->"''Many airports have signs telling us to avoid humorous remarks... For instance, never tell a ticket agent, 'As a matter of fact, I DID accept items from persons unknown to me! A nice man in a chadar gave me this awesome luggage freshener with a clock attached!' Federal regulations require them to [[NoSenseOfHumor have no idea you're joking]] as they riddle your body with bullets.''"
-->-- {{Seanbaby}}

So you're off to see the HonoraryUncle in NewJersey, and your flight leaves in 15 minutes. As you get to the terminal, you bend down to tie your shoe which has come undone. To your left, you hear someone scream something about a shoe bomb, and instants later, 20 security guards have dogpiled on you NFL style. Minutes later, you've been [[ShamefulStrip strip-searched]] and have to justify the fact that you have a pair of scissors in your carry-on bag. You have encountered the Overreacting Airport Security.

In the wake of 9/11, airport security in the United States has been ramped up significantly, and while random luggage checks, X-ray machines, and {{Metal Detector Checkpoint}}s have been routine for a while, some feel that it reached ridiculous levels when water bottles and nail clippers were banned from flights.

In fiction, this phenomenon is almost always PlayedForLaughs and {{Exaggerated|Trope}}. May involve HesGotAWeapon or PoliceAreUseless (see also SuicideByCop), as well as the security having SkewedPriorities in particularly extreme cases.

[[IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused with]] [[LargeHam Overacting Airport Security]].


[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]

* In ''Manga/ZatchBell'', a minor villain sets off a metal detector and is hauled away. [[FunnyBackgroundEvent Meanwhile]], two other people are hauled away because they "look funny."
* ''Anime/ExcelSaga'' has a FunnyBackgroundEvent where a tank drives through a metal detector without a second glance, but a man wearing nothing but underwear is dragged offscreen by security guards.
* In ''VisualNovel/SteinsGate'', the special 25th episode OVA has the members of the Future Gadget lab coming to Los Angeles to visit Kurisu and attend a [=RaiNet=] battle tournament. While passing through customs, Okabe's poor English means that when the airport attendant asks the purpose of his visit, he responds by whipping out a "manifesto" and yelling a bunch of stuff about being a MadScientist and causing chaos to invade. One GilliganCut later, he's being escorted away in handcuffs.
** Police grab him ''again'' just outside the LA Convention Center for... [[DisproportionateRetribution laughing very loudly in public?]] Well, it ''is'' [[TakeThat the LAPD...]]


[[folder: Advertising ]]

* An advertisement has a guy explaining to airport security that his phone is so powerful, it's basically a computer. CompletelyMissingThePoint, they respond with a curt "Which is it? You seem to be changing your story...", ending with an implication that he's about to be strip-searched.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* [[ComicBook/FantasticFour The Thing]] is told he can't bring nail clippers on an airplane because they might be dangerous. [[BeatPanel He gives the guy a magnificent "are you kidding me" look]] and they let him through.
** [[FridgeLogic Why would The Thing need nail clippers?]]
* Similar to the above, ''ComicBook/SpiderMan'' and Aunt May were traveling through an airport to visit Mary Jane in California when they discovered his webshooters in one of the bags. At this point, Aunt May still knew that Peter was Spider-Man, so she bluffed the agents by claiming that the webshooters were something her gynecologist had her using (and and looked like she was about to give them [[TooMuchInformation a detailed description of their use]]). The agents hurriedly packed the webshooters back up, but then one of them rebuked Peter for having, you guessed it, nail clippers.


[[folder: Fan Fic ]]

* In ''Fanfic/SamowarInAtlantis'', Björn encounters them on his return from Judea where he "overslept" [[Literature/ChaosTimeline quite interesting times]]. Things didn't escalate, as Björn didn't hesitate to open his suitcase with a big samovar, a tea cooker, and he knew too well what happened, but he still found their faint of heart puzzling and quite unprofessional.


[[folder: Film ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}}: Escape 2 Africa'': King Julien tries to keep Mort off the flight by shouting "Watch out! He's got scissors and hand cream!" The guards, who had just been lounging until that moment, dogpile on him.
** Of course, when Mort crawls out of the dogpile, he's ''carrying scissors''!
* In ''Film/KangarooJack'': Charlie gets strip-searched when they find his hair dressing scissors in his bag. He actually ''is'' smuggling something into Australia ($50,000 in undeclared US currency), and [[ActingUnnatural his attempts to appear casual]] arouse so much suspicion because of how nervous he is.
** Meanwhile, his BlackBestFriend slides past by acting like a typical American tourist, despite the fact that he is the one with the 50 grand in his pocket.
* Parodied in ''Film/AirplaneIITheSequel''. A man walks through a security checkpoint carrying a machine gun and the guards pay no attention. An old lady walks through and the guards grab her and push her against a wall.
** There's also the ''Film/{{Airplane}}'' scene where someone says "Hi, Jack" and the guards descend on him.
* In the 2008 film ''Film/GetSmart'', Maxwell Smart tries to scrape gum off his shoe while on a plane. Another passenger sees this and thinks that he's trying to "light" it. Max tries to explain that it's just gum. Unfortunately, another passenger thinks he said "gun". After this, Max is tackled to the ground by security and is forced to spend the rest of the flight tied up and under close watch.
* In ''Film/HaroldAndKumarEscapeFromGuantanamoBay'', an old lady on the plane sees Kumar as a raving Arab potential terrorist; when he puts his bong together in the restroom, he gets caught and says, "it's just a bong," but she (and others) think he says "bomb".
** It doesn't help that the guy in charge of Homeland Security is a complete nut who [[IdenticalLookingAsians can't tell an Indian from an Arab]] and assumes that every person of Korean descent is a North Korean agent. Hell, he can't even figure out that Harold and Kumar's parents were born in the US and tries to talk to them through an interpreter (who wasn't even able to understand that the parents were speaking English).
* ''Film/MeetTheParents'': Greg has a horrible experience with the airline he used to fly to his in-laws' home, as they lost his luggage and also forced him to wait to be seated even though ''there were no other passengers present to board''. He tries to avoid losing his luggage again by taking it with him on the plane, but when the flight attendant tries to take it from him, Greg snaps and yells at her that, among other things, it's not like he's carrying a bomb in his bag. Cut to the next scene, where he gets dragged off by the security for saying "bomb" on an airplane.
-->'''Officer''': You can't say bomb on an airplane!\\
'''Greg''': Bomb bomb bomb! Bomb bomb ba-bomb!
* A particularly nasty version in ''Film/AngerManagement'', justified in that [[spoiler:everyone, except the air marshal, who was just having a bad day himself, was in on it to piss off the protagonist.]]
* ''Film/WereTheMillers'': When the TSA officer is checking the "Millers'" [=IDs=], he doesn't see anything suspicious about David and Casey's driver licenses (David is unshaven and has a different haircut in the photo, while Casey has a dozen piercings in hers), although their pictures look ''very'' different from their current looks. Kenny looks exactly like his picture... and he gets strip-searched for that.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Inverted in ''Literature/BigTrouble'': two incompetent terrorists easily bring a ''nuclear bomb'' onto an airplane ([[BlatantLies they claim it's a garbage disposal]]). [[TheGuardsMustBeCrazy The guard is too disinterested to bother stopping them.]] Ironically, this was part of the reason TheFilmOfTheBook got a huge delay slapped on its [[TooSoon shortly-after-9/11]] release date.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''The Ronnie Johns Half Hour'' has a sketch where Chopper has to go through airport security. After making numerous terrorism jokes involving his nail clippers, he throws a teatowel over a dark-skinned man and accuses him of being a terrorist. The airport security officers cart the innocent man away and Chopper gets on his flight. His plan was successful because, "they're always gonna pin it on some poor bloke who looks like an Arab."
* In the Series/{{Muppets}} Christmas special ''[[Film/AMuppetsChristmasLettersToSanta Letters to Santa]]'', Fozzie is told by a security guard that telling bad jokes on an airport terminal is against security regulations. After Fozzie tells him that he has better jokes and takes them out to show him, the guard shouts "He's got index cards!" and poor Fozzie is tackled and taken away.
* In the first episode of ''Series/{{Bones}}'', Brennan gets accosted by security (who didn't initially identify themselves, so she beat them up), but it turns out it was just Booth messing with her.
** It gets better: One of the guards searches her carry-on bag... and finds a human skull.
* A subplot was scripted for ''Series/{{Friends}}'' in which Chandler, en route to his honeymoon with Monica, makes a joke about bombs at airport security, but is hauled in and interrogated. The subplot had to be quickly scrapped and replaced, [[TooSoon because it was due to air mere weeks after 9/11]].
* In the ''Series/DrakeAndJosh'' made for TV movie, ''Drake And Josh Go Hollywood'', Drake and Josh put their sister Megan on the wrong plane. After they discover this, the two attempt to run onto the plane and get here before it takes off. They are stopped by security. Afterwards, the boys are released and one of the officers tell them that they take airport security "very seriously", to which Josh voices his concern on whether or not the strip search was really necessary.
* On an episode of ''Series/ModernFamily'', Manny, who is age 11, is questioned by the Homeland Security Department because his name appears on the "do not fly list". From his and his mother's reactions, this isn't the first time this has happened.
* On ''Series/WouldILieToYou'', Creator/LeeMack once claimed that he received a strip search at Miami Airport after making a joke about UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan. [[spoiler:It wasn't true. He went on to complain about the show forcing him to come up with a plausible joke on the fly.]]
* DoubleSubverted in ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' with the watch smuggler sketch. The guard [[FailedASpotCheck refuses to recognise the smuggler's obvious (and confessed) guilt]]. Then at the end, he arrests an obviously innocent clergyman.
* An episode of ''Series/SeventhHeaven'' has two characters held up and frustrated by airport security. It doesn't help when, in their frustration, one of them sarcastically mentions having a bomb on their person, which results instantly in outright detaining. They're let go, but warned that they have to take every threat seriously regardless of how obvious the sarcasm is.
* Inverted in Series/{{Community}}, where the security agents look through Abed's stuff before he's done anything, but eventually let him get away with making a joke about a bomb on a show that was aired across campus.
* A mild example in the ''Series/LieToMe'' pilot, where Lightman is at the airport with Foster and carrying a briefcase. He is waiting in line at a security checkpoint and steps out to look past the line (possibly to see how long he'd have to wait). He is immediately approached by a female security officer who asks him to step aside and open his briefcase. He does and reveals that it's full of cash. He then proceeds to question ''her'' about what clued her in that something was up and reveals that the whole thing is an impromptu audition for her to join the Lightman Group. The cash is a starting bonus. She becomes a regular cast member.
* A rail version on ''Series/GavinAndStacey'', when Gavin decides at the last minute to bite the bullet and propose to Stacey before she gets the train home, and jumps the barrier to do so. He ends up getting held at gunpoint by multiple transport police when he reaches into his jacket for something, and just manages to get the proposal out before he's tackled.
* Allegations about the physicalness of security procedures put into place by the Transportation Security Administration in November 2010 were parodied with [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gspzb_k1FAE this]] Series/SaturdayNightLive sketch.
* In the Australian ''Border Security'', an entire section of Sydney International Airport is cleared and shut down because an x-ray scanner revealed a grenade in a suitcase. It turns out to be a belt buckle, which is then confiscated.


[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]

* In ''ComicStrip/ForBetterOrForWorse'', the family gets in trouble when the kids play with toy ray guns, which no one in their right mind would confuse for real weapons. Luckily, a more reasonable security officer defuses the situation.
* A ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'' strip also has the Fox family get busted because Jason packed a toy ray gun. When asked why he did so, Jason answers his dad just told him to not pack nail clippers.
* Generally {{averted|trope}} if not {{inverted|trope}} in the comic strip ''ComicStrip/{{Drabble}}''. Ralph Drabble is an airport security man, and while he and his coworkers often annoy passengers, they're largely out to amuse themselves.


[[folder: Radio ]]

* In one episode of ''MitchBenn's Crimes Against Music'', Mitch is planning to tour America, but is stopped at airport security because he's on a list of un-American satirists. When he tries to demonstrate that he's going to sing ''nice'' songs, they panic. "He's reaching for the guitar!"


[[folder: Stand Up Comedy ]]

* Creator/RobinWilliams riffed on this in his HBO special ''Robin Williams: Live on Broadway'' (which aired less than a year after 9/11):
-->"Airport security used to be like, ''(imitates someone going through a metal detector)'' BEEP! 'Okay, get on the plane. What's that? Oh, that's a gun. Okay, get on the plane.' You could carry a four-inch blade on a plane. That's about that long. ''(demonstrates)'' Now, you can't even take a nail-clipper on a plane. What, are they afraid you're gonna go 'ALL RIGHT! Hand over the plane or the bitch loses a cuticle! I have a nail file! I can be irritating!'"
* Dara Ó Briain tells a story about a guy who is planning to ask his girlfriend to marry him on their vacation and thus hesitates to open that one little black box when he's asked to, leading to a showdown and eventually a proposal in the security line.
* Magic, but close enough. Creator/PennAndTeller sell metal cards inscribed with the Bill of Rights after their Las Vegas shows to help make a point; they think this is [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped one of those anvils that needs dropping]], at least.
* Hannibal Buress has a bit saying that nowadays it's probably easier to get cocaine on a plane than a bottle of water.


[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* One of the black cards in ''TabletopGame/CardsAgainstHumanity'' is "TSA guidelines now prohibit _____ on airplanes." Depending on which white cards are playe that round, you might find straight examples ("A really cool hat" is dangerous ''how'', exactly?) or inversions (What took us so long to ban "Kamikaze pilots"?).


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Parodied in ''Videogame/{{Mardek}}'', where you have to go through 10 security guards every time you want to use a teleporter, all of whom ask you ridiculous questions. If you answer a question incorrectly, the guards will yell "TERRORIST!!1" and transform into a [[HopelessBossFight nigh-invincible "security demon"]].
* [[FunnyBackgroundEvent An announcement in the background]] of the spaceport in RatchetAndClankUpYourArsenal informs travelers that [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking thermonuclear devices and nail clippers]] are not allowed in carry-on luggage.
* Borginia is a fictional country from ''VisualNovel/ApolloJusticeAceAttorney'' and is where the illegal "Borginian Cocoon" grows. Borginian customs officials are so concerned about stopping the smuggling of Borginian cocoons that they spend upwards to a day on security checks and confiscate ''marshmallows'' (which look just like the cocoons). Possession of cocoons results in [[spoiler:immediate execution]]. The non-Borginian characters [[LampshadeHanging Lampshade]] this trope and [[JustifiedTrope justify]] it at the same time: [[spoiler:[[PerfectPoison a highly deadly poison]] can be easily extracted from it.]]
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/SaintsRow2'', where radio advertisements for the local airport claim that passengers are actively encouraged to bring their own weapons as a means of security. Training for the actual security guards consists mostly of memorizing the phrase "You're fine, go ahead through", evidently.


[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' did one on this. The scene was of a guy and his wife being stopped by the TSA with the guy explaining to the officer that his laptop battery contained as much stored power as a hand grenade and if it went off, then there would be a pretty bad explosion. As the man is being arrested, he exclaims, "You can't arrest me if I prove your rules inconsistent!", which just goes to show he doesn't really understand how people ''work''.
* ''Webcomic/LeastICouldDo'' used this as the cap to an [[EscalatingWar Escalating Prank War]] between main character Rayne and his JerkAss brother Eric. After weeks worth of material of the two trying to outdo each other, when Eric is leaving Rayne tricks him into saying bomb in an airport. Eric immediately recognizes his mistake and congratulations Rayne on the cleverness of it as he's led away by security. [[http://leasticoulddo.com/comic/20050723 Link]].
* Ozy from ''Webcomic/OzyAndMillie'' doesn't get dogpiled, but he ''does'' have [[RunningGag all his fur shaved off]] because his name happened to pop up on a list.
* When the cast of ''Webcomic/{{Concession}}'' go on a trip, the TSA's reactions [[http://concessioncomic.com/index.php?pid=20080826 might have been justified]], what with Rick hitting on a female agent, Matt having a baggie of something green (catnip, and not his), and Joel packing a whip, handcuffs, and a bunch of dildos.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* On ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'', Hank was bringing a turkey to Montana for Thanksgiving with Peggy's family, but it got the attention of the bomb-sniffing dogs, so the bomb squad blew it up.
* The airport security in the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "The Entity". TheyKilledKenny for carrying a nailclipper.
** Parodied in "Reverse Cowgirl" with the ''Toilet'' Safety Administration.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* As mentioned above, the events of 9/11 really caused a ramp-up in airport security, and caused the passenger bill of rights movement to be slowed. As we move into the future, we will see if the measures are ProperlyParanoid or just overkill.
* While traveling to Belfast for a promotional screening, Creator/MattSmith (aka [[Series/DoctorWho the Eleventh Doctor]]) was stopped by security at Heathrow Airport after a scanner revealed a "potential weapon" in his luggage. The "weapon" in question? His [[http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t70/monkey_doctor/NewSonicScrewdriver.jpg sonic screwdriver]]. [[http://primetime.unrealitytv.co.uk/doctor-who-airport-security-stop-matt-smith-over-sonic-screwdriver/ The joke really writes itself.]]
** The main point here is that the guards didn't recognise him and therefore had no idea what the funny metal thing was, so it's reasonable enough that they would want to inspect it visually - which is all they did.
* Another RealLife example: TSA agents at the airport in Phoenix, Arizona stopped retired [[SemperFi Marine Corps]] General (and former Governor of South Dakota) [[AcePilot Joe Foss]] and attempted to confiscate his Medal of Honor (yes, you read that right... the man earned the highest award the United States can give someone during World War II). While the agents in question claimed that they "thought it could be used as a weapon", General Foss himself has stated that he's pretty sure they were trying to find a way to steal it from him.
** They were. Look here: http://www.travelunderground.org/index.php?pages/tsa-abuse-master-lists/#BillFisher
* After the "Shoe Bomber" incident, writer Calvin Trillin was being interviewed on ''Series/TheDailyShow'' and suggested that the perpetrator was the one terrorist in his cell with a sense of humor and had made a bet with his co-conspirators that he could get everybody taking their shoes off at airports. [[HilariousInHindsight He concluded that if the main player in the next highly publicized foiled terror plot was known as the "Underwear Bomber," then we'd know he was onto something.]]
* Sad examples of this include [[http://news.travel.aol.com/2011/06/26/tsa-pats-down-elderly-woman-removes-adult-diaper-video/ the 95-year-old cancer patient forced to take off her diaper]] and [[http://news.travel.aol.com/2011/05/11/baby-receives-pat-down-at-kansas-city-airport-video/ the baby given a pat down]].
* Senator Rand Paul, son of the increasingly well-known congressman Ron Paul, was detained by TSA agents when flying to D.C., which many felt was a retaliation for his constant criticisms of the TSA's excessive and invasive searches. While the TSA claimed he was "irate" and being uncooperative, they rather quickly dropped any claims when video surveillance showed him acting completely calm during the incident.
* Another incident is where the TSA thought that ''cupcake icing'' could be used as a ''bomb''.
** Not to condone the unrestrained debauchery of the blatantly sociopathic personalities at the TSA, but interestingly there is in fact a type of plastique, developed all the way back in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, that can be disguised as cake and is even edible.
* Among the most jaw-dropping of abuses, in April of 2012, TSA screeners separated a 4-year-old child from her family and screamed at her, calling her an "uncooperative suspect" and threatening arrest. The child's parents have since reported that she wakes up screaming or crying almost every night due to nightmares brought on by this incident. TSA's actions were in response to the child [[http://travelunderground.org/index.php?threads/the-consumerist-4-year-old-gets-tsa-pat-down-following-hug-from-grandma.2895/ hugging]] [[http://consumerist.com/2012/04/4-year-old-gets-tsa-pat-down-following-hug-from-grandma.html her]] [[http://tsanewsblog.com/2572/news/yet-another-child-abused-by-tsa/ grandmother]].