Thank you, TSA, for saving us from those dangerous snow globes, gel inserts and printer cartridges

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By Christopher Elliott

True to form, the TSA has overreacted yet again to a minor security threat by banning printer cartridges. Printer cartridges!

The government also banned cargo aircraft from Somalia and Yemen — which would have been a prudent move, if there were any cargo aircraft from Somalia and Yemen.

Have you taken a look at the list of banned items lately? It sure is getting long.

Some items definitely belong on it, like dynamite, flares and grenades. No one is arguing with those.

But others are so preposterous, so laughable, you can hardly believe they’re there.

Like shoe inserts. Yes, kids, gel inserts. Better leave those Dr. Scholl’s at home or check them in.

Snow globes, too. When is the last time you heard of a snow globe blowing up a plane?

Non-flammable paint? Ooh, sounds dangerous.

What does the TSA have to say for itself? Nothing, really. A search of its site shows only vague explanations for the dangers of gels and snow globes. (Apparently, its well-trained officers can’t tell the difference between a globe and a grenade. And gels? Don’t even get me started.)

Southwest Airlines is dedicated to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to providing our employees with a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Will the latest ban on printer cartridges affect anyone? Unless you sell printer cartridges, probably not.

But still, parts of this list makes the agency look so reactionary and silly, especially when it fails to explain exactly why the bans are in place.

TSA could easily fix this by annotating its list. Adding a link to each item, along with a clear explanation for why it is banned, would go a long way to restoring its lost credibility. (Here’s how to handle the TSA when you travel.)

But we knew that would happen, didn’t we? At least they aren’t forcing us through those strip-search machines — yet.

I know. I’m not holding my breath.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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