Twitter is bad. The TSA is bad. And yet, somehow, the intersection of the two is surprisingly useful and a little bit beautiful. It seems the Transportation Security Administration’s most competent employee is working their @AskTSA Twitter account, treating each question, compliment, and complaint with the exact same unflappable cheer.
From 8am-10pm ET weekdays and 9am-7pm weekends and holidays, 365 days a year, the account will address almost anything if you @ them. Jennifer Plozai, Virginia-based spokeswoman with the Department of Homeland Security, told News-Press.com that the account has fielded more than 50,000 passenger inquiries in a little over a year of existence, typically in under an hour. When asked if a lava lamp could be brought as a carry-on, @AskTSA replied in 14 minutes that it had to be stowed in checked luggage.
Inquiring minds want to know:
Can you bring bear mace onboard? Only in checked luggage!
How about this cat? Carry-on or cargo!
Deep-dish pizza doesn’t even have to be frozen to qualify for carry-on luggage.
I’m not totally sure the goldfish would agree, but according to @AskTSA, it’s good to go.
So is this strangely phallic Spider-Man balloon, pending size restrictions.
Parachutes and cremated remains are fine...
But this army grade nuclear warhead is not. Safe travels!
And supposing you could get your hands on it, Jeremy Bentham’s mummified head is conditionally allowed—thanks for asking, Sam.
Brand Twitter being hip to some sort of humor is neither interesting nor revelatory. But what I find almost endlessly charming about @AskTSA is that it’s not trying to be funny, or even drum up business. It is—at least, as far as I can tell without having actually used it seriously myself—legitimately helpful when necessary and dedicated to an indistinguishable bit in between, without a hint of snark or self-awareness.
Take this as practical advice to refer back to next time you need to know if you can pack bullet casings in your carry-on, or just draw inspiration from the restraint and professionalism displayed by whoever is wading through the TSA’s mentions.