Not too long ago, the Transportation Security Administration asked laptop bag makers to make a case that didn’t need to be opened at an airport’s security checkpoint. The thinking was that this would speed up inspection lines. As a person who always brings a computer on all trips, a “checkpoint friendly” bag would sure be welcomed.
Mobile Edge, based in Anaheim, just unveiled its ScanFast lineup of three new “Checkpoint friendly” laptop bags (pictured at right). You do need to flip open the case to reveal a see-through slot for the laptop. But you don’t need to take the computer out of the bag.
That’s right — you keep your laptop in its bag. At the airport.
Tipp City, Ohio-based Aerovation claims to be the first one with a bag — the Checkpoint Friendly bag. Interestingly, Aerovation mentions that some customers have complained that they’ve still had to remove their laptops out of the bag. That, says the company, is due to uninformed TSA screeners, who should all be “up to speed by the middle of September.”
Other bag makers who are jumping in include Skooba Designs in Rochester, N.Y., which will start selling its CheckThrough bag later this summer. CODi, the Pennsylvania company mentioned in a recent USA Today article, is also working on one, as is Tustin’s Pathfinder Luggage.
This made me wonder why do we have to take out our laptops from their bags in the first place? Not since before 9/11 do I remember being asked to turn on my laptop while going through security presumably because they wanted to make sure it was indeed a computer. But that hasn’t happened in ages. So, why take it out when the bag goes through the X-ray machine anyway? According to the TSA blog (Who knew the TSA had a blog?), the answer is that officials just want a clear look to make sure the laptop hasn’t been altered or is hiding something.
Anyway, Mobile Edge’s new bags meet the new TSA guidelines for carry-on luggage plus “Checkpoint friendly” criteria, such as no metal snaps or zippers in areas where the laptop would be X-rayed, no thick dividers and nothing longer than 30-inches (otherwise the bag won’t fit on the screen). Plus, coming from Mobile Edge, I know the bags have been tested to protect a laptop from normal travel abuse.
The new bags, pictured below, will be available in late summer for $79.99.
Images courtesy of Mobile Edge.