The TSA Banned Comic Books in Checked Luggage — For Comic-Con

This spring the TSA started testing searching books as you go through the checkpoint. After all your math textbooks might mean you’re a terrorist.

You might think you’re safe checking copies of 1984 in your luggage. And you probably are. But if you’re flying out of San Diego you’d better not try to check any comics.

People go to Comic-Con and buy comic books. Lots of them. Folks leaving this weekend’s event are showing up at the airport and discovering they’re not allowed to transport their haul in checked luggage.

United’s Twitter team confirmed the restriction.

And they apparently went into greater detail via Twitter direct message.

One explanation, from Le Chic Geek may be that “the glossy pages of the comic book show up strangely on the x-ray machine and have to be individually searched. That takes time and it takes staffing.”

TSA doesn’t pay attention to major weather events in the forecast when making staffing decisions so why would they pay attention to major convention events?

Another explanation, I suppose, is that comic books contain characters with super powers which could be a threat to aircraft if left alone in the baggage hold. But flight attendants can use kryptonite in the cabin to fight Superman, and if they can catch Wonder Woman they can bind her bracelets together.

Wolverine comics probably shouldn’t be allowed in the carry on bags, though, because to defeat him you need The Muramasa Blade and the TSA won’t allow that past the security checkpoint.

(HT: Le Chic Geek, Not The Onion)

Update: TSA says they never told United comic books were banned from checked luggage.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Maybe they are proactively trying to keep their agents from stealing the comic books from checked bags?

  2. Or trying to make it easier for employees working the checkpoints to steal the most valuable ones from a passenger’s carry on?

  3. Because cardboard and paper with drawn pictures is such a terrorist threat and threatens to bring down the entirety of Western Civilization, as opposed to rows upon rows of printed words inside the same cardboard and paper.

    Fuck the TSA. Good for nothing but black hole of taxpayer dollars.

  4. If you buy A LOT of comics, it may weight more than your carry-on allowance. Thus you have the choice:
    1. Pay more for the extra weight;
    2. Forfeit your ticket and find another means of transport.

    Both benefit the airlines financially.

    Airline lobbyist simply need to convince the stupid TSA high command (they all are stupid afterall) that comic book presents danger to aviation.

  5. “Wolverine comics probably shouldn’t be allowed in the carry on bags, though, because to defeat him you need The Muramasa Blade and the TSA won’t allow that past the security checkpoint.”

    LOL, didn’t know Gary was such a comic nerd.

  6. Hum, ..where did all the “fiscally responsible” conservatives go? Waiting on your canned comments fed by rich republicans to explain why tsa is good.

    Wait, “fiscal responsibility” only applies to social benefits to the poor (which in most cases affect these same “fiscally responsible” idiots, but they are too stupid to understand).

  7. @CJ in what way, shape, or form is the TSA supported by conservatives? It is not fiscally responsible and, as a non-conservative, I have never heard one promote, defend, or attempt to justify the TSA.
    Don’t they all call for privatization anyway? Perhaps you are uninformed.

  8. @Matt, @CJ misspoke. Just like many on the right fail to grasp the difference between words like Democrat, fascist, communist, socialist, leftist, etc, many on the left fail to understand the difference between GOP, conservative, libertarian, reactionary, fascist, etc.

    What he meant was “right wing support for the TSA”, of which there’s quite a lot. Of course, you’re also right in making the distinction that supporters fiscal conservatism and libertarianism take umbrage with the TSA’s gross inefficiency. That said, supporters of “law and order”, who are often seen to be part of both the Trump and GOP bases, hold the TSA and their work in high regard, as long as it doesn’t involve or inconvenience them.

    Nuance…what a concept!

  9. Wait…nobody is going to comment on Gary knowing what The Muramasa Blade is? That fact alone I find very scary…

  10. Ban Comics Books when there is a comic book conference. Knowing that there was going to be a comic book conference, a smart agency would bring in experts at recognizing comic books in luggage, to facilitate. That would be good for the San Diego economy, because they have a comic book conference every year.

    I think Reagan’s quote fits in here. “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

    I know someone is going to go nuclear on me, because I quoted Reagan. But seriously, giant government being run by narrowly focused people is a problem for all of us.

  11. I’d say go ahead and leave the comic books in your bag. You have a 9/10 or so chance of TSA not catching they are there anyways.

  12. @Other Just Saying —> . . . “I know someone is going to go nuclear on me, because I quoted Reagan.” Nah, don’t be silly. Besides, Ronnie was just quoting but one of the Four Great Lies of the Western World:

    — “The check is in the mail.”
    — “This won’t hurt a bit.”¹
    — “Of course I’ll respect you in the morning.”²
    — “Hi, we’re from the Government and we’re here to help.”

    ¹ Common variation: “This will hurt me more than it will hurt you.”
    ² Common variations: “Of course I won’t cum in your mouth,” and “Of course I love you.”

  13. @Jason Brandt Lewis: Re: “Of course I’ll respect you in the morning.” Well, I do. I grew up after the guilt generation. Beside, it is way better than Norwegian Wood (Beatles): “She told me she worked in the morning And started to laugh I told her I didn’t And crawled off to sleep in the bath.”

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