Fliers are asked to dump out their beverages, take off their shoes, and go through a number of other time-eating security procedures at the airport--but at least some travelers may not have to unpack their laptops, the Transportation Security Administration announced Friday.
Starting August 16, travelers will not have to remove laptops from bags that are deemed "checkpoint-friendly." This category includes "butterfly style," "sleeve style," and "trifold style" bags. These styles were chosen after the TSA asked bag manufacturers to design bags that would not obstruct the image of a laptop when put through an X-ray machine. A number of bag makers, including Targus and Mobile Edge, have complied.
The new guidelines are meant to "help streamline the security process and better protect laptops," the TSA said in a press release. It noted, however, that using one of the "checkpoint-friendly" bags will not guarantee that a flier will not have to unpack his laptop. "Given TSA's use of random screening protocols, TSA reserves the right to rescreen any bag or laptop," the TSA said. And, while some bags on the market may not obstruct the scan of a laptop, "most current laptop bags will not present a clear X-ray image and should not be sent through the X-ray with the laptop inside."
Even travelers with "checkpoint-friendly" bags should place them on X-ray machines "completely unfolded...so that there is nothing above or below the laptop-only section," the TSA recommended.