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Laptops in Carry On

The Transportation Safety Administration recommends that air travelers carry their laptops on to their flights instead of placing them inside checked baggage. While traveling with laptops as carry-on items is allowed, and encouraged, there are a number of rules and guidelines that travelers should remember to increase the likelihood that they are able to efficiently board their flights with their laptops.

Laptop Bags

  • As long as you have a TSA-approved laptop bag, you do not actually need to remove your laptop from the bag when going through the security checkpoint. The TSA considers “butterfly-style” laptop bags, “trifold-style” laptop bags and “sleeve” style laptop bags to be TSA-friendly. These kinds of bags offer TSA screeners an unobstructed view of the laptops inside of the bags. Except for the “sleeve” bags, the bags must be opened when they go through security.

Avoid Damage

  • The TSA recommends that flyers bring laptops into the airplane cabin with them as an extra item or inside their carry-on bag. Depending on the size and capacity of the plane on which you are flying, there could be hundreds of pounds of pressure placed on a checked bag that contains a laptop. Combined with low temperatures and high altitudes, there is a very real chance that your screen could be cracked or other damage could occur.


  • Make sure that your laptop is all by itself when it is placed inside of a bin before it goes through the X-Ray machine at the security checkpoint. While you may leave the laptop in a TSA-approved bag, if the bag is not TSA-approved, it must be placed in a different bin than the laptop. Because the security belt moves back and forth, you should try to avoid placing the laptop near other items that may dislodge it.