Flying Getting Easier For Laptop Owners

Dennis Faas's picture

The US government has changed its rules on carrying laptops through airport security checkpoints. Whereas passengers previously had to keep their laptops in clear display, they can now keep them packed away in approved bags. While there's no official register of which bags are suitable, most existing laptop bags will not make the grade. That's because the guiding principle now is that security agents should be able to lay the bag flat on the X-ray belt and get a clear view of the contents when they scan it.

The guidelines follow tests of 40 manufacturer prototype bags for Transport Security Authority staff, which were examined on actual security checkpoints. Those firms are expected to market the redesigned bags as 'checkpoint friendly'.

It's worth bearing in mind that the TSA doesn't police such claims, so it's always possible rogue firms could make bogus claims about their products. The TSA is advising passengers to check that any bag they intend to carry a laptop in has no metal components above or below where the laptop is stored, and that they do not carry anything else in the laptop compartment other than the computer.

As a general guideline, both the 'butterfly' and 'trifold' style of bags, which fold out flat, should be suitable. 'Accordion' and 'backpack' styles will not be suitable, meaning users will still have to take their laptop out in these cases. (Source:

It's hoped the new rules will cut down the time it takes to get through security and reduce losses caused by people taking their laptops out of bags and forgetting to pick them up again. A study for Dell found this happens nearly 5,000 times a year. (Source:

The TSA announced the changes on its 'Evolution of Security' blog, which launched earlier this year and has already led to policy changes stemming from reader comments.

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