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In the Movie Fight Club, in the scene where the Narrator returns to his hometown airport after a business trip the baggage handlers had to turn his luggage over to the authorities. This is because his luggage was vibrating, which presumably led the throwers to believe it could be a bomb.

His luggage was confiscated, but it is never explicitly found or returned to him.

Is it just a huge coincidence that his baggage is suspected of containing a bomb, and in the next scene his apartment blows up - or is there some connection?

Are there any clues as to what happened to his luggage?

I'm just speculating here, as I wasn't able to perceive any clear answer to the above question:

Did the Narrator's baggage actually contain a bomb? Is it even possible the Narrator's baggage was returned to his apartment, which then could have blown up his condo?

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The explanation for what happens to the condo is explained in the movie - the gas is left on and its triggered by a spark from the compressor in his refrigerator. – iandotkelly Aug 29 '14 at 18:40
It actually isn't said for certain. That's the explanation the Narrator repeats is what he's told by the investigator. – Cayetano Gonçalves Aug 29 '14 at 18:57
The investigators would have the skills and equipment to test for arson. How would the "bomb in his luggage" get past the inspection and back to his condo quicker than him? – iandotkelly Aug 29 '14 at 18:59
I don't know, but it's a bit too coincidental that his baggage is suspected of having a bomb, and in the very next scene his apartment blows up. In fairness, it doesn't say how much time passes between the time he's at the airport and arrives home. He stole a car as Tyler, remember? He may have gone and done something else. – Cayetano Gonçalves Aug 29 '14 at 19:01
He gets a ride with Tyler - it would be disingenuous to the audience to miss out a significant time wasting event like that, at this point he only knows Tyler from the plane and he's giving him a ride home. Its a safe assumption that they just went straight to the condo. We can invent all sorts of offscreen events that might have taken place. I'm sure the luggage contained some sort of strange suspicious device from Tyler, but not a bomb. You're correct, he could do something as Tyler - but I think something would have been found in the inspection of the case. – iandotkelly Aug 29 '14 at 19:05
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The novel does explain what happened to his luggage:

His suitcase was inspected by the bomb squad on an abandoned runway.
The Narrator's electric razor was the culprit.

And from an early draft of the script:


  • So in neither case did the condo explosion have anything to do with the luggage.
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Interesting that the book and the script deviate here. Thanks for the insight! – Cayetano Gonçalves Sep 9 '14 at 22:23

The explanation for what happens to the condo is explained in the movie, its a gas explosion. The gas from his cooker is left on and its triggered by a spark from the compressor in his refrigerator. Its kind of assumed later that this is done deliberately by "Tyler".

It is possibly a coincidence that his baggage is confiscated for a vibration, or perhaps Tyler added something suspicious but not actually dangerous to his luggage.

If the luggage had contained a bomb, it would have been found and not delivered to the condo, and they would have arrested him.

In the unrealistic event that they delivered the bomb in the bag to the apartment, its unlikely that the bag would have got there before him from the airport, and who would let it into the condo? In addition, the Fire Dept would not have concluded that it was a gas explosion.

He continued to be in contact with the police about the circumstances of the explosion, but he wasn't arrested, which he surely would have been if they had found a bomb.

I think we can safely assume that the luggage would eventually have been delivered to him, I just don't think its mentioned in the movie at all (but I could be wrong about that).

The whole thing is clearly engineered by Tyler to force his relocation to Paper Street. Force him to be homeless and possibly even without luggage.

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If the luggage had contained a bomb, it would have been found and not delivered to the condo, and they would have arrested him. - I'm not sure how true this is either; even on the plane Tyler reveals his briefcase is jam packed with soap and says, "With enough soap, one could blow up just about anything". Isn't the point here that something as innocuous as soap could be used as an explosive? Would pre-9/11 security care about soap? – Cayetano Gonçalves Aug 29 '14 at 19:06
@CayetanoGonçalves How would the airport security miss a bomb on a manual inspection of the case? Soap is not a bomb. – iandotkelly Aug 29 '14 at 19:09
@CayetanoGonçalves - pre-9/11 security was bothered about bombs in luggage. 9/11 made major adjustments to security for passenger carry-on. The PanAm "Lockerbie" bombing occurred in the late '80s. – iandotkelly Aug 29 '14 at 19:13
Tyler described that bombs and dynamites may be created using the glycerin which is treated as a by-product of the soap making reaction. Thus, in making bombs, the thick layer of glycerine is not skimmed off but is instead left or even mixed into the soap solution. For the sake of the book, the only difference between soap and dynamite is this step, plus adding nitric acid if you want to further refine the explosive into nitro glycerine. – Cayetano Gonçalves Aug 29 '14 at 19:30
Explosive or not (and I agree a bomb isn't likely, well, in fact in 9/10 cases it's just an electric razor anyway, and in the 10th case it isn't a bomb either), the disappearance of the luggage might very well have been intentional, as part of his disappearance and his dependence on Tyler. Though, I'm glad you adressed that in your last (unfortunately spoilerfied) sentence, you might want to emphasize this a bit more, as it is a likely (even if speculative) answer to the general question what was with the luggage. – Napoleon Wilson Aug 29 '14 at 19:33

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