Recently on the blog, we talked about traveling with a laptop. Business travelers are familiar with the routine at the airport security checkpoint - remove shoes from feet, coins from pocket and laptop from case.
But last month, the Transportation Security Administration began allowing laptops to pass through X-ray screening while still in their case or bag. The catch is you have to have the right bag - the new, so-called "checkpoint-friendly" laptop bag.
After testing several prototypes by a variety of manufacturers, TSA came up with some standard do's and dont's for luggage makers, with the goal being to get a clear picture of what's inside the laptop bag. TSA screens laptops to make sure the electronics have not been tampered with - say, to trigger an explosive device. So it's imperative that its workers can see inside the computers.
Several luggage designers came up with bags that seem to meet the criteria, although TSA will not give its seal of approval or endorsement to any specific laptop bag or manufacturer. And workers retain the right to inspect the laptop outside of the bag if they cannot get a clear picture.
Still, expect to see the new bags popping up everywhere soon from a variety of companies, including Mobile Edge, Skooba Design, CODi and Pathfinder Luggage. Generally, the bags have a laptop-only compartment that unfolds in either a butterfly shape, tri-fold or a sleeve. Pricing is expected to be in the $125-$250 range, depending upon the manufacturer.