New "Checkpoint Friendly" Laptop Cases Will Help Travelers Breeze Through Security

According to the USA Today, the Transportation Security Administration is likely to approve new “checkpoint friendly” laptop cases which would allow passengers to put their laptops through x-ray machines without removing them from the case. The new policy, designed to streamline airport security, is likely to be enacted within a few months. Details, inside…

Currently, laptops must be removed from their cases so that security screeners can search for weapons or explosives, a delay responsible for significant slowdowns at airport security checkpoints. The TSA is currently testing several laptop case prototypes that when unopened would allow screeners to get clear look at the laptop without the clutter of cords and accessories that typically disturb an x-ray image. The new cases employ a clamshell design which travelers would unfold and lay flat on the conveyor belt, thus separating the laptop from cables and accessories.

Targus and Skooba will be the first two companies to offer the new design. Targus has designed 4 prototypes thus far. “Heavy travelers will be the first adopters of this,” said Al Giazzon, Targus’ marketing chief. Michael Hess of Skooba said, “Anything that speeds up the process and reduces the burden on travelers and screeners will improve the deteriorating travel situation.”

We’re pleased to see that efforts are being made to reduce security delays. To us, these new cases make sense. Not having to remove the laptop from the case means less chance for accidental damage and tampering, an added benefit.

Have laptop, will breeze through security? [USA Today]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. ChChChacos says:

    A few times while traveling with my laptop I haven’t had to take off the case. I just use the Incase Neoprene Sleeve for my Macbook Pro and I suppose because it’s not bulky they just allow it to go through the machines. I assume the new cases would be similar?

  2. forgottenpassword says:

    should also make the airport thieves’ jobs easier as well.

  3. silencedotcom says:

    @ChChChacos: The TSA makes you take the laptop out of the bag. So if you have an over-the-shoulder or wheelie-bag, the laptop has to be taken out of the slot and put through the x-ray machine.

    Per the article, padding and other electronics get in the way of viewing the laptop. Good suggestions on the Neoprene sleeve, though.. I should grab one of those for my MBP when traveling through the airports. Might help!

  4. Pro-Pain says:

    I am so glad I don’t have to fly…

  5. Juggernaut says:

    How long has Gary Coleman been working for the TSA?

  6. I have not taken my laptop out of its bag for screening the past few times I have flown. They say to do it, but it doesn’t make any difference — [arstechnica.com]

  7. BigElectricCat says:

    So glad I don’t fly for work anymore. It got to be a serious chore after 9/11.

  8. JackAshley says:

    As a Canadian with family in South America, I used to be able to plan my Houston or Miami stopover to be about 45 minutes to get off the plane, go through customs, and get on to my next flight. Nowadays, I have to plan at least 2.5 hours or more of a stopover due to all this hassle, so this new bag type is more than welcome.

  9. Mr. Gunn says:

    Fuck TSA and their fucking counterespionage fear-breeding bullshit! Yes, this is an overreaction. Straws, camels, etc.

  10. larsitron says:

    I’m going to go ahead and say that these bags are going to be useless. In previous articles about them, they appeared to hold next to nothing other than the computer and certainly wouldn’t suffice for those of us who travel with a carryon and a briefcase.

    Airport security is a farce in this country and I view anything the TSA does in the name of “customer service” as suspect.

  11. cyberferret says:

    Sounds like just having to deal with another carry-on bag

  12. cynon says:

    So… what about TSA approved shoes? How about TSA approved luggage? How about TSA approved piercings? Anything else you want to let the TSA control that they have no business sticking their nose into?

    How about we disband this incredible embarrassment to the United States and try and forget it ever happened.

  13. jamar0303 says:

    I’ll be honest; This I could care less about, it’s going through Customs with my laptop that worries me.

  14. Trai_Dep says:

    But. But. But how will the TSA be able to pilfer your laptop for your company’s trade secrets? Well, and porn.
    While I think any reduction in Security Kabuki is good, this looks more like the TSA favoring laptop-owning-types rather than adding to our “security”. Were I a Freedom Hater, it wouldn’t be too difficult to design a laptop bomb that gave an innocuous x-ray profile.
    It’s a good first step, but the TSA should admit all their procedures are absurd. Allow fluids again, let us keep our shoes on and bring electronics unmolested. If they’re concerned with security, reallocate resources to check cargo holds and maintenance staff.
    And recognize that a 9-11 style attack would never work again: mindsets have changed – enraged airborne mobs would lynch any attackers trying this type of stunt before the hijackers finished announcing who they were.

  15. bostonguy says:

    I guess we’ll soon be hearing from people who got in shouting matches with TSA goons, who have no idea that some laptop bags are ‘TSA Approved’, and most aren’t.

    “But this one says it’s TSA Approved!”

    “Don’t argue with me. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I ain’t never heard of that, and I’m gonna send you to Gitmo if you don’t take the damn computer out of the bag!”

  16. mgy says:

    You’re wrong, Consumerist. This is a horrible idea. First, with all of the airlines starting to charge an arm and a leg for even you FIRST checked bag and limiting you to two carry-ons, this suddenly costs you more money. Not just for the bag itself, but also for checking your ordinary luggage.

    In addition, who makes the decision as to what is a TSA approved computer bag? Are the screeners going to know? Will they look for a brand name, a thickness, a logo? Can’t any of that be fabricated? Most likely, if they want to hassle you, they’ll hassle you anyways and buying a special bag isn’t going to do much to stop that.

  17. But will it keep them from confiscating the laptop because they decided it looks nice and expensive?

    Seriously, the TSA has become nothing more than a government-sanctioned crime ring. It’s absolutely insane.

  18. ChChChacos says:

    @silencedotcom: I realize this is TSA regulations. I’m just saying from my experience using the thin case there’s been a few times they’ve told me I didn’t have to take it off. I’m a pilot myself, and frequent airports. So I know the rules.

  19. fuzzycuffs says:

    I guarantee you that when these things are accepted, only one or two TSA agents in the entire US will know about it. When you go to your local airport for the next few months and try to put your laptop through in the bag, you’ll be pulled over and told to take it out.

    TSA agents are overpaid and self-righteous security guards. They won’t receive the “training” to deal with these new bags, and will pass the inconvenience along to you.

    Count on it.

  20. bugsbenny36 says:

    I recently flew out of LHR (to LAX) from terminal 2, did not have to remove shoes, laptop, or even my baby from her car seat, they did make me “sample” my sons water however.

    On another note, the TSA were (and I cannot believe I’m saying this) unbelievably helpful and courteous, helping us put everything back together, including helping put our baby back into her car seat, and they even cracked a smile!!

  21. Roundonbothends says:

    Great. I have one of those guaranteed for life if you keep the receipt APC rollers. It was pricey. I’m not likely to replace it for just this reason, but I don’t create a big delay anyway. The notebook sits in a sleeve inside the case. I remove the sleeve, set the notebook atop it, put it in a bin, lay the case down directly on the rollers right behind the notebook, and send the entire mess through. All it takes is a little practice.

    I’ve also never encountered a discourteous TSA screener. Bored, yes, rude, no.

  22. cynon says:

    @Roundonbothends:

    If you’ve never encountered a discourteous TSA person, I’d suggest you fly out of the San Jose Airport where I have always found them to be a bunch of self important assholes.

    This last time I watched them threaten a business man as he was trying to get through the line and speak to him as if he was a child. Don’t know the rest of the conversation, but if it had been me, I’d be in jail because I won’t take their crap. Those assholes have ZERO accountability and think they own the world.

  23. magic8ball says:

    @jamar0303: Srsly. I don’t have anything severely illegal on my laptop, but I really don’t like the idea that they can look through it anyway, with no probable cause, “just because.”

  24. SBR249 says:

    According to engadget, the reason for the rule of taking the laptop out of the bag was that laptop bags are often cluttered with cell phones, chargers, mice, adapters, cables, etc. These things obscure the laptop in X-ray machine.

    To accomodate that rule, the new bag are supposed to provide absolutely no room for adapters, wires, cables, chargers and that sort of thing. In essence the bag is nothing but a fancy, invisible to X-ray case for your laptop. Travelers would usually still need to bring a bag for the chargers and stuff or pack them in another carry-on/checked bag.

    What a waste…

    [www.engadget.com]

  25. naptownman says:

    There’s a huge difference between being secure and creating the illusion or feeling of security. From my 50 flights per year since 9/11 tell me, the TSA is more focused on creating the feeling of security rather making travelers secure.

  26. eelmonger says:

    @fuzzycuffs: I’m thinking the same thing. Even if you have this case, most TSA people won’t know/care about it and you’ll still end up taking it out or getting into a shouting match/arrested.

  27. Savage says:

    As long as your laptop case is not lead, isn’t that enough?

  28. watduck says:

    @cynon: Tell me about it. My grandma flew out of SJC a month ago, and the TSA agent did not accept her GREEN CARD as a form of identification. She proceeded to be a complete bitch about it too. Fortunately, her manager knew what was going on, and let her through.

    Thus, I highly doubt a majority of the TSA reps will recognize a “TSA approved” laptop bag, and will cavity search your electronics anyway.

    Moral of the story: Give people power, and watch them abuse it.

  29. Zwitterion says:

    There are a few airports in the country with new machines that allow you to leave your laptop in its case. Dallas / Ft. Worth International has a few of the new machines installed allready in Terminal D.

  30. @ChChChacos: I also used to have a neoprene sleeve and didn’t take it out until some TSA screener bitched at me for it. Now I think I’ll stop taking it out again.

    If the special cases are nothing more than regular cases without any room for stuff, then what’s wrong with a sleeve?

  31. Meathamper says:

    They might as well make see-through bags for laptops. Now we don’t even NEED an X-Ray!

  32. jamar0303 says:

    @magic8ball: Nothing weird on my laptop either, but I’m afraid they might confiscate it because it “looks weird” or some such crap (I imported it from Japan, and I covered part of it with masking tape because a piece of the casing broke off; on that note I now know why these laptops are called “Let’s Note” instead of “Toughbook” in Japan).