How To Bypass TSA / Airport Security

Security theatre is dangerous, not only to our civil liberties but also to our individual safety. I am going to outline some of the methods I know which could be used to bypass all TSA (and probably other national equivalents) security restrictions, that way you can realize just how silly they are. These are methods in which you can purposely circumvent security, fellow contributor Andrew Norton shows other circumstances where TSA fail and let people go through the exit because they are too busy reading a book or let a simulated bomb through… the scanners.

I refuse to put a disclaimer up about how you use this information, I will say this: These are just a few things that I had easily figured out how to bypass, and I have no desire to harm another person. If someone has deep seeded ideological reasons to want to harm others, they would have figured these and other things out.

Take your shoes off
Because of the shoe bomber, TSA asks us that everyone removes their shoes and have them scanned (thank goodness he wasn’t a pants bomber, eh?). This does not apply to children (12 or younger) or people over 75, which means that any person who was attempting to put a device inside a shoe just needs to use their child, or be an older person. Good thing there are no elderly terror suspects.

This is one of the security measures which is 100% to make people “feel better”, and I don’t believe TSA is naive enough to actually believe they are going to stop any person with this.

No liquids over x ounces
This one is so simple: You are allowed to exit the secured area, and then go through TSA screening as many times as you would like. This also means that each time you go through, you could bring more liquids (assuming they do not realize what you are doing and stop you, unlikely). Have two people, keep one on the other side with your bags and just go back through with more liquids.

No knives
I am not an advocate of TSA allowing knives on an airplane, mainly for the same reason I don’t think people should be able to own handguns: easy access to the weapon makes it more likely to be used. That being said: TSA’s anti-knife policy is extreme, no pocket knives? But don’t worry, those giant knitting needles are totally okay.

3D Printed Knives or Ceramic Knives would also be easy to get through security. Just tie them to your leg or something, and you would be set to go through.

… but I am so glad that we can’t bring our multi-tool.

Access to Cockpit
Long distance flights / Flights to Alaska have many times has service for the flight crew, they open the door while a second flight attendent watches the door. If you had a group of 5 first class passengers, as soon as they did this you could rush the cabin and have access to the cockpit.

Causing General “Terror”
If you want to strike fear in a people, then you don’t need to be successful. Perhaps unsuccessful “attacks” are even more effective because they are the attacks that force the government to make people give up even MORE civil liberties. Pop the emergency exit door mid flight (if you wanted to be extra sneaky, have a parachute and see if you could survive the fall).

Anything Else
In Alaska it’s super easy to just walk onto tarmacs which have flights bound back to the lower 48 or Anchorage. While it would be a much more risky method: You could walk on the tarmac while they are boarding a flight cross over into the line of people walking onto the plane and join them. Hopefully the seat isn’t taken (or the flight is full) and you would be golden. You could also put things in the cargo bays of the planes and it would be really hard to spot.

So what is the lesson here? You can do whatever you want, but someone who has enough anger or hate will always find a way. Instead of stripping people of their civil liberties, dehumanizing them, and creating more angry people… focus on empowering people, and adjusting foreign policy to not be abusive towards other countries. Stop trying to make the world fit your little plan and fix your own problems. That is the way to minimize your risk of attack.

If you guys never hear from me again, I have been V&’d


  1. anonymous
  2. littlegreenleaf

    For some further thoughts and expansion upon this subject, “Schneier on Security” by Bruce Schneier.

    and his blog

  3. Fredrik

    V&’d seems to mean “van’d”. As you’re walking down the street, the feds roll up with a van and grab you.

    1. Loki

      V&’d (vanned) is exactly that:

  4. Roman

    Hell will freeze over before the “masses” stop feeling that “we need to do something” and so be glad to accept the “something” that the TSA are doing. Good thing I’ve never been to the US, nor intend to go there.

  5. bitterstudent

    For the reasons given in this article (among other things), I try not to use the word “security” in this context (i.e. those checkpoints have nothing to do with security, and everything to do with control). E.g. instead of saying “airport security”, I say “airport checkpoint”. Similarly, “security camera” become “surveillance camera”.

  6. fireball

    more ideas:
    * go trough screening and happily buy a 30-cm paper scissor at the duty-free shop (at least in europe that is a valid option
    * hell, just use the darn fireaxe inside the plane, wo cares about pocket knifes …

    bomb the line of people waiting to get screened, what’s the point of getting in the airplane anyway when there is a huge mass of people there (okay, you can’t abduct the plane then but for real terrorism that’s just a means to an end so who cares?)

  7. Anonymous

    ‘I don’t think people should be able to own handguns’

    Another fascist disguised as a liberal.

  8. Voice of reason

    Or just make it mandatory for every adult passenger to carry a handgun while on board. Imagine an idiot “terrorist” trying to do something funny in a plane full of armed people…

    1. Travis McCrea

      This is satire, right?

  9. Anonymous

    Yeah, all this air travel security is a joke. You can even bypass it without meaning it. For instance, a friend of mine recently forgot to take his pocket knive out of his pocket and put it in his suitcase. Guess what happened. Airport security didn’t find it even though he didn’t even mean to hide it.

    I have also heard rumors about aiports which allow you to enter into the security area without any checks if you do it at night because the security staff is only there at day.

    So what’s the intent behind this theatre? They’re not actually fighting terrorism, are they?

    By the way, has there ever been a case where a terrorist/other bad guy tried to use a pocket knife for their attack/plane kidnapping/whatever?

    1. Darnok

      Ummmm sept 11 2001.

  10. raphidae

    A good article, but It’s not possible to open any (emergency) hatch mid-flight at cruising altitude.

    The airplaine is pressurised and the doors open to the inside, effectively the doors will be kept (pushed) shut from the outwards pressure against them regardless of the state of the lock and this is so much force that it is impossible to open them. This is by design obviously.

    In an actual emergency, the pilot will descend rapidly and depressurize the airplaine to allow the hatches to be opened. Surely hijackers can storm the cockpit as described and then depressurize the cabin, but since they are already in control of the plane at that point it would be illogical to then proceed to open the hatches.

    See also

    1. Travis McCrea

      I stand corrected on this point, I will edit to reflect. The others are still accurate.

  11. Alaskan

    I live in Alaska. And in the extremely small communities, sure, you can hop on a small plane that seats less than 10 people without going through security.

    But those planes only fly to larger cities, and if you want to get on board an actual Jet, you’re going through security, which in 2nd-tier hubs is usually only a metal detector.

    And you can’t board a plane that flies out of the state or out of the country without going through the full security treatment, which includes backscatter or pat-down, plus X-raying of your carry-on.

    1. Travis McCrea

      I lived in Bethel, and visited many other cities in Alaska — because I worked for Alaska Airlines. I can tell you that people were always walking in secure areas and many times no one bothered to stop them.

      Even if someone did bother to stop them, if they got themselves a fake CIDA badge, I am guessing most wouldn’t say anything about it. Social engineering might have to play a small role into getting onto an airplane but if you were determined enough you could do it.

  12. ileavecomments

    funny how you don’t realize how hypocritiacal you sound when speaking of empowering people but are fan of gun control. I hope you are not a fan of free speech either or any other rights outlined in the BOR. I just love how liberals pick and choose, they will protest and rant about the 1st while being 100% anti 2nd. It puzzels me how these people think they are not just brainwashed fools.

    about Alsaka, you got it right on that one. I have boarded flights on 737’s from several small villages and even Anchorage to the lower 48 with out even being asked for my ticket or BP. I have done exactly what he mentioned, walked around the building and onto the tarmac, into line and on the plane and nobody said a thing. this is in the past 5 years!! I had a ticket for said flight, i was just so dumbfounded I said F-I and walked over. that was that.

    1. Darnok

      Hopping in the wrong line up in the tarmac is a hazard here in outback Australia. I got on a West bound plane (should have been east) and after getting seated worked out the mistake and raised it with the crew. Was escorted to another boarding plane (north bound this time). Ooops.

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