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Customer Discussions > Kindle forum

Kindle and airport security

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Showing 1-25 of 105 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 10, 2012, 10:44:59 AM PDT
A. Boan says:
An open letter to Kindle


I have an issue with my Kindle that I was unable to resolve by calling customer service. The gentleman was very nice and helpful, but unfortunately because my Kindle is slightly out of warranty, he was unable to do anything except offer me a replacement at half of the cost of my Kindle ($65).
I am positive that my issue - lines all over my display - is due to taking the Kindle through airport security. It was fine just before I went into security, I placed it in the middle pocket of my purse (with no pressure on it - I carry it there all the time) and when I took it out after going through security, the screen was unreadable. There were no liquids, pressure, or temperature changes. The only event was going through airport security. I have gone through security several times (as have many people) with no problems. However, upon researching the issue on the internet, I find many anecdotal claims of the same issue happening after going through security.
I believe that this is an issue specific to Kindle, because I was unable to find any accounts of this event happening with a Nook. Your own customer service agent told me that some users have reported the same issue. The problem, as I see it, is that your e-ink technology is not fully capable of being screened by airport x-rays. However, you have denied this as an official problem and therefore no one knows to be wary of taking a Kindle through security. Interestingly, I read one article that claims that Kindle replaces e-readers that have been damaged this way. However, the article says nothing about warranty or no warranty in regard to the replacement. (
I have been a loyal Kindle user. I teach English, and I have even convinced several of my students and colleagues to buy Kindles even after they claimed they would only read physical books. I would love to continue to be a Kindle user, and after I weigh my options (spending almost as much as a new Kindle basic costs today to replace the one I paid $119 for just over a year ago, or simply spend a little more and upgrade to a Kindle with more features, or buy a Nook), I am sure I will probably buy some type of Kindle. It just would have been nice to know when I bought it that security checks might be a risk. It would also have been nice to make my original decision to purchase knowing it would only last just over a year.
I write to you to ask you to get the word out that Kindles MIGHT not make it through security. Please acknowledge that users have experienced this problem in an official way (before people buy your product). That way we can make the choice to leave them at home and avoid the risk. Or, please work on making your e-ink technology in a way that prevents this problem. This is a very disappointing experience to say the least. I know your company always makes good on problems, so please address this issue in a similar manner so that your loyal customers can feel good about their purchases.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012, 10:53:32 AM PDT
Just Peachy says:
First, we are customers, not Amazon.
Next, the Kindle they are offering you for $65 has many more features than the $79 basic Kindle. It is the e-ink model with the most features (except 3G) so I don't know what you think you will be getting paying more and "upgrading".

The problem you describe is due to pressure on the screen. The equipment in the airport security could not have done that type of damage.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012, 11:00:09 AM PDT
Dragi Raos says:
Thank you for sharing. I would also send this to

Let me add several comments of my own:

- Millions of Kindles have been sold, and people travel with them, going through airport security daily; it is true that there have been anecdotal reports similar to yours, but very rare.

- Kindle and Nook have exactly the same screen, manufactured by the manufacturer that makes only one 6" e-ink model. Presumably, driving electronics is different, and cases certainly are.

- Knowing the technology (and being a physicist by training), I am at loss to explain how would x-rays possibly affect an e-ink screen. It would be imaginable that vastly higher doses would damage electronics driving it. However, physical mishandling (like applying torsion to the casing) could easily be the culprit.

- If I were an Amazonian, I would try to investigate these reports thoroughly and report publicly what damaged returned Kindles. However, Amazon is usually reluctant to go public with their defect investigations until they have a fix ready.

Posted on Jun 10, 2012, 11:00:44 AM PDT
What Peachy said... Sometimes electronics just go bad. I don't see how scanning a kindle at the airport would cause this. I can't imagine flying without taking my kindle with me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012, 11:07:38 AM PDT
I'm sorry this happened to you BUT there have been too many threads, here on this forum, where people have documented that they have traveled with their Kindles through security weekly (or more often) for years with no issues. To me that means that somewhere/somehow, something put pressure on the screen.

Being in the middle pocket of your purse, may mean that somehow the purse was tilted in a different manner than normal so pressure was put on the Kindle or the Kindles was twisted in some way.

I'm not saying it happened, but I have seen where someone, not looking, put something in my tray while going through security. Obviously, they immediately realized a mistake was made and removed the item. It happens.

As documented many times, the Xrays used during scanning is so low, that it wouldn't affect electronic devices - be them eink devices or otherwise.

In my opinion, the fact that Amazon is offering a replacement Kindle at a reduced price when your Kindle is out of warranty is a sign that they DO stand behind their products. Most places wouldn't offer that.

Posted on Jun 10, 2012, 11:23:11 AM PDT
I'm one of those people who has been through airport security many times with my Kindle and never had a problem. And as also mentioned before those lines in the screen only happen as a result of pressure being put on the screen. Let me also mention that I have seen in airport security people do things with their purses something they would never do in day to day life. You put your purse in one of those plastic bins and pile other possessions on top of it. A carry on bag, something that belongs to your child. It doesn't matter what it is, things get piled up in those bins. It doesn't even have to be something heavy because people will usually just toss their shoes in the bin, not carefully place them in.

So no. The x-rays and metal detectors can in no way damage the kindle. The lines mean pressure damaged it. Always make sure your kindle is placed on the top of the pile, not the bottom or somewhere in the middle. I always put it in the bin with my laptop.

Posted on Jun 10, 2012, 7:34:08 PM PDT
My kindle got the lines of death when I threw it at a wall and it bounced off. An accident. I was talking with my hands and it flew out of my hands and hit the wall with cover closed. That same day one of my kids on the bus grabbed it off my seat and tossed it on the floor. Probably got stepped on. The mother of the child was lucky. It was still covered so it got replaced. Or she would have been shelling out big bucks. (It was working after the wall but not after the kid tossed it on the floor. He was four and if I had my way he would have been spanked.)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012, 7:43:46 PM PDT
My Kindle has been going through airport security for years with no problems. Sometimes it is in a tote, my handbag or one of the security bins. I am talking about multiple security checks in one day, and occasionally as many as 8 in a week. Security checks IMO are not a risk.

Posted on Jun 11, 2012, 3:40:10 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2012, 3:40:36 AM PDT
I've also taken my Kindles (all models) through airport security many times without problems and, if I were you, I wouldn't let your experience deter me from buying another. Personally, I wouldn't consider a Nook but this isn't the place for me to comment on their product and that's a decision for you to make. I'll stick with Amazon because they've earned my loyality through the outstanding customer service I've always received from them.

As to upgrading to a new model with more features, that depends on your use and preferences. I've owned or used every model of Kindle, from the K1 through the Fire, and presently have a KK WiFi/3G and a Kindle Basic. As an ebook reader, I prefer the Kindle Basic to all other models due to its smaller size and lighter weight and find that I seldom need either 3G or a keyboard. I use calibre to manage my ebook library and always buy and download my ebooks on my pc, storing them in my calibre library. I have about a thousand books in my library and can't imagine managing them without a program like calibre. The only books I keep on my device are the ones I'm currently reading and the next few I plan to read, usually less than 10 to 20 books.

I almost never use my Fire to read ebooks because I don't like the LCD display for reading and don't like the onscreen page turns. Likewise, I don't like the Touch because the onscreen page turns are too slow. I'm a very fast reader and physical page turn buttons are an absolutely essential feature for me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2012, 4:59:08 PM PDT
A. Boan says:
Wrong. No pressure on my kindle between working and not working. By upgrade, I meant spend a little more dough to get Kindle Fire. What happened to customer is always right?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2012, 5:03:33 PM PDT
A. Boan says:
No pile. They made us use different bins for different items, so nothing else was in there. I have travelled with it before through security with no problem. I'm not sure why you all are insisting the was undue force applied. It was only out of my sight while in the scanner. I just don't see another explanation. Tough crowd, I guess.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2012, 5:26:02 PM PDT
R. Acoya says:
A. Boan says, "What happened to customer is always right?"

The customer is not always right.

If you have ever worked in a service industry, you would have first-hand knowledge of this.

Amazon offered a discount on a replacement unit, for your device that, in your words, is out of warranty. If my car, for example, or my refrigerator, broke after its warranty expired, would I expect a brand-new one for free or at a discount? Of course not! I'd suck it up, and learn the lesson that sometimes extended warranties are worth the purchase price.

That being said, I'm sorry your Kindle is broken. I travel for a living, and cannot imagine being in my hotel room without my Kindle Keyboard or my Kindle Fire.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2012, 5:34:42 PM PDT
How about an experienced crowd.
It does not take a lot of force just the right kind of torque.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2012, 5:51:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 22, 2012, 5:52:45 PM PDT
Jazzy_Jeff says:
A. Boan says: What happened to customer is always right?

That is just a myth. Customers are only right when they are right and not when they are wrong...right?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2012, 5:58:14 PM PDT
Jazzy_Jeff says:
You do realize that ALL the e-ink screens are the same don't you? They all come from one company and are ALL used on the e-ink readers. So saying that Amazons technology is flawed is just plain hogwash. The lines in the screen means that screen has taken damage. Nothing the Kindle could do would cause that. It was an outside source.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2012, 5:59:09 PM PDT
Here's a thought: It happened BEFORE you put it in the bin in the security line.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2012, 6:00:04 PM PDT
Jazzy_Jeff says:
You think they would ever admit to that even being a possibility?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2012, 6:01:06 PM PDT
Why would they? When it's so much easier to blame Amazon, why accept responsibility for one's own actions?

Posted on Jun 22, 2012, 7:37:31 PM PDT
This has been going around the Internet for years and never been proven. The TSA claims that the x-ray cannot damage a kindle and says that a traveler actually is exposed to more x-rays on the flight itself than a device receives from the security x-ray machine. (Of course, our government would never be wrong nor purposely deceive us!)

I remain skeptical about these sorts of claims until there is a scientific study linking x-rays to e-ink screen failures.

Personally, my K2 has been through airport security at least a hundred times and is still going strong.

Posted on Jul 18, 2012, 9:58:23 AM PDT
Cyberphobia says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2012, 10:01:31 AM PDT
JimmyTheD says:
I doubt your nebulous "consumer affairs" is going to be much help.

How many of the articles and posts that you found on the web duplicate each other?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2012, 10:05:02 AM PDT
Your name is spot on.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2012, 10:10:10 AM PDT
Dragi Raos says:
"The TSA claims that the x-ray cannot damage a kindle and says that a traveler actually is exposed to more x-rays on the flight itself than a device receives from the security x-ray machine."

This (both) is almost certainly true.

"I remain skeptical about these sorts of claims until there is a scientific study linking x-rays to e-ink screen failures."

Or at least a single unambiguous demonstration (at energies and doses used in airport scanners).

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2012, 10:13:59 AM PDT
Dragi Raos says:
If you paid additional ~$40 for extended warranty and accident protection, you would get the replacement free, even it you stepped on your device.

You don't seem to be quite familiar with the concepts of warranty, mean time between failure, distribution of rare events in large populations etc...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2012, 10:15:09 AM PDT
JimmyTheD says:
OOooo statistics are fun!
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This discussion

Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  27
Total posts:  105
Initial post:  Jun 10, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 29, 2012

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