Airline Security Threat: Penguins

Two penguins going through airport security.

Posted on April 22, 2005 at 11:54 PM • 25 Comments


IanApril 23, 2005 1:05 AM

Sounds like the setup for a joke...

"A priest, a rabbi and two penguins walk into a bar... The bartender says, 'Hey, what is this, some kinda joke?'"

Jim DermittApril 23, 2005 9:24 AM

There is Linux without the penguins.

Here are a couple of applications at these URLS:

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There is also the Phatcat
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JimApril 23, 2005 11:10 AM

A guy came to the United States from Ireland and applied for a job at the zoo.

The zoo had a short test for applicants.
One of the questions was, what are rabies.

The Irishman replied, "that's easy, those are just Jewish priests, they won't bother nobody.

Jack KrupanskyApril 23, 2005 4:13 PM

I notice that you still have a spelling error in your headline: there's no "h" in "treat", as in "Airline Security Treat".

The reason the security folks like penguins is because they're not a "flight risk".

-- Jack Krupansky

jojoApril 23, 2005 5:13 PM

Total insanity. The end is nearer than I thought!

What's next? Snakes slithering through the detector? Somone's pet alligator having to go through because they can swallow just about anything? Whew! Someone please wake me from this nightmare.

David SpectorApril 23, 2005 5:20 PM

In the words of Mel Brooks.... "We've gone to plaid"

Just when you think we've jumped the shark, they keep raising the bar. (How's that for mixing metaphors?)


anonymous cowardApril 23, 2005 8:49 PM

I suppose this is why they frequently don't want picture-taking in the vicinity of the security's too embarrassing for TSA.

BenApril 23, 2005 11:39 PM


The penguins couldn't be carried through in their transport thing (too big, too much metal), the penguins couldn't be individually carried through because penguins don't like to be held. The penguins couldn't go through the x-ray machine, so they have to go through the metal detector. Sure, it's very very unlikely that someone was trying to smuggle a weapon/bomb/whatever onto the plane using AB's penguins, but it's also very unlikely that ANYONE was trying to smuggle a weapon/bomb/whatever onto that plane, but they still made the 3-year-old go through the metal detectors.

LoraanApril 25, 2005 12:12 AM

Explanation similar to the above: the penguins themselves were completely unremarkable, but their cage had to be run through the metal detector, and couldn't be run through with them in it. The penguins walking through the metal detector was just a gag.

I don't know if it's true, but it does offer an explanation that doesn't involve accusing the TSA folks of being idiots.

TomApril 25, 2005 8:35 AM

I recall the devastation when the Penguin on top of my television set exploded. Fortunately the nice man on the BBC gave me a warning, just before.

Davi OttenheimerApril 25, 2005 10:48 AM

Cute. I can just imagine the security analysis of penguin executives:

"Ok, it looks like if we want to fly we have to wait in long lines, navigate through hordes of giant bipeds, and be pushed and prodded through metal boxes that may be harmful to our health...not to mention the lack of clean, cool facilities for a long time. Compare this to simply plopping down and belly-sliding at mach speed straight into the water, where we can 'fly' unemcumbered. Given the huge costs, potential harm, and uncertain returns, I vote against the risks of flying above water."

Or as the famous comedian once put it, "if God had meant [penguins] to fly, he would have given them plane tickets".

AndyApril 25, 2005 2:14 PM

Yes, seeing a penguin walk is funny but what are the alternatives?

1. don't go through security? -- I hope there's no such back door

2. go through the X-ray -- it's safe for films :)

3. slide the carry-on case with the penguins through the detector -- isn't this asking for a breach?

4. the penguin handler holds them under the arm and passes through.

#4 may seem like the PC way to do it but think of the beep (error) case. It's easier to separate the sources of failure :)

GoonApril 26, 2005 10:58 AM

The reality is that they have to be screened. However, most of the public is too ignorant to realize this because the media is working them over all of the time.

GoonApril 26, 2005 10:58 AM

The reality is that the Penguins have to be screened, all animals have to be screened. However, most of the public is too ignorant to realize this because the media is working them over all of the time.

Clive RobinsonApril 27, 2005 2:35 AM

I wonder what Denver do with big cats...

Two tigers walking through Denver Departures, one say's to the other "It's a bit quite for a monday afternoon"

I must admit I am a bit surprised, at most inernational airports they have a seperate area for non domestic animals, both for their and the human passangers comfort and safety.

AnonymousApril 27, 2005 3:42 PM

The odd thing was that the penguins had first class, non-refundable tickets. Put that together with the missing shipment of penguin detonators from Syria, and I wouldn't take any chances either.

AnonymousApril 29, 2005 3:49 AM

Are they the sword-swallowing penguins I saw in the circus in Damascus?

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