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TSA Admits Coke Bottles Shaped Like Fictional Weapons Aren’t a Threat, Will Allow Them on Planes

He’s holding a thermal detonator, and that’s perfectly fine.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has decided that novelty Coke bottles shaped like bombs from Star Wars films are not actually a threat to American travelers. After banning the bottles (which are being sold in Disney theme parks) last week, the TSA on Wednesday reversed course and now says travelers will be able to fly with them in checked or carry-on luggage, so long as the bottles are empty.

“We have completed our review, and instructed our officers to treat these as an oversized liquid,” the TSA said in a statement released Wednesday. It took the TSA multiple weeks to complete that review and conclude that Coke bottles are not a tool of terrorism.

The saga began with an innocent request posted to the TSA’s “AskTSA” Twitter account on August 13.

When a reporter from the Orange County Register asked the TSA if they were serious about banning the novelty bottles even in checked bags, TSA spokesperson Jim Gregory said the agency was worried the novelty bottles “could create concern that it’s the real thing.”

The TSA then doubled down as more people expressed incredulity.

“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,” the TSA said in a statement last week.

By that point, pretty much everyone was having a good laugh at the agency. As I pointed out last week, the idea that a Coke bottle shaped like a fictional bomb could scare people into thinking it’s a real “thermal detonator” is absurd, largely because only serious Star Wars fans would even recognize what the bottle is supposed to mimic. Rather than being a common weapon in the Star Wars universe, the thermal detonator is a minor plot device—a disguised Princess Leia threatens Jabba The Hutt with one in 1983’s Return of the Jedi.

But the TSA has a longstanding policy of allowing travelers to bring lightsabers onto planes, because plastic replicas of fictional weapons aren’t a threat to anyone—except, apparently, when they are.

The TSA’s policy change means one less security theater-induced headache for Americans returning home from Disneyworld. But the temporary ban on “thermal detonators” is just one item on a long list of arbitrary prohibitions declared by a federal bureaucracy that only a Hutt could love.


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About The Author

Eric Boehm

Founded in 1968, Reason is the magazine of free minds and free markets. We produce hard-hitting independent journalism on civil liberties, politics, technology, culture, policy, and commerce. Reason exists outside of the left/right echo chamber. Our goal is to deliver fresh, unbiased information and insights to our readers, viewers, and listeners every day. Visit

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