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back to article Chewbacca held up by TSA stormtroopers for having light sabre

The hated stormtroopers of the US Transportation Security Administration earned themselves another little bit of public ire over the weekend, as they briefly held up the actor who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies over concerns that he was tooled up with a light-sabre. However it turned out that in fact brobdingnagian 7- …

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Meh

Re: Storm Troopers

At least the Storm Troopers were useful. They would guard and fight.

Not the description I'd have used for troops that can't hit a cow's arse with a banjo and seem to act as magnets for anything lethal coming the other way...

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Anonymous Coward

I don't know what's funnier

I don't know what's funnier,

That they stopped him,

Or

That they 'Didn't they know who he was!'

I suppose having played the Wookie and not having any lines except Aaaaaaaaaaargh in the film no one ever recognises him. That's a terrible situation for a celebrity to be in so by carrying the walking stick light sabre as a prop he can say with complete justification 'DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM!'

Maybe he should have carried a blaster and ammo belt instead.

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Bronze badge
Coat

Re: Storm Troopers

for those who do not live in the Land of the Free, they can mean even more serious trouble. (The TSA goons, not the stormtroopers).

Honestly speaking I did not have big trouble yet. Some french friends of mine got the "full trouble treatment" on entering Hawaii, however. They didn't really enjoy their vacation any more after that.

Firsthand I can say that I don't really understand their procedures. Up to now I could enter without too much hazzle. On the way out, however I always get the "S" printed on my boarding card. That "S" apparently means that you are singled out for a "special" security check before boarding. I am not sure, what they are hoping to find, as all other members of the group I was with, didn't get the "S" boarding card and there would have been ample time to hand over any items I didn't want them to find or check before we reached the security checkpoint.

Here's a tip for the TSA: If you single out people for a special check, don't tell them well before checking them and also don't check out always the same person in a group.

And one thing for all customs officers in the world - you are the first impression of your country, people will get. Please keep that in mind, before you destroy other peoples vacations. There is no second chance to make a first impression.

My coat please - yes, the one with "S" printed out all over.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Storm Troopers

"Some french friends of mine got the "full trouble treatment" on entering Hawaii..."

They were French so deserved it, the cheese eating surrender monkeys!!

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Silver badge

Re: Storm Troopers

This is why since 2003 we go to Canada instead to spend our tourist dollars.

Last time we went Canadian Immigration got really concerned with us...because we said we were going to Whistler.

Yes they were worried we would be disappointed because they had had no snow there.

Ahhh bless!

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Re: Storm Troopers

+1 for Canada.

Fantastic country and people (except Quebec).

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Bronze badge

Re: Storm Troopers

"Not the description I'd have used for troops that can't hit a cow's arse with a banjo"

Give the poor guys a break, they were ordered to let those rebels escape from the death star.

Something that is pointed out by Leia just before leading the empire to the 'secret' rebel base.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Storm Troopers

"Some french friends of mine got the "full trouble treatment" on entering Hawaii..."

"They were French so deserved it, the cheese eating surrender monkeys!!"

I got it for having the slightest whiff of fruit about my bag, having had a banana somewhere along my 20 hour trip. This was in baggage reclaim, before any signs warning you not to bring in any fruit - not that I had any on me by then. I should have known to stick with purely chemically manufactured artificial snack products. Then the queue I was put in for 'additional biological screening' was controlled by a moron who managed to make a closed loop out of the barrier ribbons. You would have to be clinically insane to volunteer to travel to that nation of gun-juggling burger-monkeys.

[Ref. scene in 'Wreck-it-Ralph' where he tries to bring some fruit from Pac-Man's maze back to the game hub].

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Boffin

Re: Storm Troopers

I suppose the age old question has still been left unanswered:

What would happen if a platoon of imperial stormtroopers attacked an away team of starfleet redshirts?

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Bronze badge

Re: Storm Troopers

And one thing for all customs officers in the world - you are the first impression of your country, people will get.

Really!

Do you honestly think most of them give a fuck?

Customs people are government bureaucrat types.

The TSA, must have been based on the Gestapo.

What are you going to do, take the next plane back home because you are pissed?? They don't care, you have already spent your money. You may not ever come back, but, at the moment you enter, you have already committed $$$ to the vacation, and they know it.

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Silver badge

Re: I don't really understand their procedures.

First thought: That's okay, we don't either.

Second thought: Actually it's pretty easy, you're just thinking about it the wrong way. It's not about actually making the planes safer. It's about making the people on the planes feel they are safer because of the theater put on before getting on the plane. Well that and getting more money to the unions to back Democrat candidates.

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FAIL

Re: Storm Troopers

And whomever designed their armour deserves to be fed to the Sarlacc and slowly digested over a thousand years. The trooper can't move, his field of vision is seriously impaired and it's worthless against even a hand blaster. You'd almost think it was made of cheap plastic.

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Silver badge

Re: Maybe he should have carried a blaster and ammo belt instead.

A bowcaster, surely?

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Coat

Re: Maybe he should have carried a blaster and ammo belt instead.

A bowcaster, surely?

"What's that? A hair dryer with a scope on it? Keep it moving. Don't hold up the line."

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Facepalm

I'm not seeing the problem

They spotted something that looked like a possible weapon, carried by someone who looked like he could use it with deadly efficiency. They pulled him aside - didn't steal anything, didn't land their Millenium Falcon in his exogorth - he was in and out in five minutes.

While I haven't had any firsthand experience with the TSA {and the horror stories I hear make me avoid transferring via US, damn the plane costs}, this looks like exactly the kind of thing they - and any airport security, for that matter - is obligated to do. Keep eyes open, identify possible threats, investigate quickly, politely and professionally and if no threat exists, thank the passenger for their time and send them on their way.

Authority abuse is apparently commonplace in the TSA, but the knee-jerk reaction to jump down their throats whenever they do anything is counterproductive, IMO.

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Re: I'm not seeing the problem

People who genuinely need a stick to walk with (rather than just carry one for image reasons) tend to walk a bit differently from most e.g. leaning a bit on the stick, walking stooped over or limping. These factors sort of counter the "deadly efficiency" view you're suggesting.

ANY walking stick can be used as a weapon, and illicit items can be carried inside a modified walking stick - does this mean every person carrying one needs to have "special" attention by the TSA?

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FAIL

Re: I'm not seeing the problem

Such a walk can be artificially affected - and the article points out that the reason Mayhew was pulled aside because the cane was noticeably heavier than they tend to be - hence the presumed checking for said illicit items.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm not seeing the problem

He had a heavy walking stick carved to look like a lightsaber. You think airport security SHOULDN'T check that out, because you think he might have been walking with a limp? That makes no sense.

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Paris Hilton

Re: I'm not seeing the problem

What's a non-Jedi doing with a lightsabre anyway?

To be fair, trying to board a plane carrying a replica weapon, even a fictional one, is not the brightest of things to do nowadays - particularly in the USA.

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Holmes

Re: I'm not seeing the problem

perhaps they were looking for droids?

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Silver badge

Re: I'm not seeing the problem

He is OVER 7 FEET TALL! Of course his cane is going to be heavier than a normal specimen. Just like a small persons cane would be lighter than average.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm not seeing the problem

Yes, he's a seven foot tall man carrying what looks like a heavy wooden sword onto a plane.

You don't see why security might want to check that out. Really. You don't get that.

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FAIL

Re: I'm not seeing the problem

"Yes, he's a seven foot tall man carrying what looks like a heavy wooden sword onto a plane.

"You don't see why security might want to check that out. Really. You don't get that."

In the first place, that remark is blatantly sizeist. Count yourself lucky not to be reported to the Discrimination Police.

Moreover, a "light saber" doesn't actually look like a sword at all. You really should get out more.

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Re: I'm not seeing the problem

Corrine wrote:

People who genuinely need a stick to walk with (rather than just carry one for image reasons) tend to walk a bit differently from most e.g. leaning a bit on the stick, walking stooped over or limping. These factors sort of counter the "deadly efficiency" view you're suggesting.

Not seen Yoda fight then?

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And this was the point...

...that Chewie regretted not paying attention when Luke was prattling on about Jedi mind tricks.

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"No social media played a role..."

But a Jedi in the queue did - "this is not the light-saberstick you are looking for"...

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wookie

Beat me to it lol

this is not the wookie you are looking for

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Silver badge

Have you seen what a light sabre can do?!

They were right to pull him in for checks and questioning.

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Happy

My advice...

...let the wookie win...

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Happy

Of course he did have the option...

...to use the real 'Chewbacca defense'...

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Megaphone

Only recently had my first experience with the "dreaded" TSA.

Yes they are a bit draconian

Yes they almost made me miss my connecting flight (luckily it was delayed)

Yes they were a bit rude and officious.

Am I that bothered? No, because the UK Border Agency is almost as bad!!!

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"because the UK Border Agency is almost as bad!!!"

Certainly not, unless you are wearing a wrong type of shoes, of course.

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Stop

I have *never* been stopped by UK border. TSA on the otherhand just love to queue up the british for "S" treatment.

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I get pestered shittily every time I go to the UK. They suck just as bad as the TSA (minus the stealing your stuff bit) but they don't tend to gang up on you/surround you like hyenas like the TSA, which is nice.

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Last time I came back in to the UK, I didn't even have to interact with UK border agency personnel, just one of their robotic friends.

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Silver badge

Last time I flew back from the US (including an internal flight) I didn't even have a passport (it was lost/stolen).

It was almost comedy... "ID?" "I don't have any, I have lost my passport and am flying home" Oh, carry on then.

Landing home in the UK "ID?" "I lost it, but am a UK citizen" "OK, fill in this form" (form filled in - basically, name and address) "OK, welcome back to the UK"

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Bronze badge

Or a t-shirt with a picture of Optimus Prime on it...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2065320/Airport-staff-stop-passenger-boarding-for-wearing-Transformers-T-shirt.html

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Trollface

The TSA caught a terrorist!

Did you not see those films where he was part of the insurgents who attacked the defensive armies of the imperium?

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Re: The TSA caught a terrorist!

Soul Plane 2 - The Blackjacking?

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Anonymous Coward

Y-A-W-N

Delayed a whole 10 minutes while they inspected his 6" long cane. This is your typical big deal non-news story over nothing.

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FAIL

Re: Y-A-W-N

"Delayed a whole 10 minutes while they inspected his 6" long cane".

A six-inch cane would be of very little use even to an altitudinally-challenged individual.

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How illiterate

"hated storm troopers" my a$$. What ignorance. I hope the clueless are onboard the next flight that is blown up or crashed. Hating people for protecting your a$$ is a very dumb thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How illiterate

The only 'a$$ protection' they seem to manage is in the form of a blue surgical glove.

And you just have to take it on faith that it's a fresh one.

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Re: How illiterate

Protecting my a$$!!! The fact they found someone stupid enough to sit next to a x-ray machine for 12 hours a shift proves in itself they are not the best and brightest America has to offer.

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Anonymous Coward

"even so, TSA operatives in Denver..."

Denver. Makes sense. When I go through other airport check-ins, I have no problem. "What do you have in your pockets?" "Nothing, but my body piercings WILL set off your sensors!"

:scan, hand wand:

"You're OK. Have a nice day"

Denver? Pulled over and they seem in full panic mode. "I'll strip nude..." "No! No need for that sir! We'll just get a supervisor..." As if Denver is the hot-spot of infiltration!

I've got about 130g or so of metalwork on my body and in Denver I had TWO TSA guys checking on me. I need to wear my 'batsuit' more often in airports - a skin-tight neoprene suit can't hide much, so they seem to worry less.

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Terminator

Should be fun when the Missus goes through the detector then, her "piercings" are 11 screws and 2 plates holding the shrapnel of a bad TPF together.

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Perspective goes both ways.

I can see the need to stop major threats and he was only held up for 10 minutes or so, but I thought it was something huge. It just seems to be scaled up for a 7 footer. -- I'd post a link to a pic, seems not trusted enough yet, easy to find anyway

Personally, I just think the TSA guys just wanted an excuse to have a look; it is pretty impressive.

By the way, have to love the dangerous threat stuff. He is 7 foot 3 and all, but also is almost 70.

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Silver badge

Re: but also is almost 70.

Remember: Wormtongue always regretted he was not able to keep Gandalf from bringing his walking stick into the court chambers.

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Wait, is 'Mrauuun' supposed to be a phonetic transcription of the sounds wookiees make?

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