Terminal Evacuated — Because of Toothpaste

An electric toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss: is this combination of products which promote oral hygiene potentially lethal at airport security checkpoints in the United States? Photograph ©istockphoto.com by Lusoimages.

Well, at least the toothpaste — which reportedly caused the closing of Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York for approximately 90 minutes yesterday afternoon — can be paired with the electric toothbrush that caused the closing of part of Atlanta’s international airport in January.

The toothpaste — reportedly found in the baggage room area of El Al Airlines at Concourse B in Terminal 4 — was considered a “suspicious package” because it was wrapped in duct tape (which has so many different uses).

I wonder with bated breath if authorities searched every cavity of the baggage room to put the squeeze on escaping their brush with a potential explosive device by the skin of their teeth — but fortunately, the safety drill instead revealed a harmless item, allowing the owner of the suspicious item to make a clean getaway, lickety-spit.

Perhaps the authorities involved in this non-incident should receive a plaque for their heroic efforts and post the ceremony video on — ahem — YouTube.

FlyerTalk member goalie surmises that “if we were allowed to carry on normal size liquids, this pax would not have had to resort to wrapping his tube of toothpaste in duct tape to prevent it from leaking inside his checked luggage.” Perhaps he is right — and if so, he deserves to enjoy a Tootsie Pop in his choice of flavor. However, he then would need to brush his teeth afterwards, and —

…well…let’s move on from here and avoid that potentially vicious circle by heading on over to Richmond International Airport for a completely unrelated matter, where agents of the Transportation Security Administration sent dozens of passengers on Concourse B back through the airport security checkpoint because a carry-on bag was not screened properly. The concourse was then reportedly subsequently emptied.

Well, gee — if they are going to go through all of that trouble, then why bother searching passengers at the gate during boarding?

Perhaps authorities were attempting to find some dental floss to go with the toothpaste and electric toothbrush?

Coincidentally, this incident occurred at roughly the same time on the same day as the one in New York with the potentially lethal toothpaste, and both incidents lasted approximately 90 minutes. Of course, it is no coincidence that the explosions near the finish line at the Boston Marathon last week are a significant factor towards the heightened level of security. Do you believe that authorities are being overly sensitive — or do you believe that they are practicing prudent measures to ensure that passengers are safe at airports in the United States?

To tell the tooth, I hope that the inconveniences caused by products which promote oral hygiene will not lead to a ban of them. We would all have to take a powder on that one…

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Comments (Showing 2 of 2)

  • Cathay Boy at 4:34pm April 23, 2013

    As much as I hated the TSA and despise big government, you do know that tooth paste has been used regularly in the past to hide liquid explosives?

  • rwmiller56 at 8:46am April 25, 2013

    Cathay Boy: Used regularly when? Please cite references.

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