US transport officials have roasted a passenger online after they were caught trying to smuggle a gun on to a plane by hiding it inside a raw chicken.
The fowl plot was cracked by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport.
The traveller’s weapon was spotted before boarding stuffed inside the bird and wrapped in paper packaging.
TSA officers joked on Instagram that the scheme “wasn’t even half-baked”.
Officials didn’t reveal who had hatched the plan, but photos posted to Instagram by the TSA showed officers examining the bird inside an airport screening area, before removing the gun and unwrapping it.
With the annual Thanksgiving holidays fast approaching, the agency leaned heavily into festive puns in their caption, quipping that its officers “are always working around the cluck to keep you safe”.
“The plot chickens as we barrel our way closer to Thanksgiving,” a TSA spokesperson wrote.
“We hate to beak it to you here, but stuffing a firearm in your holiday bird for travel is just a baste of time. This idea wasn’t even half-baked; it was raw, greasy, and obviously unsupervised. The only roast happening here is this poor packing choice!”
“Feather you like it or not, there are rules for traveling with guns and ammunition,” the TSA concluded.
Firearms aren’t banned on US airlines, but they must be carried in checked baggage and have to be unloaded and placed in a locked hard-sided container.
Last year, the TSA said it had seized a record number of firearms from passengers at US airports. Around 85% of those taken were loaded, the agency said.
Travellers around the world have sometimes expressed exasperation at the strict nature of airport security.
But TSA officers’ dedication to their task over the years has resulted in some bizarre finds, ranging from a chainsaw stored in some hand-luggage in New Orleans, a hand grenade found in New York and something the agency called a “meth burrito” in Houston.