From the TSA blog:

Electronic items smaller than the standard sized laptop should not need to be removed from your bag or their cases. It’s that simple.

Only electronics the size of a standard laptop or larger (for example Playstation®, Xbox™, or Nintendo®), full-size DVD players, and video cameras that use video cassettes must be removed from their carrying cases and submitted separately for x-ray screening. Removing larger electronics helps us get a better look at them and also allows us to get a better look at the contents of your bag.

I trust that you’re familiar with this TSA directive, announced in April of this year.

What’s not explicitly stated in the TSA blog post I’ve quoted here is the fact that the TSA reserves the right to ask you to remove a netbook or iPad if they would like to examine it more closely, or if their view of it was obstructed.

In a half year of traveling with either an Asus netbook or an iPad (but oddly enough, never both at the same time!) both domestically and internationally, I’ve been asked to remove one of these items (it was the iPad) just once. All in all, and I’m no particular fan of the TSA, it’s been fairly painless.

Those of you who still travel with laptops must of course take them out of your bag, unless you’re using a TSA-compliant laptop bag.

How about you?  Have you had any difficulty traveling with an iPad or netbook, leaving it in your bag when going through the TSA checkpoint?

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5 Comments on Traveling with an iPad or netbook… and the TSA

  1. Andy Mesa says:

    The new MacBook Airs are also checkpoint friendly according to the TSA.

    On my last trip I took just my iPhone 4 and was happier for it. I think it’s an even better experience than an iPad because of the extra features it has (multitasking most of all). My only hassle was having to wait till I got home to upload all the pics on my S90. I wish the USB camera connection kit worked with it, then it’d be perfect.


    Kevin Reply:


    Thanks – you’re right about the MacBook Air. Here’s an article on the subject: (Thx to R.J. Laue)


  2. Adriano says:

    Here in old Europe things seem to be not so clear.
    In the past months I was asked to take off my netbook in some airports (although I haven’t travelled more than once from them, so I can’t tell whether or not they are consistent with this behaviour) whereas on other ones this wasn’t needed.
    Rules shown at many checkpoints say you should scan the 3-1-1 bag and any notebook separately from the rest of your hand luggage.
    Personally I behave in different ways: if I have time, and there is not much queue, I test the security with the all-in-the-carry-on solution. Otherwise, I just follow the rules.


  3. Steve says:

    Recently had two iPads in my bag going through LAX TBIT. After going through the machine the lady asked if I had an iPad in the bag. When I said I also had my wife’s one in there she took them out and put them through the machine separately.

    This was no problem and she was very polite and friendly. I asked if they preferred you to take out iPads and she said only if the bag was full where it may stop the machine getting a good look at all the layers.

    I’ve found the TSA fine during recent trips. I guess it helps to know the procedures though and be ready to move through the screening quickly.


    Kevin Reply:


    Thanks for commenting. I personally don’t have a huge problem with TSA, although their latest move (see post tomorrow – 11/1/10) is a bit of a concern.


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