Busted for Bringing Cupcakes and Bagels Through TSA Checkpoints?
Among the latest revelations from passenger confrontations with the TSA: You can't bring a tub of cream cheese through a checkpoint. Spread it on bagels, though, and there's no problem.
Snow globes and holiday sweaters are on the strange list of items that could possibly get you held up at airport security. Liquids and gels are also no good, and have been banned for quite some time now.
As many travelers are aware, though, the rules for what is and isn't OK are often confounding, especially because enforcement of the rules seems so haphazard. The Freakonomics blog highlighted a recent head–scratcher of a situation, in which a flier tried to pass through security at the Milwaukee airport with a package of bagels, lox, and cream cheese to bring home. The bagels and lox were OK, but the cream cheese was a no–no because of it was gel–like and held in its own container.
Apparently, the TSA agents considered the cream cheese potential dangerous. But they didn't confiscate it. Instead, they offered an interesting solution, in which the woman could still bring the cream cheese through security:
They agreed that it would be okay, and she could bring it on board, if the cream cheese was spread on the bagels.
Salon.com's Patrick Smith, meanwhile, followed up on a recent situation in which TSA agents in Texas wouldn't allow a passenger's cupcake through security because the heaping of frosting was too big and "gel–like." When Smith asked the TSA about what happened, a spokesperson told him, "In general, cakes and pies are allowed in carry–on luggage."
Well, that clears that up. It's as clear as cream cheese.
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By charging passengers fees for carry-on bags, Spirit Airlines rakes in a whopping $50 million annually. When we first reported the news that Spirit Airlines would charge for carry-ons, readers unleashed their outrage in the comments section. One example: This is just another reason not to fly this airline, which is the worst I've ever seen in terms of nickel and diming customers. They charge for water, assigned seats, checked luggage and now carry ons. Their prices may look cheaper than other airlines on the surface, but add in all these costs, and they're no longer such a budget option. Now, a little over a year later, the consulting firm IdeaWorks has published a study analyzing the effects of Spirit's decision to charge for carry-on bags. Travelers may have hoped Spirit's a la carte, charge-for-everything business model would prove to be a failure, but actually, just the opposite is true. In the 12-month period after Spirit introduced its carry-on fees, 24.5 percent more passengers flew with the carrier. It's estimated that roughly 20 percent of Spirit's passengers elect to pay the carry-on baggage fee, which ranges from $20 to $45 per bag. When added up, the fees generate some $50 million per year for the airline. Spirit has drawn plenty of heat for its checked-baggage fees. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the fees "a slap in the face to travelers," and convinced several airlines to refuse to follow Spirit's lead. More recently, a bill has been introduced that would force all airlines flying in the U.S. to allow one carry-on and one checked bag free of charge for all passengers. It's up in the air whether the bill will ever become law. One thing looks fairly certain, though: Based on how lucrative Spirit's fee structure seems to be, the airline isn't going to stop nickel and diming customers anytime soon. Not unless it's forced to stop, that is. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: Introducing the $450 Checked Baggage Fee What's the Strangest Travel Fee You've Encountered? DOT Secretary on Spirit Air: 'I don't think they care about their customers
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