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Will New Laptop Bags Security Rules Improve Travel?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on July 02, 2008

A lot of business travelers out there are probably rejoicing over recent rules changes from the Transportation Security Administration that will relax policies mandating all laptops be taken out of travel bags while going through security.
For those who’ve always wondered, the TSA’s original laptop removal mandate came after screeners had a tough time seeing through the materials, cords, cases and other electronic gear that many of us now cram into carry-on bags.
As someone who travels to far too many conventions where airport lines extend for what seem like miles as people pull out laptops, take off shoes and other gear, it seems a welcome way to speed up the logjam.
Still, relief may be a long time coming. The new policy as written is sure to generate more confusion than relief in early going. That’s because the TSA is letting laptop bag makers such as Targus, Kensington and Pathfinder Luggage come up with their own designs to let security screeners easily X-ray new bags coming to market this fall to see what’s inside.
Many of the bags will be sleek foam-and-nylon concoctions, with few extra pockets in which to stuff extraneous gear. The bag manufacturers will be able to label the new cases “checkpoint-friendly,” but because the TSA does not formally approve the designs, screeners still will have the right to stop a bag after it’s been run through X-ray and conduct a search.
And rather than shell out $30 to $200 for a new bag, some travelers are likely to try to game the system by leaving their laptops in older bags and taking their chances.
The upshot? In the short term, we might have to deal with even longer lines.

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Reader Comments


July 6, 2008 12:33 PM

How about we just do away with all this security crap and let people board from the curb like they could in the 50s and 60s?


August 13, 2008 01:36 PM

I've been using my Waterfield sleeve with their Cozmo bag for three years. I take out the sleeve (with laptop inside), put it on the conveyor belt, and through it goes.... I've never had any problems, including on recent travel. I'd rather use this system, even though I need to take out and reinsert my sleeve (takes just a few seconds) than buy one of those ugly bags I've seen recently on the market.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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