MacBook Pro gets me hassled at JFK security

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dezeinstein, Oct 31, 2006.

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  1. dezeinstein macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Los Angeles
    On my flight out of JFK yesterday, I took my 17" MacBook Pro out of my combo DSLR/laptop case, as usual, and placed it on its own tray. I walked through the metal detector, and then then everything just stopped. The TSA officer working the monitor called over one, then a second officer, who stared intensely and pointed and discussed quietly whatever they were looking at. I figured it was my Canon DSLR setup, even though it raised no eyebrows days earlier on my flight to NY.

    Well, it turns out it wasn't the camera and lenses. "Is this your laptop?" I was asked sternly. I wasn't about to tell them that Apple doesn't technically consider it a 'laptop' but really a 'portable,' so I just said that yes, it was mine. They asked me if I would mind if they looked more closely at it. I of course said... "of course."

    They walked over to a table and swabbed the entire laptop, focusing closely around the battery. This was very curious to me, since the computer was in sleep mode and so the light on the outside was pulsing. I was wondering why they just didn't 'pop the hood' and see it was a working computer.
    The officer than asked me with a moderate level of suspicion (it's their job!) "What kind of battery is this?" I responded that it was the standard battery that came with the computer. He looked me dead in the eyes trying to figure out what I was trying to hide, and then finally opened the laptop and saw the Macbook awaken to a wallpaper shot of my dog in my back yard.

    He said "we've never seen a battery like this one."

    And then I was free to go. :cool:

    Has this happened to anyone else? The Pro has been out for a while - can't believe mine was the first one they saw...
  2. xiaoyu04 macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2006
    Merced, CA
    maybe the battery was so technologically advanced they were amused by the fact that they were actually looking at a battery ;)
  3. Passante macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2004
    on the sofa
    How can you be a newbie with a join date of 2003 ???

    Sir, please walk through the MacRumors truth detector for us. :p
  4. dezeinstein thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Not sure what makes one a newbie... guess it's because I've been a-lurking here for 3 years and have maybe posted just once or twice?
  5. vniow macrumors G4

    Jul 18, 2002
    I accidentally my whole location.
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Exactly - which is why arn added the Join Date line so people would be able to tell those who truly just joined from those who have been here a long time but are not active posters (but who very well might be active readers).
  7. Gosh macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2006
    Just thinking the other day how the MacBook Pro (nee PowerBook G4) still looks remarkably futuristic.

    Maybe they thought you was an alien? And that was your weapon, and you were trying to take over the world. Just a thought!:D
  8. Grakkle macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2006
    That's just exactly what they do when I put my bagpipe through the least with a bagpipe I can tell them what it is and that usually helps...
  9. xPismo macrumors 6502a


    Nov 21, 2005
    At least your computer was the only thing getting probed and swabbed. They nearly had my clothes off leaving Las Vegas last time. Grrr.

    I wonder what part of the battery monitor circut they went ape shoot over?
  10. Digidesign macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2002
    My guess is that the suspicion was at the X-ray level.

    Check out this X-ray of a Powerbook. With the power cells arranges a certain way, an already on-edge security crew might be suspicious.

    Somehow, I can't see terrorists using macs. PCs on the other hand.... :D
  11. ChickenSwartz macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2006
    I am no expert but that does look quite suspicious.
  12. Warbrain macrumors 603


    Jun 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    To anyone who has no idea what the hell they're looking at, they would be suspicious of an x-rayed laptop. But if people were to use their brains and understand what it is, and if it was really suspicious - like there are no hard drives, etc. in the computer - then it shouldn't be an issue.
  13. Digidesign macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2002
    I agree. And I think for the most part the screeners see more suspicious stuff than we can think of, but have the knowledge (I would hope) of what really is or isn't a threat.

    My guess is that a lot of that comes from seeing familiar patterns on the screens, and with the new MBP, it may have thrown them for a loop with re-designed innards. The other option I can think of is that the guard(s) were just trying to look busy and important and picked on this random MBP to do so. I've seen security guards get all riled up over shoelaces, so that could very well be the case.
  14. Nightkrawler macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2006
    Vienna, Austria

    And another one:

    If anyone has more of this, please post them! (xrays of electronic devices are neat):p
  15. nmamur macrumors member

    Sep 8, 2006
    new york
    i kindda understand what that tsa guy was thinking cause when i first saw the 15inch i thought..."wow this battery is unbelievably kool"...

    i can see how it can look a little suspicious, since its not on one of the corners like other laptops
  16. theiinlive macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2006
    Central PA
    You would have looked like a major dork/ass if you said that. I would have said 'um ok nerd. anyway, so your laptop here...'
  17. DVNIEL macrumors 6502a


    Oct 28, 2003

    Man, you can just see that thermal paste just smothered on in the 2nd picture:D
  18. ruutiveijari macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2005
    Maybe they just thought it might be one of those Sony batteries that can catch fire by themselves?
  19. Deej macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2005
    I've never seen X-Ray pics of a laptop before - they're really cool!! :)
  20. danielbriggs macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    Just out of interest, does it harm the laptop putting through an X-Ray scanner? i.e. the hard drive still magnetically OK? etc. or the screen?

  21. slffl macrumors 65816


    Mar 5, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I don't think they were suspicious of the laptop, but of the battery catching fire on the plane since Dell, Apple, etc, etc did recall all of those bad Sony batteries.
  22. mahonmeister macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2006
    Redlands, CA
    You'd think they would have seen that kind of battery before. Strange.

    Those x-ray pics are awesome!
  23. sierra oscar macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2006
    South Australia, Australia
    that's really a good question. High ISO films can be damaged (among other things) I wonder what sort (if any) degradation of the circuitry this does once or over time?
  24. dgoss macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    These forums should factor in threads read as well as posts when calculating a person's newbie-factor.

    Anyway, on topic, I travel with a 17" MBP and before that 17" PB (yes, I'm a masochist... just went to 15" to increase ease of portability) - I haven't had any issues. I've been on maybe eight or so trips since the batteries started getting press and no one has said anything.

    Overall I find the whole TSA experience (a new theme ride) to be pretty inconsistent.
  25. dezeinstein thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Los Angeles
    true, but

    I'd rather them consider me a major dork/ass than a terrorist. :D
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