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Airline Confiscates Empty Cigar Lighters Packed in Checked Luggage
Cigar Aficionado ^ | May 27, 2003 | James Suckling

Posted on 06/08/2003 1:05:01 PM PDT by ml/nj

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What insanity!

Besides everything else, I guess I wonder why the Airline wouldn't charge the guy ten bucks and mail his dangerous cargo wherever he wanted it mailed. Treating customers like that is a sure path to bankruptcy.

ML/NJ

1 posted on 06/08/2003 1:05:01 PM PDT by ml/nj
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To: ml/nj
F*cking Nazi bastards.
2 posted on 06/08/2003 1:11:49 PM PDT by Mulder (Live Free or die)
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To: ml/nj
A Screwdriver has helped take off the edge.

I'm surprised they let him have one of those!

3 posted on 06/08/2003 1:14:24 PM PDT by ErnBatavia (Bumperootus!)
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To: ml/nj
Just one more reason why we drive everywhere these days. Of course that is only possible since we are retired and have no schedules to meet. We've got so many AA free air miles accumulated, it's a pity that we don't feel inclined to use them because of all of the silliness going on at airports. We can only hope they will wise up one of these days.
4 posted on 06/08/2003 1:16:04 PM PDT by basil
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To: ml/nj
This guy is an idiot. He should have told them to take their tickets and stuff them where the sun doesn't shine and then filed suit against the little Nazi that swiped his lighters. Why is it that people willingly subject themselves to a trip through Nazi Germany (i.e., the US air transportation system), then complain when some dimwitted twit steals their stuff, then continue to pay them for the service???
5 posted on 06/08/2003 1:20:35 PM PDT by agitator (Ok, mic check...line one...)
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To: basil
can't drive over the atlantic.

There are rules in how to pack a gun, perhaps there is rules on how to pack lighters? I carried an old zippo (worth over 300 cents) in a suitcase without this happening about four months ago. What if he carried the lighter in his pocket? Something is missing to this story.
6 posted on 06/08/2003 1:20:36 PM PDT by longtermmemmory
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To: All
Does anyone know if a Leatherman multi-tool is allowed in checked luggage?
7 posted on 06/08/2003 1:22:42 PM PDT by Welsh Rabbit
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To: ml/nj
Cigar Dave needs to hear about that incident. Here's his website address: http://smokethis.com/home/index.shtml
8 posted on 06/08/2003 1:24:22 PM PDT by Dixielander
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To: ml/nj
But I was really upset. It wasn't the money lost. It was something more disturbing. I felt that American Airlines had taken something more from me. Those were my lighters, personal things that I valued. One of them had traveled around the world with me. They were like old friends.

The author apparently treats his "old friends" in a fairly cavalier manner. The part of American Airlines' web site dealing with baggage policy states clearly "Ask before you pack your luggage or carry on board the following items, as they may be classified as dangerous goods or weapons which are restricted for transport by air ... Flammable Liquids or Solids: Fuel, paints, gas torches (including micro-torches and torch lighters) ...

A little due diligence on the author's part before traveling could have prevented his expensive surprise. Sorry, but I can't buy into the "poor li'l oppressed cigar smoker me" spin on this one.

(And another thing: I just can't see paying $150 for a freaking lighter. But hey, if you really want a $300 pair of socks, this is America I guess ...)

9 posted on 06/08/2003 1:25:15 PM PDT by strela (Just shoot me now, 'cause I've done it all.)
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To: Welsh Rabbit
Does anyone know if a Leatherman multi-tool is allowed in checked luggage?

Go to www.tsa.gov and download the list of prohibited items.

The multi-tool is probably okay in checked luggage.

10 posted on 06/08/2003 1:25:59 PM PDT by HAL9000
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To: ml/nj
It's not a license to steal. I've had to remind them of that twice now as they tried to take nice pens. Call security (local cops on airport duty) and tell them the airline is stealing. Of course, you have to have the time as you will probably miss your flight.

We have to stand up people. Do you feel safer? I don't.
11 posted on 06/08/2003 1:26:34 PM PDT by KCmark (I am NOT a partisan.)
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To: Welsh Rabbit
My experience shows that you can pack a Leatherman in your checked suitcase, including for overseas travel.
12 posted on 06/08/2003 1:26:40 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed
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To: ml/nj
Sue the B*stards! Lose weight, lose sleep, wake up screaming from the PTSD induced by their irresponsible and reckless behavior.
13 posted on 06/08/2003 1:28:45 PM PDT by CholeraJoe (White Devils for Sharpton. We're bad. We're Nationwide)
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To: ml/nj
Go to American Airlines' website and write an email to them. Or call. Whatever.

As much money as they are losing each day, I doubt it will matter much to them if you tell them you won't fly on their airline anymore, but you'll feel better for having vented.

14 posted on 06/08/2003 1:31:11 PM PDT by savedbygrace
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To: strela
A little due diligence on the author's part before traveling could have prevented his expensive surprise.

Do you mean due diligence like emptying the lighters before packing them? Why would an airline still want to confiscate empty lighters from checked baggage stowed in an inaccessible part of the plane? What more was he supposed to do?

-PJ

15 posted on 06/08/2003 1:32:43 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's not safe yet to vote Democrat.)
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To: agitator
This guy is an idiot.

Your right, first off, they were checked in, he had no access to them, secondly, if its an issue, they can have them mailed back to him, 3rd, if they gave him 2 hours, he should have said okay, and called a lawyer up to retrieve them, and filed suit. Even threating to call a lawyer to retrive them, would have scared the hell out of them.

16 posted on 06/08/2003 1:32:47 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: Sonny M
lesson, carry lighter in your pocket.
17 posted on 06/08/2003 1:33:59 PM PDT by longtermmemmory
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To: ml/nj
It is becomming obvious from reports that the screeners at John Wayne are purely and simply thieves, on the same level as say, Nigerian Customs Inspectors.

On the other hand I have already figured out that anything that matters needs to be Fed-Ex'd the day before

So9

18 posted on 06/08/2003 1:36:17 PM PDT by Servant of the Nine (A Goldwater Republican)
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To: HAL9000; Beelzebubba
Thanks!
19 posted on 06/08/2003 1:36:17 PM PDT by Welsh Rabbit
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To: Sonny M
"Even threating to call a lawyer to retrive them, would have scared the hell out of them."

No it wouldn't have. AA doesnt care. They know that all the lawsuits in the world can be filed against them now and since most of their employees know they will probably go bankrupt. And once AA goes belly up, all of those lawsuits are moot. So don't expect any good treatment on Delta or AA. I'm sure NorthWest isn't far behind.
20 posted on 06/08/2003 1:37:40 PM PDT by Beck_isright (When Senator Byrd landed on an aircraft carrier, the blacks were forced below shoveling coal...)
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To: strela
gas torches (including micro-torches and torch lighters) ...

Does the term "torch lighter" refer to ordinary cigarette/cigar lighters, or to devices used for lighting torches?

Also, out of curiosity, which style of lighter was this? Many butane lighters have an integral non-removable vessel which holds the gas; gas is injected into the vessel through a one-way valve, but there isn't necessarily any particularly easy way to inspect a lighter and confirm that it is in fact empty.

I guess the biggest question in my mind, though, is why the airline couldn't give the lighter back to the passenger while he was outside the security area given that they could have given it to any other person of the passenger's choosing?

21 posted on 06/08/2003 1:40:58 PM PDT by supercat (TAG--you're it!)
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To: ml/nj
Is there a Bushbot Ping List? I really need to know HOW this is supposed to help W get re-elected in '04?

Even as he tried to bond with the current generation of military when he landed on the Abraham Lincoln, he sent WWII Medal Of Honor winner Joe Foss TO HIS GRAVE with a fresh memory of some TSA idiots who tried to confiscate his Medal of Honor.

Examine the pilot casualty statistics for WWII to get some sense of just what a Medal of Honor meant and tell me that a outrage of that magnitude was not worthy of some response from the Bully Pulpit of the White House.

Oops! Too late. The man is dead.

Meanwhile, Tom Ridge and the boys are teaching every Barney Fife Police department how to harass people on the open highway with Government Mandated Traffic Jams known as Seatbelt Checkpoints.

And of course, we now have the Universal Internal Passport known as the Drivers License complete with Federal Social Security Number.

What part of the liberal agenda does this administration oppose?

$15 Billion to Africa for AIDS? No problem.

Restrictions on freedom of speech? No problem.

Can someone help me out?

Best regards to all,

22 posted on 06/08/2003 1:41:33 PM PDT by Copernicus (A Constitutional Republic revolves around Sovereign Citizens, not citizens around government.)
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To: longtermmemmory
lesson, carry lighter in your pocket.

but just one. My wife a bic in her purse and one in a carryon bag. They told her one was fine, but not tow.

Go figure.

I pack my knives and cigar clippers in checked bags and one good lighter goes carry-on.

23 posted on 06/08/2003 1:43:14 PM PDT by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: Political Junkie Too
Do you mean due diligence like emptying the lighters before packing them?

The airline's rules, clearly stated on their web site, say nothing about them being empty or full. The rules say not to pack them, period. I can't see how it could be more clear. Don't take them at all, risk them being confiscated with the attendant hassle, or take another mode of transportation.

Why would an airline still want to confiscate empty lighters from checked baggage stowed in an inaccessible part of the plane?

Because they simply don't have time to check every possible source of ignition in checked baggage for the presence of flammable gas? It takes long enough to endure the stylized rectal examination that is flying today.

What more was he supposed to do?

Ask the airline before packing them would seem to be the right answer to me. If then told that they would not be allowed, he could have left his "old friends" home then gone to the airport gift shop and bought a Bic with an adjustable flame that members of the common herd like me uses every day to light cigars.

I just don't see any cause for outrage here. The guy failed to follow the rules and paid for it. If he doesn't like it, let him do the due diligence next time or take the bus.

24 posted on 06/08/2003 1:46:15 PM PDT by strela (Just shoot me now, 'cause I've done it all.)
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To: supercat
Does the term "torch lighter" refer to ordinary cigarette/cigar lighters, or to devices used for lighting torches?

Torch lighters are a new style of butane lighter that produces a low, high-intensity flame, similar to a blowtorch, for lighting cigars, or for use in windy locations (such as a beach) where a conventional lighter would blow out.

-PJ

25 posted on 06/08/2003 1:46:37 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's not safe yet to vote Democrat.)
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To: longtermmemmory
lesson, carry lighter in your pocket.

You, sir or madam, win the Kewpie doll. I had a cheapo Bic in my pocket plus two in my shaving kit - worked just fine to light my Arturo Fuentes on my trip. And never once did the airport security goons even raise an eyebrow.

26 posted on 06/08/2003 1:47:55 PM PDT by strela (Just shoot me now, 'cause I've done it all.)
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To: supercat
if they gave it back they could not steal it. The has to be documentation for the passenger. They can't just take it without filing a report. Miami international broke up a ring of British airways baggage handlers who were regularly opening and stealing from london bound flights.
27 posted on 06/08/2003 1:48:44 PM PDT by longtermmemmory
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To: longtermmemmory
lesson, carry lighter in your pocket.

The key thing here, was that they were empty lighters. In essence, since they can't fuction, they could have just given them to him.

28 posted on 06/08/2003 1:49:22 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: savedbygrace
Go to American Airlines' website and write an email to them. Or call. Whatever

I just did that, and sent them this message:

I don't know my AA #, and to be honest I don't fly your routes much any more. But if the following story is true, I would go out of my way to avoid AA in the future.

The story I have in mind is the CONFISCATION of two empty cigar lighters in checked luggage detailed by James Suckling on Cigar Aficionado's website. (http://www.cigaraficionado.com/Cigar/CA_Daily/CA_Daily_News/0,2342,806,00.html)

Now before you go and tell me you were only following orders (as if that were a defense), I would like to know why your representative did not offer to mail Mr. Suckling's lighters to whatever address he suggested. (For a small fee, since I realize your financial predicament.) With service like this American will be sure to go the way of Eastern.

I requested a reply. We'll see what happens.

ML/NJ

29 posted on 06/08/2003 1:51:13 PM PDT by ml/nj
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To: strela
The AA site also lists this:

There are certain exceptions for personal care, medical needs, sporting equipment, and items to support physically challenged passengers. For example:

It appears that he ought to have been able to carry one of his lighters onto the plane, as it was a lighter without a flammable liquid reservoir. Also, I wonder how they define "micro-torches." Do they mean torch lighters or the small micro torches used for home electrical work or cooking?

-PJ

30 posted on 06/08/2003 1:52:57 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's not safe yet to vote Democrat.)
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To: strela
You, sir or madam, win the Kewpie doll. I had a cheapo Bic in my pocket plus two in my shaving kit - worked just fine to light my Arturo Fuentes on my trip. And never once did the airport security goons even raise an eyebrow.

For what it's worth, I've had Calibris and Prometheus lighters turn into worthless hunks of crap after 6 months. I now by the cheapo knockoffs at JRs for six bucks and they work forever.

31 posted on 06/08/2003 1:53:29 PM PDT by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: supercat
Does the term "torch lighter" refer to ordinary cigarette/cigar lighters, or to devices used for lighting torches?

I would assume that a "torch lighter" in this context refers to a device designed to emit a fairly intense and high flame to light cigars or pipes. But that's just my opinion - you'd have to ask the airline to be sure. Which is what the author of this piece should have done.

Also, out of curiosity, which style of lighter was this?

There is a web site with a picture of one. Looks at first glance like a standard Zippo with a little bar poking out of the top of it. I guess the little bar is the part that drives the cost up to $150.

Many butane lighters have an integral non-removable vessel which holds the gas; gas is injected into the vessel through a one-way valve, but there isn't necessarily any particularly easy way to inspect a lighter and confirm that it is in fact empty.

Yup. The cheapie plastic ones are translucent or clear, which makes it easier to check them. Which leads me to believe that the expensive lighters confiscated were opaque.

I guess the biggest question in my mind, though, is why the airline couldn't give the lighter back to the passenger while he was outside the security area given that they could have given it to any other person of the passenger's choosing?

That bothered me too. Seems the easiest way to resolve the situation to me.

32 posted on 06/08/2003 1:53:50 PM PDT by strela (Just shoot me now, 'cause I've done it all.)
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To: ml/nj
I wonder why the Airline wouldn't charge the guy ten bucks and mail his dangerous cargo wherever he wanted it mailed.

I can see it now, ten bucks for a box packing and handling, ten bucks for postage, then they load it in the same plane they wouldn't let it on in his luggage.

;-)

33 posted on 06/08/2003 1:54:43 PM PDT by StriperSniper (Frogs are for gigging)
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To: longtermmemmory
What if he carried the lighter in his pocket?

I don't know about the metal detectors at the airports, but the ones at my prison will pick up a disposable BIC lighter. Had they been detected in his pocket, he would have had to discard them anyway.

34 posted on 06/08/2003 1:55:06 PM PDT by mass55th
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To: Political Junkie Too
It appears that he ought to have been able to carry one of his lighters onto the plane, as it was a lighter without a flammable liquid reservoir.

That wasn't made clear in the story. I found a web site that sells them, but didn't note the fuel source of the lighters in question. Do they use lighter fluid or something? - $150 for a lighter is a wee bit out of my price range.

Also, I wonder how they define "micro-torches." Do they mean torch lighters or the small micro torches used for home electrical work or cooking?

I would throw my butane-powered soldering iron into this category as well. The guy should have asked ...

35 posted on 06/08/2003 1:56:59 PM PDT by strela (Just shoot me now, 'cause I've done it all.)
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To: ml/nj

http://www.tsa.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/tsa_ppitems_06-02-2003.pdf

* You may take up to 2 butane lighters and/or safety matches in your carry-on baggage. You cannot pack lighters in your checked baggage. "Torch" lighters are not allowed in either checked baggage or carry-on baggage.

Note Some personal care items containing aerosol are regulated as hazardous materials. The FAA regulates hazardous materials. This information is summarized at http://cas.faa.gov/these.html


36 posted on 06/08/2003 1:57:55 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: ml/nj
I found this follow-up elsewhere on CA's site:
Readers have responded passionately to European editor James Suckling's recent editorial, which documented his losing two lighters to overzealous airline officials on a recent trip from California to Chicago. Some shared his opinion, others were opposed, and many debated the dizzying and often conflicting rules about bringing cigar accessories on an airline. One reader, however, showed the true spirit of a cigar aficionado by offering to go to the airport to retrieve the lighters, if they were still available. Here is his follow-up letter:

Dear James:

I wasn't certain that I'd hear back from you so quickly. Given that I wasn't sure I would hear back before heading to San Diego tonight (Thursday) for the weekend, I took the liberty of calling American, who wouldn't give me a number for the American desk at John Wayne, insisting they didn't have a phone there, but instead gave me lost and found. Lost and found turned out to be the local sheriff stationed at the airport, who told me I needed to talk to the TSA rep. After being transferred back and forth twice more, and describing what happened, I was told there was nothing that could be done, because they take all the confiscated articles and FedEx them nightly to a location to be destroyed.

In the aftermath of September 11, I was prevented from flying with a carry-on lighter, but was told I could check it in my luggage. Since that time, I have made sure to check my lighter, although the last couple of times I flew I did carry-on a non-torch lighter. The TSA employee at John Wayne told me that their policies are changing all the time. Now the policy is that you are allowed to carry-on a non-torch lighter, but cannot have a lighter in your checked luggage. A torch-type lighter is not allowed in any circumstance.

The TSA employee advised me to check their web site, www.tsa.gov , before flying each time, because their policies are changing all the time. I suppose this is what we should expect when we combine government bureaucracy with an industry that does its best to alienate the customer.

Sorry I wasn't able to help out. It really would have been no trouble, as it would have been ten minutes out of my way. As you can see, I have faced the same problem and needed to find out the policy before my next flight in any event.

Please take care and keep up the good work!

Best Regards,
Dan Murphy

ML/NJ
37 posted on 06/08/2003 1:58:39 PM PDT by ml/nj
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To: Servant of the Nine
I've flown out of John Wayne before, and they are a collection of crooks and petty dictators. I'm surprised the personnel at the airport don't have South American banana republic dictator uniforms.
38 posted on 06/08/2003 1:58:39 PM PDT by Bernard
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To: ml/nj
What a bee-atch.
39 posted on 06/08/2003 2:01:20 PM PDT by AdA$tra (Tagline maintenance in progress......)
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To: HAL9000
OK, I'm confused. www.tsa.gov appears to say that lighters can be carried on. Or am I wrong again?
40 posted on 06/08/2003 2:01:48 PM PDT by OldEagle (Haven't been wrong since 1947.)
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To: agitator
He should have told them to take their tickets and stuff them where the sun doesn't shine and then filed suit against the little Nazi that swiped his lighters.

On what legal grounds?

41 posted on 06/08/2003 2:02:57 PM PDT by xm177e2 (Stalinists, Maoists, Ba'athists, Pacifists: Why are they always on the same side?)
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To: Catspaw
http://www.tsa.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/tsa_ppitems_06-02-2003.pdf

So I guess there was some other policy when Mr. Suckling flew. His article is dated May 27. Your information is dated June 2, 2003. Do you have to check government websites now before making your return trip home?

Are you defending this absurdity?

ML/NJ

42 posted on 06/08/2003 2:03:01 PM PDT by ml/nj
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To: ml/nj
This article is just one more piece of evidence that proves the point that I make in Saving a few more jobs. As the new security laws make flying a more unpleasant experience, flying will lose market share. Once a traveler was past the novelty of it, flying was never very pleasant, and it is getting worse. When the airline industry is completely destroyed, maybe someone will realize how stupid these laws are. In the meantime, the laws are finishing the economic destruction that Osama bin Laden started.

WFTR
Bill

43 posted on 06/08/2003 2:05:30 PM PDT by WFTR (Liberty isn't for cowards)
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To: TC Rider
I've had the same crummy experience with fancy lighters. Now I light my Fuente Don Carlos Robustos with wooden matches. Easily and cheaply replaced if confiscated by TSA storm troopers.
44 posted on 06/08/2003 2:07:04 PM PDT by clintonh8r (You can have no better friend and no worse enemy than a US Marine.)
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To: Bernard
all hail the enormous power and responsibility of the honey roasted peanut dispenser.

sarcasm on/off
45 posted on 06/08/2003 2:09:07 PM PDT by longtermmemmory
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To: ml/nj
His article is dated May 27. Your information is dated June 2, 2003. Do you have to check government websites now before making your return trip home?

It's beginning to sound like the old Max Headroom sci-fi program where TV shows were canceled within minutes of starting because of low ratings. You'll know that that absurdity is reached when you have items consfiscated during transfer of luggage between connections because the rules have changed.

-PJ

46 posted on 06/08/2003 2:10:06 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's not safe yet to vote Democrat.)
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To: ml/nj
Meanwhile, islamists go unchecked.

I guess I may never fly again unless my workplace orders me to, and maybe not even then.

47 posted on 06/08/2003 2:10:19 PM PDT by LibKill (MOAB, the greatest advance in Foreign Relations since the cat-o'-nine-tails!)
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To: ml/nj
Good job. I've emailed them too. I agree that AA has the right to restrict what they'll carry, but that they have no right to confiscate items they won't ship.
48 posted on 06/08/2003 2:10:26 PM PDT by savedbygrace
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To: ml/nj
Some people in my company say that the TSA has been confiscating their laptop security cables. It's a cable about 36 inches long with a 4 digit combination lock at the end for securing a laptop to a stationary object. My co-workers said they were told that the cables "could be used to strangle someone". I asked if their shoelaces, belts and purse straps were confiscated and they said no.
49 posted on 06/08/2003 2:11:31 PM PDT by xrp
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To: clintonh8r
Now I light my Fuente Don Carlos Robustos with wooden matches.

The Don Carlos Robustos are a nice smoke - your taste is impeccable. I had the opportunity to acquire some genuine Montecristo Cubans in Cozumel recently, but resisted the urge because the Opus Xs I brought with me were so good.

50 posted on 06/08/2003 2:11:48 PM PDT by strela (Just shoot me now, 'cause I've done it all.)
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