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Kindles and Tablets at TSA Checkpoints

Why You Shouldn't Take Your Kindle Fire Out of Your Bag at TSA Checkpoints

The Kindle Fire (and Nook Tablet, for that matter) are perfect travel companions. They store your books, movies, music, and apps, and run on the plane's WiFi so you could even browse the web at 30,000 feet. But a few users are reporting that their new Kindle Fires are being damaged after going through X-ray machines at airport TSA checkpoints. While the X-ray machine isn't exactly to blame, according to an expert, it can be a factor.

TSA Checkpoint Rules

Professor Daping Chu, Chairman of the University of Cambridge centre for Advanced Photonics, says that static electricity is likely the culprit . He says:

"I don’t think the radiation used in an airport scanner would ever be strong enough to damage an electronic ink display. . . . But you can get a buildup of static inside these machines, caused by the rubber belt rubbing. If that charge were to pass through a Kindle, it’s conceivable that it could damage the screen. . . . A static charge from an airport scanner could be 100 volts or more. That could permanently stick the particles to the screen.”

Kindles, tablets, laptops, cameras, and thousands of other devices pass through airport X-ray machines every day, but one way to be totally sure your new Kindle Fire won't be damaged due to static electricity is to leave it in your bag when going through TSA checkpoints. Any electronic items smaller than a 13-inch laptop doesn't need to be removed from your bag when going through the X-ray machine anyway, so this should make your trip move that much smoother.

Image Source: Getty
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thecolor thecolor 5 years
@kd06 and @pyrodice it's likely marketing and metrics. While the Kindle Fire is hot news right now, (title mistake or intentional) using the words "Kindle" and "Fire" together place the article(s) higher up in the search list giving the site more hits and making it "possibly" more popular than someone else's. So, while it's not accurate to indicate the Kindle Fire is "e-ink", the Kindle Fire can still suffer damage from static electric charges all the same. ;) So, it's not entirely false, just misleading. :| To the point of leaving your devices in the bag, that leads me to believe the article is equating static build up like getting in and out of your car while at a gas station. You don't really want to do it as the discharge could be a problem at any point.
kindle-lover kindle-lover 5 years
I am very impressed with my new Kindle Fire. It's lightweight, easy to use and has a great interface. I haven't had any x-ray scanning issues either and I do a lot of air travel. First thing I installed was the nook app for free Android (instructions at www.kindlemad.com through google). It basically unlocks all the Android marketplace apps and unlocks the device. I'm very pleased with the device.
pyrodice pyrodice 5 years
As kd06 says, Fire is LCD. They might have meant the Kindle Touch.
kd06 kd06 5 years
Why are you writing about Kindle Fire? The article you cite is talking about e-ink displays being damaged by static electricity. Kindle Fire has an LCD screen.
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