Days After Comic-Con Confusion, United Says Comic Books Are Not a Flight Hazard
United just can’t catch a break these days. Between the awkwardness of #LeggingsGate and that passenger who got literally dragged from his plane by TSA agents, you’d think the airline would learn to tread softly in the following months, especially during an event as stressful and crazy as Comic Con. But passengers heading back from the convention on Sunday who had spent the event loading up on pristine first editions and omnibuses of their favorite series were dismayed when a message popped up on TV screens at the United check-in line: “Remove all books from checked bags.”
A checked bag is the surest way to make sure something fragile or valuable stays secure during a flight, and first editions of rare comics are both fragile and valuable. Many travelers were baffled at having to move their carefully-packed purchases from their checked bags into their carry-on — why would a bunch of books be a flight hazard? As it turns out, they’re not, as United announced on Tuesday, days after the initial misunderstanding that may have led to a lot of bent pages and broken hearts.
Lorie Dankers, a TSA spokeswoman, explained to The New York Times that the TSA usually recommends people not check bags that contain large amounts of the same item, which can arouse suspicion and slow down the screening process, maybe even causing baggage to get lost in transit. They recommend packing things like that in a carry-on, but it’s not an all-out rule. Plus, TSA agents at airports out of San Diego are probably well aware that passengers will be bringing back stacks of comics during Comic Con season, so seeing it in checked baggage shouldn’t be unexpected.
United, apparently, took it upon themselves to try to be extra helpful to the TSA, but they misunderstood the list of recommendations and ended up just making a lot of people very irritated.
So, next year, feel free to check those bags full of X-Mens and Swamp Things at the gate. Or, maybe just fly Southwest.