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Books Security Transportation

United Airlines Claims TSA Banned Comic Books In Checked Luggage For Comic-Con, TSA Denies It (boardingarea.com) 107

schwit1 shares a report: San Diego Comic-Con has become so much more than just a comic book convention. But comic books remain the heart and soul of Comic-Con. In addition to attendees being there to buy comic books, vendors flock to Comic-Con to sell their comic books as well. That's why participants in Comic-Con were shocked to find a notice waiting for them at the San Diego airport after Comic-Con: "COMIC-CON ATTENDEES: REMOVE ALL BOOKS FROM CHECKED BAGS." On Twitter, United Airlines confirmed the ban: "The restriction on checking comic books applies to all airlines operating out of San Diego this weekend and is set by the TSA. ^MD" Consumerist reached out to TSA and were told by a spokeswoman that the warnings about not allowing comic books -- or any kind of book -- in checked bags were simply not true. There is "no restriction on anything related to putting comics or any type of books" in baggage, and TSA never put out any guidance to that effect, she said. "In fact, they are allowed in both checked and carry-on baggage," the spokeswoman told Consumerist, adding that there were no delays in the processing of checked bags out of San Diego yesterday.
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United Airlines Claims TSA Banned Comic Books In Checked Luggage For Comic-Con, TSA Denies It

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  • by pem ( 1013437 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @05:16PM (#54870423)
    Books are heavy.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      And hard to break, dammit.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And even harder to read

    • Books are heavy.

      Isn't there a weight limit on checked bags? If so it doesn't matter.

      • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
        It does matter if not every bag is usually right on the weight limit - except for Comic Con. But that's not the passenger's problem. That's the airlines problem - they need to sort out their shit, not play stupid games.
        • LOL.. Aircraft which are out of kilter weight and balance wise are very much the passengers problem, even if they are unaware of the issues. Unfortunately, overweight or aircraft with out of tolerance centers of gravity are exceedingly dangerous things to fly around in. Problem is that pilots don't necessarily know about the problem until it's too late. The aircraft still flies, until you happen to hit a part of the performance envelope where weight and balance start to play a role (like on short final wh
    • Books are heavy.

      Aha! So people can use books as weapons, so books must be banned! :p

  • The comic book I bought is da bomb, dude!
  • I think this was in the book of Revelations. Page 75, Paragraph 8b.
  • by Tanman ( 90298 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @05:25PM (#54870491)

    On the one hand, we have United Airlines. On the other hand we have the TSA.

    Let's just assume they are both somehow lying, incompetent, or both.

    • Both are Both....
    • by EvilSS ( 557649 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @09:42PM (#54871875)
      Turns out United is taking full credit for this one:

      "While TSA is recommending that customers keep their comic books in their carry-on bags, there are no restrictions on packing them in checked luggage,” reads the statement. “We misunderstood TSA’s instructions and regret any inconvenience this may have caused our customers."

      So basically TSA said "We really recommend you keep your valuable comics in your carry on." and United ran with it as "NO COMICS IN CHECKED BAGS!! BLARGHHH!!!!"
      • More likely, it was something like this:

        TSA: Passengers should not check their comics.

        United: No comics in checked bags.

        Quite possibly there was a meeting where the whys and hows were discussed, and someone taking notes just wrote "Passengers should not check comics" because obviously, everyone reading that would just understand that this is specific case #157 of the general advice to always keep your valuables in your carry-on. But then the person reading the notes sees "TSA says no comics in checked ba

      • Turns out United is taking full credit

        That's a strange approach to the situation. Given the parties involved I would always assume it's 100% United's fault and then be pleasantly surprised when it "turns out" I'm wrong :-)

      • If the comic books are of low value, I have no idea why people would be flying anywhere to transact. If they are of high value, I have no idea why you would check them. They will get lost and you will get offered the original cover price as compensation!
    • This time, for a change, TSA was unexpectedly right.

      They were getting bad rap about TSA agents stealing stuff from checked in bags. Someone knew these comic books are valuable and might be tempting to finger dippers among the TSA. So they warned the attendees to keep their valuables safe.

      United, on the other hand, was up to its usual level of incompetence.

      Makes one wonder, if they are that clueless and that incompetent on public facing aspects of the company, what goes on in maintenance and scheduling?

    • I know that this is probably a first, and enjoy it because you probably won't see it happen again:

      TSA is not to blame.

  • First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for the comic books fans—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Where will it end?

  • As if millions of comic-book nerds suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @05:40PM (#54870575) Homepage
    On the one hand is a lazy, incompetent and mendacious corporation and on the other hand is a lazy, incompetent and mendacious government agency. Whom should I trust?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I was there the week before for the ESRI User Conference and the same signs were posted in the airport. They said something like all books from the ESRI UC must be removed from checked baggage. I flew American Airlines.

  • It appears this meant that books should be removed before the carry-on was scanned as part of the security check, and not that the books were not allowed back in the carry-on after the scanning and security check was complete.

    It was likely a part of this pilot the TSA did, but United didn't get the message that the pilot was over with, or they didn't know the scope of the pilot:
    https://www.insidehighered.com... [insidehighered.com]

  • Every time an airline claims their policy is dictated by the TSA and it's not, they reduce respect for and confidence in the TSA. They're going to keep pulling this shit until they start getting some hefty fines, or the idiots behind it do some jail time.

  • by clovis ( 4684 ) on Monday July 24, 2017 @10:20PM (#54871975)

    It appears that United Airlines posted a statement retracting the ban before the Slashdot article was posted.

    From United Airlines spokesperson earlier this afternoon:
    “While TSA is recommending that customers keep their comic books in their carry-on bags, there are no restrictions on packing them in checked luggage,” reads the statement. “We misunderstood TSA’s instructions and regret any inconvenience this may have caused our customers.”

    At 4:55 PM:
    https://consumerist.com/2017/0... [consumerist.com]
    At 5:15 PM:
    https://www.theverge.com/2017/... [theverge.com]

    • I wonder just which "instructions" the TSA gave them, and if they would be willing to produce a copy of these alleged "instructions" so that we may understand how they might have been "misunderstood."

  • In the uk the term seems to apply to a cosplay and specialised toys/jewelery fair...

  • Remember the occasion when a male passenger was allowed a full can of beer, but the female passenger sitting beside him denied a full can of cola for security reasons.

  • The real reason UA banned comic books was the weight and balance. People were trying to check 150lbs of comic books in their standard-sized luggage, and the planes cannot handle that kind of density for any additional cost. $1M in luggage fees can't make a 737 haul 5 tons of comic books in the luggage hold, not to mention the wear and tear on baggage handlers.

    • Wouldn't they weight them at check in? I thought there was already a max weight for checked bags.
      • Yes, but it's the average that counts.

        In a normal flight, i.e. the kind airlines plan for, you have a handful of people who go over the weight limit, a few more that are close an most that don't come close to it. On average, you have a fairly low bag weight.

        On a flight out of ComiCon, most bags are close to the weight limit or over. And that's something the plane can't handle.

        Yes, it's the usual "oh we'll promise them something, knowing that most won't even come close to using it" bullshit that ISPs are pul

      • I'm talking about the weight limit for the *plane*, not the *bags*.

        There are also balance issues. I don't know if you've ever been on a plane where the captain has asked people to move from fore to aft, or vice versa, but it is pretty common. The center of gravity for the plane must remain within defined safety limits. It cannot be too far fore or aft or the control surfaces will not have sufficient authority to maintain stable flight.

        Passenger aircraft are able to measure the weight on each of the landing

  • Knowing comics in transit could be valuable, and fear that their agents may steal at an abnormally higher rate than their normally high rates of theft. So the instruction was really meant to be...

    "Please keep any valuable comic books in your carry-on baggage and avoid placing valuable items in checked baggage as our agents are known to steal them."

    • I thought the stuff they nick is kinda part of their salary? They aren't really expect to survive on the pittance they make, are they?

  • by bano ( 410 )

    I thought comic con was about non-comic book related celebrity appearances and dressing up like a dalek?
    People are actually still taking comic books to these things?

  • It's purely security theater. The web and my personal connections are replete with former TSA people and the stories they tell of managerial ineptness is astounding.

    And the federal side has no clue as to what's going on. They're just propagating edicts and so rank and file TSA employees are interpreting those edicts and coming up with ridiculous rules.
  • https://www.tsa.gov/blog/2017/... [tsa.gov]

    Quotes from the TSA:

    We are always testing procedures to help stay ahead of our adversaries. We were testing the removal of books at two airport locations and the testing ran its course.

    So, with that out of the way, you might be wondering why we were interested in books. Well, our adversaries seem to know every trick in the book when it comes to concealing dangerous items, and books have been used in the past to conceal prohibited items.

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