If you’re currently at Comic-Con International in San Diego, you may want to take a couple of minutes to read this post if you’re traveling home via commercial aircraft.
Our officers have been screening outgoing Comic-Con travelers at the San Diego International Airport (SAN) for over a decade now, and we’ve gained some valuable tips from them that could really help ease your screening experience.
Every year during Comic-Con International, our officers have issues with the various items that people purchase and then either carry-on or place in their checked bags. These come in the form of figurines, costume items (including replica and real weapons) and other mementos that generally alarm our checkpoint and checked baggage screening systems and result in a bag check.
Here are our suggestions on how to avoid the most common problems:
Ship Collectible Items with Original Seal - If you have an item packaged with an original seal that you would rather not have searched; there are several shipping options within the vicinity of the Convention Center and hotels that you can use to ship your item(s) home. There’s always the chance that a packaged item might have to be searched and opened, which would cause us to have to break the original seal. If you’re a collector, the last thing you want is a broken seal.
Replica Weapons- If you’re not checking a bag and you have a realistic replica of a weapon or an actual weapon, you’ll want to ship the item. If you are checking a bag, replica weapons and actual weapons may be packed in your checked bag. Replica firearms can be placed in your checked baggage with no declaration or packing guidelines, but actual firearms must meet packing guidelines and be declared. Anything looking like an explosive (whether real or not) is strictly prohibited from air travel.
Brochures, Magazines and Comic Books - Pack items such as stacks of brochures and assorted comic books in your carry-on bag. Place them in a bin prior to sending them through the x-ray. 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.
If you’re not attending Comic-Con International, this guidance applies to any collector or attendee of any comic-con. Safe travels!
AskTSA is a team of TSA professionals who answer TSA related questions from the traveling public. You can read more about the program in this USA Today article.
We are here to help your traveling experience. Please direct your questions to @AskTSA on Twitter and Facebook.com/AskTSA . We’re available to answer your questions, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Eastern Time, weekdays; 9 a.m.to 7 p.m., weekends/holidays.
Travelers may also reach out to TSA Contact Center. The hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.,ET; weekends and federal holidays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. TCC can be reached at 866-289-9673.
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