The TSA has a long list of things you can’t bring onto a commercial flight these days. Scissors. Cigarette lighters. Car airbags. Pool cues. And of course, guns, knives, bombs, and other weapons.
If you’ve taken a plane (or follow the TSA on Instagram), you’ve probably wondered how the airport security officers who scan carry-on bags watch for all those threats simultaneously. You’ve probably pondered how well you’d do the job. And—admit it—you’ve craned your neck to peek at their screens, trying to suss out the contents of someone else’s carry-on.
Here’s your chance to take a closer look: The gallery above includes eight x-ray images of luggage, each containing contraband of some sort, including firearms (some real, some fake), knives, and, most devious of all, excessive liquids and gels.
Simulscan, an Italian company that offers computer-based x-ray screening training, provided an inside look at the screening process when it gave us these photos. CEO Roberto Sergnese was a security expert at Continental, PanAm, and American Airlines before starting the company. He says becoming adept at checking luggage for contraband requires answering three questions: What are you looking for? What does it look like? What does it look like in an x-ray image?