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Which Laptop Bags Can Go Through Airport Security?

What Makes a Laptop Bag or Sleeve Airport Security-Friendly?

As reader suziryder pointed out, certain laptop sleeves are TSA-approved to head through the airport security X-ray scanner with your laptop still inside. And when you're packing a carry-on full of tech, a TSA-approved sleeve could save you precious time as you approach the security checkpoint.

Wondering which models are TSA-approved? Check out a list of characteristics of checkpoint-friendly bags after the break.

  • The bag must provide a clear and unobstructed view of the device inside.
  • The bag can be one of three styles: sleeve style, butterfly style, or trifold style, as long as the portion containing your laptop can be separated enough from the rest of your bag's contents to be screened appropriately.
  • Bags should not have features like pockets, metal zippers, or snaps that obstruct the agent's view of your computer on either side.
  • Logos, emblems, or other branding marks may get in the way of an agent's ability to see the X-ray clearly.
  • Accessories and power cords should stay out of the case; even if there's room; only the laptop should be inside.

Of course, the TSA reserves the right to ask you to remove the device. According to its website, "Purchasing one of these bags will not guarantee that you can leave your laptop in your bag for screening. If a Transportation Security Officer finds that the bag does not present a clear and distinct image of the laptop separate from the rest of the bag, the laptop must be screened separately."

So, just because a bag appears to meet these criteria doesn't mean it's definitely going to make it through. But if you're looking for a checkpoint-friendly bag or case, aim for something simple with no metal details (including the zipper), that looks like it will provide an unobstructed view of your computer.

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