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[Otakon News]Notice: Addition of Bag Inspection

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OtakonNews    15

At the recommendation of the venue, Otakon 2017 will require bag inspections upon entering the convention space at the Mt Vernon Place doors of the Walter E Washington Convention Center and the M1 level of the Marriott Marquis. We apologize for any inconvenience or disruption this may cause. The bag inspections will be conducted by a third party contractor, and we are working with them to streamline the process as much as possible. You can help by keeping your bag organized and accessible, and by making sure you are not bringing in anything you are not supposed to (our list of restricted policies can be found on our website at otakon.com/info/general-policies). If you have any questions about the new procedures, you can contact our Access Control team at help.otakon.com.
 

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Aresef    43

Frankly, I'm surprised it took so long.

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CocoFaerie    26

So it sounds like they're following what other like-sized cons are doing.  Hopefully this won't cause additional volume.  BTW, are there going to be separate lanes for those who have their badges versus those registering??

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Ah geez, not this garbage again... Get ready for ridiculously long lines that don't actually make anyone safer.

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onsenmark    78

Well, gee. I guess this means I can't bring my bento in with me and have lunch at the con, then. 9__9

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onsenmark    78
2 minutes ago, Hainiryuun said:

Not surprising but disappointing to hear, nonetheless. Get to look forward to waiting in even more lines.

Calling it now:

"LineCon 2017: IT GOT WORSE".

(i hope i'm wrong, though)

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CocoFaerie    26
9 minutes ago, onsenmark said:

Well, gee. I guess this means I can't bring my bento in with me and have lunch at the con, then. 9__9

I wouldn't get too sappy right now.  AFAIK, you should still be okay with that.  It's dangerous weapons they're looking out for the most, and I haven't heard anything that prohibits food & drink.

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onsenmark    78
Just now, CocoFaerie said:

I wouldn't get too sappy right now.  AFAIK, you should still be okay with that.  It's dangerous weapons they're looking out for the most, and I haven't heard anything that prohibits food & drink.

I remember reading something that said it was basically against the venue's rules to bring in outside food, but I can't remember where I read it exactly.

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TnAdct1    17

...and Otakon's D.C. debut gets more disappointing as a result of this news.

Quite honestly, Otakon needs to make sure that they have plenty of "bag check" stations in place for Friday and Saturday morning, with it being completed in a reasonable amount of time. After all, given the disaster that was Day 1 of Anime Expo, the last thing anyone wants is a repeat of that.

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CocoFaerie    26
9 minutes ago, TnAdct1 said:

...and Otakon's D.C. debut gets more disappointing as a result of this news.

Quite honestly, Otakon needs to make sure that they have plenty of "bag check" stations in place for Friday and Saturday morning, with it being completed in a reasonable amount of time. After all, given the disaster that was Day 1 of Anime Expo, the last thing anyone wants is a repeat of that.

I was waiting for someone to refer to this.  Actually, all three of the major SoCal cons had massive line issues, and a valuable lesson can be learned from the D23 Expo.  They had 25 security stations, but only 5 were running during the early parts of that con!  Something more to think about.

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TnAdct1    17
1 hour ago, CocoFaerie said:

I was waiting for someone to refer to this.  Actually, all three of the major SoCal cons had massive line issues, and a valuable lesson can be learned from the D23 Expo.  They had 25 security stations, but only 5 were running during the early parts of that con!  Something more to think about.

At the same time, all three of them had way more attendees than Otakon at its peak.

Hopefully, Otakon's bag inspection process will not be a long, tedious process like those cons.

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wackedkid47    1

Oh this reminds me of RTX Austin (Rooster Teeth's Con) 2017 on Friday all over again. Getting my badge was fine, I only waited an hour. Some other people that got there late? Took them hours and some Friday badge holders didn't get to go to the con. But the line to get on the show floor was stupid long due to only having two metal detectors. What was worse was, VIP had their own entrances but it wasn't being used as much. Plus the line was clogging up the hallways. Luckily, Saturday was much much better as they put the line in a whole room and they put six metal detectors. I'm hoping Otakon doesn't have the same fate! 

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Maydog    19

It is going to be an extreme challenge to bag check through the main entrance and M1. I am a little concerned about the prospect of long lines due to bag checks. Not really comfortable with long lines if the bag check is not run properly .Can Otakon make sure that Otakon Security Execs are also at the entrances with the contracted security to insure that this runs smoothly?  Where will the line be if there is one outside. Around the building? I mean what is the tentative plan?

 

 

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Triela    6

Wow. I had no idea doing something to make the con safer would be something that people wouldn't want. :/ I've gone to NY Comic Con and getting your bag checked is really no big deal. So it takes a few more seconds for bags to be checked, it makes the con a safer place to be. Sad to say, but with the world today, you can never be too careful. 

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Maydog    19

Well, NYCC really didn't run that smooth for a long time . There were always lines around the Javits Center with long waits in years passed. When they started to stage the bag checks outside away from the entrance . It helped a lot. The point being that the prospects of traveling hours to Otakon in DC and then wait on a long line to get in even with a mailed badge is not appealing. Especially if it is in the DC August heat. 

 

 

Edited by Maydog
No,text
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razisgosu    9

2 things.

If I am stuck in line for a long time because of a shitty bag check, I will not be happy. If I miss an event, due to being stuck in a line, for entry, I will be so done with Otakon.

Edit: Will bag/body check be required if you do not have a bag on your person? I typically bring a backpack to hold water, snacks, and phone charger, as well as to carry my dealer's room purchases. If not having a bag will get me in freely, I would consider leaving it in my hotel room.

Edited by razisgosu

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Hainiryuun    17
2 hours ago, Triela said:

Wow. I had no idea doing something to make the con safer would be something that people wouldn't want. :/ I've gone to NY Comic Con and getting your bag checked is really no big deal. So it takes a few more seconds for bags to be checked, it makes the con a safer place to be. Sad to say, but with the world today, you can never be too careful. 

Devils advocate: With only the main entrance being utilized for entry, bag checks creating a choke point and holding up the line can be just as much, if not more, of a safety hazard.

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razisgosu    9

Also, just this past weekend Pokemon go had bag checks for their event with a single entrance and congestion and lines were a problem. Every time we leave the building and return we will have to be bag checked, is that correct? There will be little point to leave for food, or return purchases to the hotel room if we have to wait in a lengthy bag check line every time.

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2017-07-26/enjoying-pokemon-go-fest-despite-its-problems/.119269

The important part bolded below -

Sprint and Boost Mobile stores gave out so many First Catch Hour wristbands that many players who received them didn't enter the event early. Niantic began allowing lines to form at 6:00 a.m. for the event with the general start time of 10:00 a.m. As someone fairly close to the front of the early admission line, I got in at about 9:40 a.m. Personnel at the entrance were thoroughly checking bags, so players continued to pour in the only gate for at least another hour.

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Hainiryuun    17

On that note, will there be bag checks for people going back and forth between the Marriot and the convention center via the underground tunnel?

Like, it would be annoying as hell to have to go through multiple bag checks just to go between each building for panels, and on the flip side, if there isn't, then anyone can just circumvent the bag check by entering the convention center through the underground tunnel.

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StarCreator    7

Is the bag check contractor/staging area the same as Awesomecon's? That went over just fine the one day I went; was held up no more than 5-10 minutes at around 1 PM Saturday.

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8 hours ago, Triela said:

Wow. I had no idea doing something to make the con safer would be something that people wouldn't want. :/ I've gone to NY Comic Con and getting your bag checked is really no big deal. So it takes a few more seconds for bags to be checked, it makes the con a safer place to be. Sad to say, but with the world today, you can never be too careful. 

Bag checks don't do squat to actually make anyone safer. Why bother trying to smuggle a weapon inside when the line at the checkpoint is a perfect soft target? Hell, you don't even need a weapon when you can just go rent a U-Haul and plow through the crowd stuck in line outside. And what are convention center rent-a-cops going to do against someone with a semiautomatic rifle anyway? This is nothing but farcical security theater that serves no actual purpose other than to inconvenience the hell out of us.

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Aresef    43
1 minute ago, Dostovei Illuminas said:

Bag checks don't do squat to actually make anyone safer. Why bother trying to smuggle a weapon inside when the line at the checkpoint is a perfect soft target? Hell, you don't even need a weapon when you can just go rent a U-Haul and plow through the crowd stuck in line outside. And what are convention center rent-a-cops going to do against someone with a semiautomatic rifle anyway? This is nothing but farcical security theater that serves no actual purpose other than to inconvenience the hell out of us.

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/arts/phoenix-comicon-gunman-matthew-sterling-punisher-jason-david-frank-9363877

That's what a bag check and limited entrances can stop. And WEWCC has special police with arrest power just as Baltimore does. They'll be there, and MPD surely knows about Otakon, too.

 

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37 minutes ago, Aresef said:

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/arts/phoenix-comicon-gunman-matthew-sterling-punisher-jason-david-frank-9363877

That's what a bag check and limited entrances can stop. And WEWCC has special police with arrest power just as Baltimore does. They'll be there, and MPD surely knows about Otakon, too.

 

"According to the probable cause statement, Sterling (who was wearing black tactical pants, a red bandanna, black face paint, and a shotgun bandolier) entered the convention center and avoided the venue’s security, as well as one of of the peace-bonding stations for inspecting prop weapons. He then proceeded to the second floor."

Actually, sounds like security and bag checks didn't do a damn thing to stop this guy. He was only apprehended because his friend tipped off the police. My point stands. And again, bag checks won't do anything to protect the people waiting in line who haven't even entered the convention center yet.

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Aresef    43
5 minutes ago, Dostovei Illuminas said:

"According to the probable cause statement, Sterling (who was wearing black tactical pants, a red bandanna, black face paint, and a shotgun bandolier) entered the convention center and avoided the venue’s security, as well as one of of the peace-bonding stations for inspecting prop weapons. He then proceeded to the second floor."

Actually, sounds like security and bag checks didn't do a damn thing to stop this guy. He was only apprehended because his friend tipped off the police. My point stands. And again, bag checks won't do anything to protect the people waiting in line who haven't even entered the convention center yet.

How many entrances did that convention have? What was the nature of the security and weapons check in place at the time? Here's how the convention responded: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix-breaking/2017/05/25/armed-man-arrested-phoenix-comicon/347315001/

They banned prop weapons entirely and limited access points to three entrances. Going forward, they'll have metal detectors, bag checks, more cops, a ban on most prop weapons. Otakon could have gone a lot further, but they're not.

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9 minutes ago, Aresef said:

How many entrances did that convention have? What was the nature of the security and weapons check in place at the time? Here's how the convention responded: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix-breaking/2017/05/25/armed-man-arrested-phoenix-comicon/347315001/

They banned prop weapons entirely and limited access points to three entrances. Going forward, they'll have metal detectors, bag checks, more cops, a ban on most prop weapons. Otakon could have gone a lot further, but they're not.

And again, none of this will do anything to protect the people waiting in line outside. When you're talking about 30,000 people being funneled into only a handful of entrances and having all their bags checked, all that does is line up a big soft target and makes it easier to hurt people. Metal detectors and bag checks don't stop trucks. And if someone is really serious about doing harm to people then a checkpoint is only a minor inconvenience before the screeners get gunned down. Not that they even have to go that far though when, again, there's a nice target rich environment standing outside the door.

Edited by Dostovei Illuminas
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Aresef    43
4 minutes ago, Dostovei Illuminas said:

 

And again, none of this will do anything to protect the people waiting in line outside. When you're talking about 30,000 people being funneled into only a handful of entrances and having all their bags checked, all that does is line up a big soft target and makes it easier to hurt people. Metal detectors and bag checks don't stop trucks. And if someone is really serious about doing harm to people then a checkpoint is only a minor inconvenience before the screeners get gunned down. Not that they even have to go that far though when, again, there's a nice target rich environment standing outside the door.

The solution is to have a quick-moving line. We can talk about the what about, what about, what about all day long with imagined threats, but things like what happened in Phoenix, what happened in Brussels, other soft target incidents, those are real threats. And WEWCC doesn't want to be responsible for something like what could have happened in Phoenix happening on their property.

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Just now, Aresef said:

The solution is to have a quick-moving line. We can talk about the what about, what about, what about all day long with imagined threats, but things like what happened in Phoenix, what happened in Brussels, other soft target incidents, those are real threats. And WEWCC doesn't want to be responsible for something like what could have happened in Phoenix happening on their property.

And we're going to have a quick-moving line with limited entrances and bag checks how exactly?

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Aresef    43
Just now, Dostovei Illuminas said:

And we're going to have a quick-moving line with limited entrances and bag checks how exactly?

By all accounts, Awesome Con (in the same venue) managed just fine.

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Just now, Aresef said:

By all accounts, Awesome Con (in the same venue) managed just fine.

That was AwesomeCon, not Otakon. Even if attendance numbers (which I can't find an official reference for) are similar, there's no guarantee that whatever magical formula they came up with will be replicated. 

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Just now, danielb said:

we're using the same people.

Nice to know, please try not to make this more painful than it has to be then.

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danielb    19
2 minutes ago, Dostovei Illuminas said:

That was AwesomeCon, not Otakon. Even if attendance numbers (which I can't find an official reference for) are similar, there's no guarantee that whatever magical formula they came up with will be replicated. 

we're using the same people.

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danielb    19

I guarantee they're trying to make it as painless as possible.  Unhappy people make for unhappy staff.  EVERYONE wants this to go well.  It's a volunteer run con, we have no other reason to be here than we enjoy the show and want it to be the best we can make it.

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Krabstarr    29
16 hours ago, onsenmark said:

I remember reading something that said it was basically against the venue's rules to bring in outside food, but I can't remember where I read it exactly.

You saw that on the FAQ page under "What about food?":

"Remember, you aren't supposed to bring outside food into the WEWCC, so if you've smuggled in some snacks, be discreet about it and clean up after yourself."

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onsenmark    78
Just now, Krabstarr said:

You saw that on the FAQ page under "What about food?":

"Remember, you aren't supposed to bring outside food into the WEWCC, so if you've smuggled in some snacks, be discreet about it and clean up after yourself."

I think that's it, yeah. XD

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KyoKyo    13

  I've been to a few events at the WEWCC a fraction of the size of Otakon and in my past experience, the third party contractors really didn't seem to do that thorough of a check. Maybe that will change with the advent of scantily-clad cosplayers wielding  giant prop weapons. 

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Ashourii    0

I am very concerned, I sincerely hope that this will be streamlined but due to this being the first year in the new location I am worried. Paid to have my badge mailed to not wait for hours to get in and now we are going to have to anyway? 

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Maydog    19
7 hours ago, danielb said:

I guarantee they're trying to make it as painless as possible.  Unhappy people make for unhappy staff.  EVERYONE wants this to go well.  It's a volunteer run con, we have no other reason to be here than we enjoy the show and want it to be the best we can make it.

I'm just thinking, won't this defeat the purpose of the mailed badges? Also  I remember The disaster last year at Anime Boston trying to bag check. What a total mess that was. Long long lines. Will Otakon security execs be at the entrances? Many times contracted security get frazzled easily. Would be good to have security supervision right there to make sure this goes smoothly.

 

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Maydog    19
5 hours ago, Krabstarr said:

You saw that on the FAQ page under "What about food?":

"Remember, you aren't supposed to bring outside food into the WEWCC, so if you've smuggled in some snacks, be discreet about it and clean up after yourself."

I'm just wondering what about people who have restrictive diets due to diabetes or HBP etc. I mean I am sure they have a right to carry the appropriate convenience snack in case of an emergency. I don't think a public authority can restrict that?

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Aresef    43
21 minutes ago, Maydog said:

I'm just wondering what about people who have restrictive diets due to diabetes or HBP etc. I mean I am sure they have a right to carry the appropriate convenience snack in case of an emergency. I don't think a public authority can restrict that?

The copy was the same when Otakon was in Baltimore, and the response from staff has always been something like this: If you want to bring in Chipotle or something off the street, go ahead, but don't go having a pizza party outside the dealer's room.

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Maydog    19
Just now, Aresef said:

The copy was the same when Otakon was in Baltimore, and the response from staff has always been something like this: If you want to bring in Chipotle or something off the street, go ahead, but don't go having a pizza party outside the dealer's room.

Oh well that's sounds good. I personally like Centerplate and was very happy to hear they were in DC also. They were great in BCC. But I am also traveling with someone who does have a restrictive diet so it's good to know they could carry a portable snack. Not a meal but just a snack if needed. 

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8 hours ago, Dostovei Illuminas said:

And we're going to have a quick-moving line with limited entrances and bag checks how exactly?

You know, the bottom line is: DON'T BRING ANYTHING UNNECESSARY IN THE CONVENTION CENTER THAT YOU KNOW YOU DO NOT NEED!

 

Don't mean to shout at you personally.

 

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TnAdct1    17
21 hours ago, Triela said:

Wow. I had no idea doing something to make the con safer would be something that people wouldn't want. :/ I've gone to NY Comic Con and getting your bag checked is really no big deal. So it takes a few more seconds for bags to be checked, it makes the con a safer place to be. Sad to say, but with the world today, you can never be too careful. 

The main issue with the bag inspection had to do with the issues that plagued a number of major conventions in California this month (with the most infamous being Anime Expo). However, keep in mind that those cons had WAY more people attending them (the least crowded of the cons, D23 had over 60,000 people) than Otakon (which, at tops, will likely only have 30,000 to 40,000 people attending).

17 hours ago, Hainiryuun said:

On that note, will there be bag checks for people going back and forth between the Marriot and the convention center via the underground tunnel?

Like, it would be annoying as hell to have to go through multiple bag checks just to go between each building for panels, and on the flip side, if there isn't, then anyone can just circumvent the bag check by entering the convention center through the underground tunnel.

I seriously doubt that there will be a bag check going back and forth between the underground tunnel. The underground tunnel is located in M2 at the Marquis and the floor with the Art Show and Dealers Room at the convention center, and in order to get there, guests will have to pass through the bag check at either M1 (Marquis) or the main entrance (convention center).

The only issue could be those using the meeting center elevators to get there, and even then, I think some measures will happen to ensure that no one will use that to circumvent the bag inspection (be it shutting it down those elevators during that weekend or only making the accessible to the handicapped, with them required to stop at M1 first if entering the con floor from the Marquis).

11 hours ago, danielb said:

we're using the same people.

That's great to hear. With that con having over 50,000 people and no issues pertaining to the bag inspections, that will hopefully mean things will go by smoothly at Otakon.

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Aresef    43
26 minutes ago, TnAdct1 said:

I seriously doubt that there will be a bag check going back and forth between the underground tunnel. The underground tunnel is located in M2 at the Marquis and the floor with the Art Show and Dealers Room at the convention center, and in order to get there, guests will have to pass through the bag check at either M1 (Marquis) or the main entrance (convention center).

The only points of entry are the front door and M1 anyway.

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EdKitten    43
16 hours ago, danielb said:

we're using the same people.

 

Then my guess is the bag-check procedure will probably be the same as Awesome Con's.  (Awesome had approximately 50,000 people in 2016, and 2017 seemed a little bigger, imho.)  They had a bunch of long tables set up, with 3-4 security people at each table, each checking people's bags.

 

Edited by EdKitten

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Krabstarr    29
20 hours ago, Maydog said:

I'm just thinking, won't this defeat the purpose of the mailed badges?

No, because the purpose of the mailed badges was to shorten the registration lines. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! YAY!

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Shadowfax04    3

Can someone on the staff say whether or not people who don't have a bag will still have to wait in a line for bag checks at the entrance?

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Maydog    19
15 hours ago, EdKitten said:

 

Then my guess is the bag-check procedure will probably be the same as Awesome Con's.  (Awesome had approximately 50,000 people in 2016, and 2017 seemed a little bigger, imho.)  They had a bunch of long tables set up, with 3-4 security people at each table, each checking people's bags.

 

Just wondering were there long lines outside waiting to go in? Were they lines up around the building? How did it work?  We're there enough to inspect the bags to keep the flow moving? I'm hoping this will go smoothly. No long waits or lines 

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Clutch    6

Does Otakon bear responsibility for any damage incurred during bag checks? Can damage claim information be posted in this thread?

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