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TSA Ruined my luggage... TWICE on the same trip!

Indianapolis...
posts: 2
TSA Ruined my luggage... TWICE on the same trip!

On Aug1 I was traveling from Indianapolis (IND) to San Jose (SJC) via Salt Lake City (SLC) for a conference where I was presenting a poster. I had the poster in a cylindrical black plastic carrying tube, approximately 42 inches long and 4 inches diameter. It had a screw-on cap at one end and a cloth strap running the length of the tube. I checked the bag at the Delta ticket counter approximate 6am on Thurs Aug 1.

A TSA employee inspected the checked bag in Indianapolis, and did not securely replace the screw-on cap. Somewhere between Indianapolis, Salt Lake City, and San Jose, the cap fell off. This is completely unacceptable. How could a TSA employee not securely replace the screw-on cap? Why did a piece of paper in a plastic tube warrant inspection? A paper roll with rubber bands in a plastic tube should be easy to identify on x-ray.

Because of the TSA employees wrongdoing, the poster carrying tube is completely ruined. Without the cap, the tube is non-functional. I have no choice but to throw the tube away, because there is no way to use it without the screw cap. Fortunately, the poster was not irreparably damaged, and I did not have to reprint it. I did have to get a new poster carrying tube for the travel home. I expect to be reimbursed for the cost of the new poster carrying tube.

Here is a link to a folder with pictures of the damaged poster carrying tube:

https:/…1MEa6kq7rh

THEN...

On Aug5 I was traveling from San Jose (SJC) home to Indianapolis (IND) via Phoenix (PHX) from a conference where I presented a poster. I had the poster in a cylindrical black plastic carrying tube, approximately 46 inches long and 4.5 inches diameter. It also had a screw-on cap at one end and a cloth strap running the length of the tube. I checked the bag at the US Airways ticket counter about noon on Monday Aug 5. This is the replacement poster carrying tube I got while in California. Because of my experience on the trip to California, I used packing tape to secure the screw-on joint on my replacement poster carrying tube.

A TSA employee inspected the checked bag in San Jose, and instead of simply removing the packing tape to open the poster carrying tube, the employee felt it necessary to saw through the entire top of the poster tube to gain access to the contents. Upon arrival in Indianapolis, IN, the cap was dangling by a small plastic hinge where the TSA employee stopped sawing. This is completely unacceptable. Why would a TSA employee saw through a poster carrying tube instead of simply removing the tape to gain access? Why did a piece of paper in a plastic tube warrant inspection? A paper roll with rubber bands in a plastic tube should be easy to identify on x-ray.

Because of the TSA employees wrongdoing, the poster carrying tube is completely ruined. Because it has been sawed through, the tube is non-functional. I have no choice but to throw this SECOND tube away, because there is no way to use it when the top has been sawed off. I expect to be reimbursed for the cost of the new poster carrying tube.

Here is a link to a folder with pictures of the damaged poster carrying tube:

https:/…RVrOxSqMcl

I have complained on tsa.gov. Let's see what there response will be...

Liverpool, UK
posts: 10,097
reviews: 14
1. Re: TSA Ruined my luggage... TWICE on the same trip!

How do you know TSA inspected the checked bag by unscrewing the cap - surely after check in the bag was out of your sight and the cap could have come loose or been removed by a baggage handler.

Unless you completed a property report and can claim against the airline then your chances of compensation from TSA will be zero, in my opinion.

Indianapolis...
posts: 2
2. Re: TSA Ruined my luggage... TWICE on the same trip!

There was the standard TSA - 'we inspected your bag' slip inside the carrying tube both times.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 16,576
reviews: 5
3. Re: TSA Ruined my luggage... TWICE on the same trip!

>> I used packing tape to secure the screw-on joint on my replacement poster carrying tube.<<

Why? If it needed to be inspected, the packing tape would (or should) have been ripped off and even if the cap replaced properly it could still come loose. Looks to me like the TSA inspector didn't see the screw cap and thought (okay wrongly) that the only way to get in was to saw it. That's a lot of tape you put on there any maybe s/he just didn't see the cap.

London, United...
posts: 16,051
reviews: 23
4. Re: TSA Ruined my luggage... TWICE on the same trip!

I know it's not funny and you are pissed, quite rightly about it, but when I got to the bit about them sawing it, I had a mental image of it, and did have a bit of a giggle. Next time they will probably blow it up.

One day you will chuckle over it too:-))

My advice would be courier the tube ahead of time. The poster tubes are not working,,,but yes, this would annoy me too.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
posts: 36,216
reviews: 774
5. Re: TSA Ruined my luggage... TWICE on the same trip!

>>How could a TSA employee not securely replace the screw-on cap?<<

Maybe they were very busy inspecting hundreds of pieces of luggage?

>>Fortunately, the poster was not irreparably damaged, and I did not have to reprint it.<<

After looking at your photos, if I were you I would find an alternative way to transport a poster. My first thought seeing that black plastic was "wow, that looks really odd". (TSA translation-- "that looks suspicious") Maybe get some old fashioned heavy cardboard tubes?

Detroit, MI
Destination Expert
for Detroit, Travel Gadgets and Gear
posts: 5,113
6. Re: TSA Ruined my luggage... TWICE on the same trip!

Some of you may want to sit down for this, but I can't fully blame the TSA on this one. You used a tube with a long strap connected to the end cap. Straps and airport baggage handling equipment do not go together. Picture that tube flying down conveyors at 30 MPH getting banged around by 50+ pound bags. There are 1000 catch points that are going to grab that strap and pull off the end cap - taped or not.

TSA should not have cut through the tube. That was just lazy on their part.

The airline probably should have recommended you remove or tape down the strap to prevent it from catching.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
posts: 33,781
reviews: 76
7. Re: TSA Ruined my luggage... TWICE on the same trip!

@tev9999: Yes, coffee just about came out of my nostrils when I read your post. You are getting soft!

>>>I can't fully blame the TSA on this one

Edited: 10:35 pm, August 06, 2013
Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
posts: 36,216
reviews: 774
8. Re: TSA Ruined my luggage... TWICE on the same trip!

Somebody save post #6 !

;-)

Edinburgh, United...
posts: 18,185
reviews: 659
9. Re: TSA Ruined my luggage... TWICE on the same trip!

its always the customers fault.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 16,576
reviews: 5
10. Re: TSA Ruined my luggage... TWICE on the same trip!

Uncle Gus, not always the customer's fault at all. Seems like the OP had bad luck on the outbound, and then "over compensated" on the return in a way to make sure those TSA guys didn't "lose his poster roll lid" a second time, and in doing what he did hid the screw top cap and the TSA took to the saw.

I work with universities/academics who give poster presentations at conferences, and I sometimes have to have a roll up banner to conferences and symposia.

I don't carry or check my banner; I get it shipped UPS, and I know many professors and students that do the same. FedEx would have shipped the OP's poster in a cardboard roll for between $12-15 (4 day ground). On the odd occasion it doesn't show you can get Kinkos to turn out a new poster for $100. With his plastic container costing $20-25 each that may not be a bad idea.

I assume the OP was on some sort of business travel, so it could be expensed.

Edited: 3:01 am, August 07, 2013