Wednesday, May 09, 2012

TSA rules for electronics and laptops: where does the iPad fit in? Is it a new extra item?

These days, with people needing to stay connected, TSA checkpoint policies at airports can become a major concern.

The basic rule is “1+1” – one carryon, and one other item, which can be a laptop.  The dimensions of the second item cannot add up to more than 36 inches (American Airlines).  TSA says that laptops in approved bags need not be remove (link). It appears as if the maximum size, if a second item, is governed by the 36-inch max for the case.  Netbooks have been popular but not so much recently because of being slower and maybe not as reliable for extended use. Apple's netbook is an Airbook as is much more expensive. 

The TSA writes that netbooks or laptops up to “standard size” in an approved bag do not need to  removed for screening and can count as the “+1” item.

What about bringing an iPad and a netbook (or airbook)?  This would sound necessary because the new iPad still doesn’t do everything well; for significant updating of websites or blogs you probably need your netbook (not for Facebook and twitter only). 

I would seem that the iPad would need to be placed carefully inside the carryon luggage, which should be flexible and sturdy and meet carrier size standards.  It would appear that it should not be carried separately because that would be “2” extra items.  I’ll check further on this.   Keep in mind that other small electronics items, like the cell-phone USB charger and cord, need to be carried, in the same bag (as well as the iPad charger).  I plan to use the new iPad as a hot spot (it’s much more powerful than the MiFi card).  The TSA should be familiar with these traveling arrangements.

I have carried a small camera and Verizon hotspot card and cell phone in a suit jacket and simply put them on the tray, along with shoes and belt, without problems.  But you have to be very careful.  Some airports have mechanically easier security than others.   Think carefully how you dress in the morning and keep it simple.

TSA has this blog reference for packing, here. The TSA also recommends that travelers tape a business card or identification to their laptop computer (or approved laptop bag) and carry on before going through the security checkpoint. 

It has a practical entry on netbooks and readers that doesn’t exactly spell out what is “#2”, here.

Livescience has a reference here.

USA Today also has a reference here.

Update: May 11:  On my network neutrality blog, I have a story mentioning a case where a passenger was not allowed to bring a viola onto carry-on luggage. 

No comments: