Although it seems gross, it actually isn’t illegal to take live lobster with you on an airplane as part of your carry-on or checked baggage. TSA told Conde Nast Traveler in a statement: “Live lobsters are allowed through the security checkpoint; our officers will visually inspect. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.”
The reason this particular lobster was stopped en route to the airplane pertained to its packaging. TSA has an official stance on traveling with live lobster, articulated on its website, which states the creatures must be stowed in a “clear, plastic, spill-proof container." This lobster was just sitting in an insulated cooler, though, in a clear breach of security protocol that prompted a closer examination. Although It looks big and menacing enough to give officers a difficult time during the screening process, TSA spokesperson Michael McCarthy told reporters that the crustacean "cooperated quite nicely." The lobster was eventually allowed to proceed to the terminal for a departing flight.
If you plan on traveling with lobster, TSA recommends “contacting your airline to determine your airline's policy on traveling with your lobster before arriving at the airport.” If you’re not from greater Boston or Cape Cod, you probably don’t need to worry about it.