, DO and Carissa Tyo, MD at ACOEP Spring Seminar 2023 to share some tales of the most unusual items they’ve had to explain to the TSA.

John starts off the conversation with an amusing tale about a time he had to transport six priapism trainers in his checked luggage for a conference. His luggage left such an impression that the TSA agents even left a note saying, “We really enjoyed inspecting this package.” Andy, meanwhile, was told not to check a pediatric airway model because it would likely be confiscated. He decided to include it in his carry-on instead. His decision led to an immediate call-back from the TSA agents who were puzzled by the X-ray image showing a baby’s head (the airway model), some ET tubes, and a glidescope, which resembled a weapon. Thankfully, demonstrating how to intubate the model baby was enough to clear things up! 

As you can see, even EM doctors are not exempt from airport security checks struggles. To avoid delays and hassle at the TSA checkpoint, it’s essential to pack smart and be mindful of what items are allowed on board. Don’t forget to take those trauma shears out of your bag before flying! Safe travels to all!

 Post by Jordan Palmer, OMS-IV

About Our Guests:

Geoff Comp, DO
Assistant Program Director, Creighton University School of Medicine/Vallwywise Health Medical Center (Phoenix) Emergency Medicine Residency

Carissa Tyo, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Residency Director, Combined EM/IM Program at Univesity of Illinois Health

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