After gaining infamy from their aggressive removal of a passenger from a flight earlier this year, United Airlines prevented passengers leaving Comic-Con International in San Diego from carrying comic books in their checked baggage. According to The Verge, passengers were shocked to find a notice posted by United Airlines informing them that they couldn't keep their SDCC spoils in their checked luggage.
“The restriction on checking comic books applies to all airlines operating out of San Diego this weekend and is set by the TSA,” a spokesperson for the airline tweeted in response. Then, the TSA then tweeted their own response, immediately debunking United's claim:
Good afternoon. Pls note there are no TSA restrictions on checking comic books or any other types of books. https://t.co/Nu00IvcZSc— TSA (@TSA) July 24, 2017
“They are incorrect. There is no problem with [people] taking comic books, which are not a security threat, in their checked baggage,” TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers told The Verge. “The bottom line is, there's no restriction. We're working with United Airlines to figure out where this is coming from.”
The Verge offers as decent an explanation as any, pointing to a TSA blog post regarding last year's SDCC. The post gave travel tips for con-goers and advised that comic books, magazines and brochures should be packed in carry-on bags for prudence more than safety. "Packing these items in checked bags often causes alarms leading to bag searches which can cause a significant slowdown in the screening process leading to delays and bags possibly missing their flights," the post reads.
As The Verge also notes, United's later statement seems to point to this misinterpretation.“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,” a spokesperson said. “We misunderstood TSA’s instructions and regret any inconvenience this may have caused our customers.”
This year, Comic-Con International in San Diego ran Thursday, July 20 through Sunday, July 23 in the San Diego Convention Center, with preview night on Wednesday, July 19.