Attendees of last week’s Comic-Con International in San Diego were faced with a last-minute roadblock when a sign from United Airlines declared that passengers would only be allowed to store comic books in their carry-on bags, not checked luggage. This would certainly be a challenge for people leaving the biggest comic convention in the world, so many Twitter users retweeted the image, warning friends to be aware and be careful. They also criticized United, which had already come under fire earlier this year for forcibly removing a passenger from one of its planes.
United was quick to respond to customer complaints, saying the rule was TSA policy that applied to everyone. But TSA quickly clarified this was not the case. It soon became clear that what had actually happened was someone at United misinterpreted a TSA blog post timed to last year’s Comic-Con, in which the organization recommended Comic-Con attendees to “pack items such as stacks of brochures and assorted comic books in your carry-on bag” because “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.” Despite the alarmist language, this post was only advice intended to make passengers’ lives easier, not a rigid policy that must be enforced. United eventually apologized for the mix-up.
Luckily, the correction seems to have been made rather quickly. When contacted by EW, Twitter user @spooloflies (one of the first people to publicize the United messaging) clarified that, to her knowledge, the rule was never actually enforced or mentioned at the airport despite the early warnings (which caused her to repack her bags in anticipation). Adi Chappo, another Twitter user who had posted the United sign to warn friends, told EW they didn’t know of anyone who had been directly impacted.
Check out the story as it unfolded over Twitter below (warning: strong language).