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Is it necessary to remove one's laptop from its bag when going through U.S. Airport Security checkpoints?

As of August 16, 2008, if your bag will allow for an unobstructed image of the laptop in an X-ray machine, you can leave your computer in its bag. Though working with manufacturers, the American Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is not endorsing particular bags. Rather, in order to take advantage of this rule, your bag must meet the following requirements:

  • It must contain a designated laptop-only section
  • The laptop-only section must completely unfold to lay flat on the scanner belt
  • No metal snaps, zippers or buckles may be inside, underneath or on top of the laptop-only section
  • No pockets may be present on the inside or outside of the laptop-only section
  • Nothing may be packed in the laptop-only section other than the computer itself

The TSA's web site provides images of bags that meet the requirements.

last updated 2008.10.19
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