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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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To: supercat
Then the man should have been given back his property and allowed to make alternative transportation arrangements for his property and/or himself.

I noticed during recent travel that a booth has popped up at the Oakland Airport where a passenger can have prohibited items stored for a dollar. It isn't a secure location, just some entrepeneur maintaining a roped off area with a bunch of boxes stacked up.

-PJ

101 posted on 06/08/2003 8:13:22 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's not safe yet to vote Democrat.)
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To: strela
What danger does it pose? Your lighter? Probably none. But are you willing to assign the same level of confidence to everybody else's lighter as well?

Yes, if the TSA agent is willing to flick them all first. If it lights, then it is prohibited. If it doesn't, then it's a harmless piece of metal.

-PJ

102 posted on 06/08/2003 8:15:55 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's not safe yet to vote Democrat.)
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To: ml/nj
I was actually at the gate waiting for the flight when my name was called over the loudspeaker. "Sir, they have found two cigarette lighters in your bag and they need to be destroyed," said a woman who was working the check-in desk, rather officiously. "Those two lighters are worth about $300," I said. "You can't just destroy them." "I suggest you go and speak to the American Airlines employee who checked you in, but I think that you might miss your flight," she said

Here's another aspect: I don't know how it is at the John Wayne airport, but I recently departed from the Omaha airport on United, and over there they physically searched all the checked bags PRIOR to the customer checking in the luggage, and they were TSA checkers not United employees. Presumably, if something were found it would be returned to the owner as this was still a public unsecure area and nothing had been turned over to the airlines yet.

Apparently, at John Wayne airport, the bags are checked in first and then an American Airlines employee goes through the bags, confiscating what they don't like and refusing to return the property as it has already been passed through security.

I guess the lesson is that it is less of an airline policy and more of an airport policy, depending on which side of the security line that the bag is searched.

-PJ

103 posted on 06/08/2003 8:26:34 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's not safe yet to vote Democrat.)
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To: Rifleman
Don't be denser than you have to. A couple of lighters are not potential explosives. And they were empty. And they could have been mailed to the passenger if the stupid functionaries were not focused on our obedience rather than actual flight safety.

I don't object to the notion of American Airlines refusing to let the lighters on board. They may have appeared to be empty, but that doesn't necessarily mean they were. If e.g. the valve were defective, it would be possible for a lighter to appear empty and yet contain a significant quantity of butane. In the reduced-pressure environment of the cargo hold, this could have potentially bad consequences.

That being said, I see no reason the aircraft personnel should not have given the passenger his property and hold him he had to make alternative transportation arrangements for it and/or himself.

BTW, I'm assuming the lighters weren't constructed to have a removable gas reservoir. If they were designed to use removable gas cartridges, then I see no reason to prohibit them if no such cartridges were installed [nb: a very different case from having apparently-empty cartridges installed].

104 posted on 06/08/2003 8:32:33 PM PDT by supercat (TAG--you're it!)
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To: Political Junkie Too
Yes, if the TSA agent is willing to flick them all first. If it lights, then it is prohibited. If it doesn't, then it's a harmless piece of metal.

How do you tell the difference then between an empty lighter and a full lighter whose valve is stuck?

105 posted on 06/08/2003 8:37:37 PM PDT by supercat (TAG--you're it!)
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To: ml/nj
Why the hell does anyone fly anymore?
106 posted on 06/08/2003 8:38:34 PM PDT by Xenalyte (I may not agree with your bumper sticker, but I'll defend to the death your right to stick it)
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To: supercat
Why would a passenger check a lighter whose valve is stuck if he intended to use it at his destination? Also, don't they have little windows to see the fuel level?

-PJ

107 posted on 06/08/2003 9:09:23 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's not safe yet to vote Democrat.)
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To: Copernicus
The war on terrorism apparently means confiscating granny's nailclippers at the airport while we leave our borders wide open.
108 posted on 06/08/2003 9:15:53 PM PDT by Fraulein
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To: strela
Don't get all your fuzz in the air. You will notice I said nothing about anybody buying a Bic - only about those who presume to condemn this guy for buying his $150 lighter - a true conservative believes in the concept of letting people make their own choices.

That you somehow construe what I said as an attack on somebody who buys a Bic AND make the point that conservatives are intelligent - is hysterical!

The cost of the lighter was material to the article - one doesn't get excited about a $1.99 lighter. Your expectation that he, or anybody, would check with the airlines before every trip is ludicrous. The rules change daily, and the airport in question is particularly heavy-handed. Rules change from airport to airport, from day to day. Anybody who travels, as I do, 8 or 10 times a month is not going to make those calls. Reasonable people can reasonably expect the rules to be consistent and reasonable - in this case they were neither.

What comes out from your diatribes is your resentment of the fact that the guy spent that much money on a lighter - that kind of logic also wants to dictate that nobody should earn more than $X/year. Taking another's belongings for no good reason is wrong, regardless of the cost. To take expensive belongings without offering reasonable options to confiscation is wrong, needlessly punitive and horrible business - points that you are unable to grasp because of your fury at someone daring to own a $150 lighter.

I figured you would find yourself in my post without putting your name in the reply line - like a true conservative, I was right.
109 posted on 06/08/2003 9:25:31 PM PDT by GilesB
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To: ml/nj; Political Junkie Too
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.

That we missed this is ridiculous. Their story is that they use air transport to fly confiscated items out of area? It sounds to me that the supervisor is trying to blow of Mr. Murphy.

Sure the TSA spends money on security, and they spend money (supposedly) flying this stuff "somewhere" to be destroyed. If TSA acts like every other federal agency I know (except the Dept of Education), then they have to document nearly everything that is transposted and ensure that each item is destroyed. This is, after all, not much different than the local constabulary destroying confiscated items after trial. How much money do they spend on the paperwork, and the army of clerks to manage the data? Oh, I forgot, the TSA doesn't require any paperwork from the traveller that the property has been confiscated, or destroyed.

Anyone happen to know where this mythical el destructo place is that TSA uses (or at least John Wayne Airport), and whether they have an auction to try and recover the value of government property?

110 posted on 06/09/2003 7:28:53 AM PDT by texas booster (TAG - Tag Arbitration Group - we judge your lines!)
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To: texas booster
How is it that the lighter isn't safe to fly in the cargo hold of an American Airlines flight, but is safe to fly in the belly of a FedEx plane? I'll believe that a lighter can bring down a jet when a cell phone brings one down.

-PJ

111 posted on 06/09/2003 10:19:43 AM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's not safe yet to vote Democrat.)
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To: longtermmemmory
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.

I fly at least once every couple months, and have been carrying my zippo in my inside (biker) jacket pocket for years. No trouble so far, knock on wood. Not even last time when one of the security folks turned my jacket inside out, going through the line. Ol' boy poured out all the crap in my pockets, ran said jacket through the machine one more time, and handed it all back to me, zippo and all. Though I was sure he was gonna say something about that... I've heard about folks losing their lighters...

112 posted on 06/09/2003 10:24:38 AM PDT by maxwell (Well I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation...)
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To: ml/nj
A Screwdriver has helped take off the edge

I'm surprised they took the lighters and let him keep the screwdriver.

113 posted on 06/09/2003 10:30:52 AM PDT by paul51
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To: ml/nj
Seems strange that they didn't simply give him his lighters back outside the security area. Why couldn't he present a valid ID and have the luggage returned to him?
114 posted on 06/09/2003 10:39:20 AM PDT by NittanyLion
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To: ml/nj
Smoking does have negative consequences. har har.
115 posted on 06/09/2003 10:45:38 AM PDT by verity
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To: Political Junkie Too
I'm flying in a couple of weeks. Do you think it would be an offense to place a pair of plastic gloves or cellophane ones in my lugguage with a little note, "Please use these gloves prior to handling my underwear"?
116 posted on 06/09/2003 11:06:50 AM PDT by The Westerner
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To: Xenalyte
Probably because people don't have a lot of disposable time to drive across country.
117 posted on 06/09/2003 11:08:11 AM PDT by The Westerner
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To: Fraulein
The war on terrorism apparently means confiscating granny's nailclippers at the airport while we leave our borders wide open.

The War on Terrorism means blaming everyone except terrorists for Terrorism. Right out of the Clintigula Playbook.

Best regards,

118 posted on 06/09/2003 6:51:26 PM PDT by Copernicus (A Constitutional Republic revolves around Sovereign Citizens, not citizens around government.)
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To: strela
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) ...

I'm usually successful in resisting the perfectly normal urge to say it, but in this case...
You are a freepin' idiot!

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.
With a minimum of reading comprehension (no due diligence required at all) you might have noticed that the lighters were empty...
You know, as flammable as say... a $300 pair of socks.

119 posted on 06/09/2003 7:25:42 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Californians are as dumm as a sack of rocks)
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To: strela
Putting words in people's mouths and then ridiculing them?
Sorry. I apologize for my previous remarks.

I didn't realize that you were a kid.

120 posted on 06/09/2003 7:35:41 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Californians are as dumm as a sack of rocks)
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To: ml/nj
I hate to dispute but the average price of most "reasonable" DuPont lighters are $300 each and vintage and better far and above.
121 posted on 06/09/2003 7:41:54 PM PDT by MissL
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To: Publius6961
Uh, the posted rules as they were written made no distinction between empty and full lighters.

You really should look into taking some anger management classes, my FRiend.

122 posted on 06/10/2003 5:38:09 AM PDT by strela ("Have Word Processor, Will Travel" reads the card of a man ...)
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