Star Wars nerds and novelty drink collectors can now unclench: the Transportation Security Administration has reversed its decision to ban the “thermal detonator”-shaped bottles of Coke and Sprite that Coca-Cola created for Disneyland’s and Disney World’s newly opened “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” theme park sections.
The TSA’s original stance on the spherical souvenir drinks was that they would not be allowed in either checked or carry-on baggage — effectively preventing travelers from flying with them at all in the U.S. — due to the bottles’ resemblance to explosives. “Replica items are not allowed on aircraft,” a TSA spokesperson told the Orange Country Register, adding that the bottles could cause confusion for TSA screeners at airport security checkpoints, and “could create concern that it’s the real thing.”
Thanks for asking! Replica and inert explosives aren't allowed in either carry-on or checked bags.— AskTSA (@AskTSA) August 13, 2019
The decision was widely mocked, with responses ranging from disbelief to outrage to wholesale mockery of the TSA.
Can I travel with this packet of replica santa grenades in december? pic.twitter.com/09VZOn7Bfv— The Hopfot (@Hopfot) August 28, 2019
If a TSA agent genuinely believes that these bottles could be real explosives (or that they are replicas of real explosives), is that agent truly competent enough for us to trust them to help keep our airports and planes safe?— Chris (@ThatVyrusGuy) August 28, 2019
Faced with such brutal ridicule, the TSA revised its ruling, publishing in a statement on August 28:
The issue concerning Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge-themed soda bottles has recently been brought to our attention by the general public, as these items could reasonably be seen by some as replica hand grenades. We appreciate the concerns being raised, because replica explosives are not permitted in either carry-on or checked bags. We have completed our review, and instructed our officers to treat these as an oversized liquid. Because these bottles contain liquids larger than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters), they should be put in checked baggage or emptied to be brought on as carry-on item. TSA officers will maintain the discretion to prohibit any item through the screening checkpoint if they believe it poses a security threat.
It speaks to both the TSA’s inconsistency and the sheer power of a corporate titan like Disney that all it takes is the whining of a small number of fans to force a government agency — one that has detained passengers based on factors ranging from race to whistling; that confiscates slightly-too-big shampoo bottles; that evacuates entire airports in response to (admittedly moronic) bomb jokes — to allow a vaguely grenade-shaped device onto a plane. Yes, the TSA is largely security theater, but could it at least try a little harder to pretend that its policies make sense and are enforced consistently across the board? Otherwise, when in doubt, just slap a Disney logo on an item and say it came from Disneyland — that should be enough to scoot past the security checkpoint.