TSA says it doesn't know why United thought comics were banned from checked Comic-Con luggage

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/07/24/sounds-legit-2.html

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You’d think United would want those down in the hold and not up in the cabin where they might give people ideas about how to deal with a greedy, cruel, villainous organization.

By Grabthar’s Hammer, you shall be named in the class-action suit!

They knocked out a doctor to deadhead their crew.

Nerds: Yeah, that sucks.

They threatened to beat a woman with her stroller.

Nerds: Wow, that’s mean.

A scorpion crawled out of the overhead.

Nerds: Glad I wasn’t on that flight.

No comic books in checked baggage.

Nerds: Red alert! Red alert! This is not a drill, people!


Or perhaps rogue employee cruelly pranking comic book nerds.


The only thing I can think of that makes any sense is that large stacks of comics or graphic novels that are wrapped together, appear as a large tight brick-like object when scanned. This is something that TSA specifically looks for when going through security or scanning baggage. So the idea that it could slow down the process of scanning bags if left there, but if in carry-ons or hands and run through the checkpoint scanning which easily identifies them as books potentially eliminates any congestion…well…that would make some sense?

I speak from experience wherein they have numerous times pulled me aside to check a packed box of gaming cards when flying. I’ve learned to just take them out of my carry on and call attention to them ahead of time.


They’re just concerned about what their new baggage handler might do.


The best part of the story is that neither United nor TSA people, when asked, knew what this was all about. It’s likely that someone somewhere knew, but they neglected to inform the customer-facing folks.


The “Thought Police” are at it again.


“What’s that brick-shaped object in your check-in luggage?”

“A brick.”

“Why do you have a brick in your check-in luggage?”

“I was told it would be not acceptable as a carry-on.”

“Why do you bring a brick to the US?”

“It’s a present for my hosts. I was told the US were building a wall…”


Turkish Delight has a suspicious look on x-ray too, apparently. It was no problem, but I had to get it out of my carry-on for a visual inspection.


For years airlines have been notorious for BS, arbitrary, inconsistent rules.

I had to ship EMPTY compressed air canisters next day air because the idiot at the counter couldn’t understand they were EMPTY and posed no threat. Guy even called down first and Fed Ex is shoving HAZMAT forms at me. I’m like, “Dude, we ship these in the industry hundreds of them a day with no forms. Its an empty canister.”

“Oh it’s empty? Here, just put them in a box.”

I was going to write a letter but 9/11 happened a few weeks later and I figured point was moot.


Same for a box of Dominion cards for me. Happened twice and then the second time I asked why they wanted to look through my carry-on further and he explained what they saw. The TSA guy said “It just looks funny on the scanner, just take it out and send it through on its own like you do with a laptop or tablet and we will see what it is right away and not look any further.”

I know some climatologists who shipped air samples for isotope analyses from South America to Europe. They had all the forms they thought they needed, and they had done this before with no problems. I think they had to change flights in Miami, as far as I remember. And were asked to open the containers (most likely MS test tubes, I assume…).

Terry Gilliam would have chuckled: they had a spare one, and opened it for security to take a sniff.


Well, that’s a good way to find out if it’s poisonous. Though if it is a bio agent it might take awhile to kick in.


I was thinking exactly how this would be an advantage during what could be a very profitable week for shifty baggage handlers…


Unless just any United Employee can add stuff to their electronic signage, someone had to approve that. Someone knows.


United has been told to stop beating people so they’re going to have to settle for dog-earing their comics…So they’re sad.


Wasn’t that a major plot point in 12 Monkeys? Nothing in the container, here sniff it! Yes sir, seems clean, go on through…


My initial thought was that their baggage handlers didn’t want to strain their backs carrying a suitcase packed with comic books. Paper is denser than clothing, and could make for a very heavy piece of luggage.


Yes it was.