TSA Checkpoint and rMB- Leave in Bag?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by jfriedman8, May 24, 2015.

  1. jfriedman8 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #1
    When I travel for work, I usually have to bring my work Lenovo, work iPad, and a personal laptop. I am in the market for something in the rMB/ SP3(4) / Surface 3. I am tired of having to take out 2 laptops at every checkpoint, so with the fanless design with the rMB has anyone been able to leave it in their bag?

    Leaving towards waiting it out for a SP4 or just getting the Surface 3 for travel.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Theophil1971 macrumors 6502

    Theophil1971

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2015
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    I have.

    Traveled through 3 airports last week (SJC, SAN, ATL) and went through TSA security at all 3. Had my computer bag with the rMB and iPad Air 2 inside. I left them both zipped in the bag, and passed through without a hitch.
     
  3. hfg, May 24, 2015
    Last edited: May 24, 2015

    hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #3
    Last I checked (a while ago) the regulations stated that notebook computers <13" in size could stay in your bag, along with iPads and iPhones. This was intended to speed up the security lines for all passengers. So ... I started carrying a 11" MacBook Air along with a iPad in my carryon shoulder bag.

    Well, it seems that the individual TSA agents don't necessarily follow what the regulations say, and make their own decisions about notebooks in the bag. I have been challenged about 50% of the time and my carryon subjected to search by the X-Ray agents. I objected the first time, and mentioned that the new head of Homeland Security had just implemented the <13" ruling recently ... and that was a huge mistake. I then got throughly searched, both personally and my carryon bag.

    I now have replaced the 11" MBAir with a 12" Macbook Retina and will continue to leave it in the bag when going through security unless I know or sense that particular airport might be picky about it. I do always have it in a sleeve so that it isn't obvious what computer it is from a casual glance in the X-Ray bin by a stranger, and if possible put my coat or shoes on top of it.

    YMMV .... :)
     
  4. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Denver
    #4
    The MBA 11.6 has a specific TSA exemption but I haven't heard anything about the new 12" rMB yet

    It would not surprise me if the rMB eventually gets an exemption but the TSA works in mysterious ways.

    If you travel a lot you might want to apply for the TSA PRE check program. Then you don't have to take anything out of your bag most of the time.
     
  5. Theophil1971 macrumors 6502

    Theophil1971

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2015
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    I doubt they can tell the difference between the two on X-ray, right? Or,does the scanner's computer know and measure precise dimensions?

    Like I said, I left my rMB in the bag at three separate airport TSA Checkpoints, traveling both directions, and never had an issue...
     
  6. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #6
    I say get a bag like the SwissGear ScanSmart where regardless of size, you don't need to take the laptop out of the bag, just unzip the bag so the laptop part lays flat and is easier to scan.
     
  7. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #7
    Any of the "Checkpoint Friendly" marked bags should be fine for any computer. They are available in both backpack and shoulder type bags and unfold with a transparent panel allowing visual inspection of the laptop without removing it from the bag.
     
  8. jfriedman8 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #8
    Not a bad idea about the approved bags. I'll probably do the TSA Pre, but I do go through a good amount of small regional airports on my return flights.

    The worst part is just the inconsistancy. I used to have an 11.6 MBA and dealt with the 50% of the time having to rescan too.
     
  9. palmwangja macrumors regular

    palmwangja

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2015
    #9
    Why do we have to take a notebook out of the bag in the first place? Just wanted to know the true reason.
     
  10. hfg, May 24, 2015
    Last edited: May 24, 2015

    hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #10
    For pretty much the same reasoning that requires you to remove your shoes when going through security.


    Ever since a "boombox" loaded with explosives brought down an airliner, all computers have to be visually inspected to make sure they aren't dangerous, since the X-Ray can't see through them very well due to the large battery. Sometimes, you will be required to actually boot the computer for the agent to see.
     
  11. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Denver
    #11
    Screener's have complete discretion to more closely inspect anything they arn't sure about. I've run into problem screener's or airports with my 11.6 so it can definitely be variable. But thinner and less complex internals will tend to get through easier.

    Precise dimensions are not displayed by default but there is a rough scale. And the MBA and rMB would look different internally but many screener might not notice or care if nothing looks suspicious. They can allow up.to 13" laptops through and it mostly has to do with how clearly they can see and if anything looks unusual. Stacking electonics can complicate your life - more then one device over another or too much metal can interfere with the view and trigger a close look.
     
  12. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    I'd go with a TSA approved bag or as you pass through security see what they say. It doesn't matter in a sense what we have to say here, if you're in line and the TSA agent in front of you tells you that the laptop has to come out.
     
  13. ZipZap macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #13
    It's not seeing the laptop that matters its powering in it up. These bags make it easy for you to get it out and do so. The agents can inspect anything they want and the rules are immaterial.

    ----------

    Two reasons: 1) power check. 2) bomb chemical sniff.

    ----------

    If they can put a bomb in a shoe they can put a bomb in the thinnest of laptops. The size does not matter.
     
  14. troubleonline macrumors 6502a

    troubleonline

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    Location:
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    #14
    Agree re inconsistency - we usually travel long haul once per year going through minimum of 3 airports and everywhere is different. I usually just travel with my iPad (whether that might change when my rMb arrives) and take it out but then some don't bother or want you to remove. Am usually the person tutting at others for leaving their belt on or phone in ir pocket but it can be easy to slip up when you are tired and jet lagged.

    I have lots of gadgets and often get rescanned and my items tested for chemicals but I understand why it is necessary. This year I had all my gadgets and chargers packed in clear cosmetic bags inside my trolley case which made it easy for me to pack and see where stuff was and I don't think I got rescanned once!
     

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