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

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

Old Aug 6, 13, 3:47 pm
  #1  
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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://www.dropbox.com/sh/sfhwmwy9hadyb0p/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://www.dropbox.com/sh/09q2krikyyufx75/RVrOxSqMcl

I have complained on tsa.gov. Let's see what there response will be...
azmanam is offline  
Old Aug 6, 13, 5:01 pm
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This isn't a TSA story, but it's sort of related.

Years ago on a multi-leg trip, my luggage was lost three times. It never caught up with me. I had this image of my sets of luggage strung like pearls on a string following me around the world
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Old Aug 6, 13, 5:14 pm
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Originally Posted by Darkumbra View Post
This isn't a TSA story, but it's sort of related.

Years ago on a multi-leg trip, my luggage was lost three times. It never caught up with me. I had this image of my sets of luggage strung like pearls on a string following me around the world
My luggage got lost and was delivered to my house just as I was about to go on another trip. It was then lost again. The same delivery woman ended up at my house 3 hours from airport with the same bag twice in 3 days. She took it well.
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Old Aug 6, 13, 7:26 pm
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You can "expect" TSA to reimburse you. or the tubes they ruined, but don't hold your breath.

Oh, by the way - the probable reason those morons had to open the tubes for inspection is that masses of paper show up solid on x-ray scans and have a density similar to C4.

Of course, there is no reason for them to destroy your property to examine the interior, but hey, they just don't care.
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Old Aug 6, 13, 7:53 pm
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Fedex next time. They are going to keep destroying them on you.
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Old Aug 6, 13, 8:07 pm
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Originally Posted by cordelli View Post
Fedex next time. They are going to keep destroying them on you.
+1 - Cheaper, easier & more reliable. How many more times before OP figures out that checking poster tubes doesn't work?

He can "expect" what he wants to expect, but Santa Claus is more likely to come down the chimney than he receives reimbursement.
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Old Aug 6, 13, 9:44 pm
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My suggest besides filing a claim for both tubes is to visit the IND airport and ask for the FSD and show them both tubes. Ask for the inspection tapes to be pulled. Next ask him to do the same via his colleague in SJC. I would do it post hast.

FWIW I had the TSA cut open a cardboard box and when I filed a claim I added the cost of the box to my claim.
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Old Aug 6, 13, 10:22 pm
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This definitely sucks, and I can offer no advice on reparations (besides the likelihood that TSA won't care). But... next time, if you are willing to do so, I recommend carrying the poster tube on the plane, NOT checking it. Almost every airline will let you take a poster tube as carry-on, even though it does technically violate the linear measurement restriction. I've never received any admonitions from the airline (United, in my case) when carrying on a poster tube, which I've done my fair share of times. (These days I'm just too lazy and I make PowerPoint 8.5x11 "montage" posters... much easier to carry on, though a big hassle to actually put up. I feel somewhat ashamed for not caring about how visually attractive my poster is, but I'm saving my grant $120+ each time and saving myself the hassle of a poster tube, so I've learned to live with my shame.)
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Old Aug 7, 13, 7:54 am
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Originally Posted by cepheid View Post
I recommend carrying the poster tube on the plane, NOT checking it.
+1

It is going to make your life a lot less stressful. In that case, if they want to look inside, you can guide them.
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Old Aug 7, 13, 8:45 am
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Every time I have taken my fishing rods as checked bags they open the travel tubes, pull out everything and do their best to put it all back incorrectly. I have had broken tippets twice and also a broken tube which could have been the TSA or the UA baggage folks but UA has a disclaimer on reimbursements for damaged sports related cargo.
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Old Aug 7, 13, 9:39 am
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It's better to carry the tube on board or ship it, but checking it is no excuse for TSA or baggage employees destroying it.
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Old Aug 7, 13, 12:40 pm
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Originally Posted by cordelli View Post
Fedex next time. They are going to keep destroying them on you.
Sending the poster electronically and having it printed locally may be cheaper than Fedex, depending on the size/quality of print and how far it has to travel.
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Old Aug 7, 13, 2:20 pm
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Good luck with filing a claim... I've seen the forms.

They make it difficult to discourage filing a claim.

I'd be upset to. It does not surprise me this kind of
stuff happens given all the stuff they have to inspect.
At some point they lose patience and take the route
of least resistance and are sloppy with reassembly.

They inspected my bag the last time and left it in
a mess that I needed to sort out.
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Old Aug 7, 13, 7:30 pm
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How much is a poster tube worth these days?
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Old Aug 7, 13, 7:39 pm
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Originally Posted by jphripjah View Post
How much is a poster tube worth these days?
Depends where you buy it and exact quality, but $20-$40 for the type the OP had ruined. FWIW, I have the same type of tube (also good for fishing rods), and I don't understand how stupid one would have to be to not be able to figure out that the top screws off (and back on).

Seriously. I can pretty much guarantee that if you gave one to a pre-school class of four-year-olds, they'd have it open in a jiffy.

But then I've had a 'TSA-approved' lock cut off an unlocked bag - the bag wasn't locked, I just left the lock on the zipper pull so I wouldn't lose it. The lock (and pull) were cut off and the 'love note' left inside. (It was a snowboard bag with a - gasp! - snowboard inside). I think the TSOs were just routinely cutting locks off any locked bag to look inside, not even making sure that they were cutting just the lock and not the zipper pull - or if the bag was even locked.
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