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All systems . . . no! Rocket City FurMeet 11 postponed to 2014 over TSA mask rules

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

RCFM 11 banner with facemask crossed outRocket City FurMeet, Huntsville, Alabama's annual furry convention, was scheduled to be held this year over June 14-16, at the Four Points by Sheraton at Huntsville Airport.

On Friday, however, RCFM board member Bunny Halberd announced that the convention was being postponed to 2014. According to the explanation posted on RCFM's website, late in 2012 the RCFM Board agreed to host the convention at the Huntsville Airport Sheraton in 2013. Unfortunately, the hotel did not fully understand what type of convention RCFM is — and the Board did not realise that the entire hotel is under the control of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

As an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the TSA does not allow full-face masks in any space it controls; fursuit heads would be forbidden. RCFM's Board realised this would be of great detriment to the convention. Upon realising the mutual misunderstanding, the hotel offered to let the Board cancel its contract with no penalty and a full refund of their deposit, an option which they voted to take.

Immediately following this, the Board began a furious search for a new venue. Only one hotel was found that was available and willing to host the convention in 2013, although it would have involved changing the convention dates. The Board was willing to make this change, but the hotel also required full payment of the entire expense up-front. Being unable to afford this – they would not have the money until they had collected membership fees from both pre- and door-registrations – the Board decided to postpone RCFM 11 completely until 2014.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

I continue to be in awe of the TSA's ability to ruin everything.

Your rating: None

Sounds about right...

Your rating: None

Sounds like a really bad case of miscommunication to me.

I am a little surprised by the extent though, that the con did not check deeply enough into the hotel, and that the hotel had that little information on the con.

Your rating: None

As one of the board members as we spoke with them we did set up places for the Fursuit group photo and parade route in the hotel so I was at a loss when this came up. Now I would not be surprised if one of the hotel staff did not know all the rules. I can see that happening.

Your rating: None

This sounds more and more like you were kicked out of that hotel and fed a bullshit line of reasoning.

Why did you leave the last hotel?

Your rating: None

And here I thought TSA only controlled the parts of airports past security checkpoints, and any "airport hotels" would be well outside their jurisdiction. But maybe I'm just that out of touch with how airport security works nowadays (the last time I traveled by air was before 9/11).

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I'm not exactly sure they don't.. I have a few friends in the TSA and they're confused as all heck about this. Wonder if the convention hotel just wanted out?

Your rating: None

"The Sheraton Four Points Hotel, located in the Huntsville International Airport, has 146 guest rooms and over 6,000 square feet of..."

So yeah...not surprising that the TSA would get a little bent out of shape over full-face masks.

Very unfortunate situation all around.

Your rating: None

It looks like RCFM has a new venue for 2014 - it will be held June 13-15, 2014 at the Amberley Suites Hotel in Decatur, AL.

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