TSA outlines new procedures for ‘checkpoint-friendly’ laptop bags

For some time now, Gadling has been following Transportation Security Administration plans to begin allowing laptops to be screened while remaining in special so-called “checkpoint-friendly” laptop bags.

This past Saturday, TSA began allowing certain bags to go through screenings with laptops still in them. The TSA has a helpful information manual up on its Web site right now, cautioning that this apparent relaxation in security procedures does not cover every laptop bag on the market.

In other words, not all laptop bags are checkpoint-friendly.

Only “butterfly-,” “trifold-” and “sleeve-style” laptop carriers are acceptable.

What the TSA is after is a clear view of your laptop. Since security officers are looking for evidence that electronics have been tampered with, they need a clear line of sight to note any irregularities in your laptop.

The TSA is quick to emphasize that just because you have an ostensibly checkpoint-friendly laptop bag, TSOs may still ask you to remove your computer if they cannot see it clear enough through the bag.

The TSA also has these useful tips:

  • Your laptop bag has a designated laptop-only section that you can lay flat on the X-ray belt. There are no metal snaps, zippers or buckles inside, underneath or on-top of the laptop-only section
  • There are no pockets on the inside or outside of the laptop-only section
  • There is nothing in the laptop compartment other than the laptop
  • You have completely unfolded your bag so that there is nothing above or below the laptop-only section, allowing the bag to lie flat on the X-ray belt

Check out Scott’s post of one TSA-endorsed line of laptop bags currently on the market.