back to article TSA says 'checkpoint friendly' laptop bags on the way

US airline travelers may have an opportunity to skip one particular round of manhandling by Transportation Security Administration agents this year. The agency says passengers using new specially designed "checkpoint friendly" laptop bags won't need to remove their portable from its case when passing through x-ray inspection …

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  1. Herby Silver badge

    What about my $10 IKEA bag

    It works perfectly well, and encloses my laptop. They'll probably get over $100 for some name brand designer bag anyway.

    Oh, sorry, make that over $1000 for the "TSA Friendly" logo.

    What a waste. Just use a lead lined one and hide everything! A nice black blob!

  2. rasputinsDog
    Black Helicopters

    I assume ...

    though that this doesn't absolve one from intra-laptop searches. Carefull about those "holiday photos" wink, wink nudge, nudge.

  3. CTG
    Alert

    Yeah right

    The fact that they won't be officially endorsed means that the average no-neck security plod will just go ahead and tell you to take it out the bag anyway. Bear in mind that these are people who think that security is best served by shouting at everyone. People who think that aircraft-threatening quantities of explosive can be carried in a 300ml drink bottle. People who tell you to walk down a completely empty 50m roped walkway rather than going straight to the front of the line.

  4. Winston Smith
    Pirate

    "Now if only they can come up with human-sized bags."

    Oh, they have those already, mainly for return trips from Iraq & Afghanistan. And for added security, they're never photographed so the public might see how many of them there are.

    More on-topic: "Hawley claims, however, there won't be any confusion about what passes or not because security officers will be well informed about them."

    I see no chance for confusion, then. The rent-a-cop with the metal wand surely knows just how to tell *your* bag from the old-fashioned checkpoint-unfriendly ones.

  5. Scott

    First things first

    "Hawley claims, however, there won't be any confusion about what passes or not because security officers will be well informed about them."

    Now if only airport security staff were as well-informed about the differences between a T-Shirt with Optimus Prime on it and an actual weapon.

  6. Will
    Paris Hilton

    tsa and friendly in same sentance

    rub eyes..

    look again,,,

    rub eyes...

    go get red bull

  7. anonymous
    Black Helicopters

    Our safety

    Sure, we will have TSA approved laptop cases-----but wait , if we standardize all airport locations for inspection, then the bad guys will know what to do as they come into the airport security.

  8. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    And pigs might fly!

    As if this will have any effect on the brain dead neanderthals who inhabit most American airport security positions.

    Just wait for the first news report of some poor sap being tazered to death because he asked why he had to take his laptop out of his TSA approved laptop bag...

  9. Ian

    Heathrow T5

    Last month travelling through T5 they didnt want the laptop taken out of the bag but did want me to take my shoes off. Frankly I dont think they have a clue what they are looking for and it is all just to make the punters feel safe.

  10. Mel Collins

    Well-informed security officers

    Hah!

  11. Geoff Johnson

    security officers will be well informed about them

    That's a first.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the carnage

    Can you imagine the carnage in future.

    Hawaiian shirted visitor from overseas to airport security as queue backs up and looks on murderously.

    "No look, I don't need to take my lap top out it's a TSA X-ray friendly one."

    "That's as maybe sir but this is BAA and we do it differently here. And are you sure you haven't hidden a picture of Optimus Prime in that shirt?" Etc. etc.

  13. Nomen Publicus
    Linux

    TSA = Monty Python Sketch

    Anyone else think that the TSA is something straight out of Monty Python? Can't be long before Kip (!?) will be asking for sharp rotating blades to be installed.

    Penguin, because the one on your TV is about to explode.

  14. Ondrej Doubek
    Boffin

    the problem is not with the bags...

    The problem here is that most airport personal does not know the reasons behind those security regulations themselves.

    True, the reason I have to remove the laptop is that the machine can't be properly identified when overlaid with external hard drives, power cables, etc.

    I carry my laptop in a second, thin, one layer sleeve for extra protection. When I take it out of the 'big' bag for scanning most airport personnel still demands I remove the sleeve as well.

    Why? Because someone told them the laptop cannot be in a bag and the sleeve looks like a bag.

    Another example: I carry my liquids in a little bag _especially designed_ for air travel. It is of sturdy transparent material, with a robust zipper, 800ml in volume, filled with transparent small plastic bottles of 50ml and 80ml where I fill in what I need from the bigger bottles. All requirements for transporting liquids in Your hand luggage are more than met. You wouldn't believe how often I have to remove the liquids from that bag and stuff them into a phony ziplock.

    If airport personnel would be properly educated about the reasons behind the regulations they are enforcing they would know that 0.something millimeters of fabric have no effect on the x-rays scanning the machine, as well as the regulation for liqids is not "has to be in a ziplock bag" but "has to be in a transparent bag of max. 1000ml volume yadaydda"

    Oh, but wait!

    That would require to actually hire smart people to do the job and not monkeys, and invest in education before releasing them on the crowd.

    I am afraid the new laptop bags will not work as expected...

  15. Jeff

    That's a good one

    "Hawley claims, however, there won't be any confusion about what passes or not because security officers will be well informed about them."

    Well informed TSA officials. Hur hur hur.

  16. dervheid
    Coat

    "won't be any confusion"

    Why? Are they going to employ inspectors that actually HAVE a brain, AND know how to use it? Cuz the trolls they currently use display NO hint of intelligence.

    The one being rifled at the security check-point.

  17. Chris
    Stop

    So let me just check...

    that all airport security worldwide will be informed, trained and de-programmed of the urge to 'remove that from he bag please sir' when seeing a generic laptop case...... Why do I expect that the extra price that will undoubtedly be added onto these for the 'business traveler' market will _not_ be spent on such a thing.

    Unless, on all sides of the bag, big red letters spell ' CHECKPOINT FRIENDLY LAPTOP BAG ' in many amusing languages. Which they'll ignore because I'll be getting a big red marker pen and doing the same. If someone hasn't nicked my laptop first.

    Maybe the MoD may wish to try this, but deploy 'DON'T STEAL THESE SECRETS', or simply 'DON'T LEAVE ON THE TRAIN'.

  18. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    People buy these thing?

    The last thing I want to carry on a dark London backstreet is a bag which which announces: "I have an expensive laptop, please rob me!"

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Security? Yeh right

    We all know tjhe regulations and enforcement of onboard baggage screening at airports (especially US ones) is all about visible measure to be seen to do things and not really about security.

    I recent experience summed it up for me. I travelled to and around the US on business recently and as I have come to expect "security" checks were a nightname. Having to remove PC from bag, take of overcoat, shoes, belt (even though it's light metal buckle never sets off detectors they see "shinny" and insist). Not once did the grunts looking at the Xray machines ever ask me to take anything from my bag. Then about a week later I had to go to Lisbon on business, BAA security was slightly more polite than TSA and did not ask me to take off belt or remove laptop from bag. bag allowed through without comment. On return from Lisbon again no need to remove laptop from bag or take off belt or shoes but a vigellent security lady asked to check through my bag. Inside she found a very large corkscrew I forgot I had in it - result of a hotel room party some months ago. I was extremely embarassed as it was definitely the sort of thing that would have made an excellent weapon although the security people were very friendly and polite and just let me surrender it. They even gave me a leaflet that explained for a fee I could pay for it to be securely forwarded to somewhere for a fee. The thing is, that corkscrew had been in my bag on all those transatlantic and US internal flights and not been spotted once.

    Score: Portugal Security 1, TSA 0, BAA 0

  20. Monkey

    US airport security...

    ...decide what they want to do on a whim. This will make NO difference. At the tail end of a very long haul flight I went through to my connection yawning, feeling unwell, white in the face and exhausted. I was taken aside and had my hand luggage ripped apart and inspected taking everything to pieces. When I asked why I was told "because you behaved in a way that raised my suspicions". I asked what that was and it was the fact that I was yawning and appeared to me non-communicative... Can you imagine when you say “oh no it’s okay my bag is special I don’t need to take the laptop out”, what will happen? Taken aside into a room, strip searched and questioned about links to terrorist activities.

  21. Mark W

    But...

    The last couple of times I've flown to the US through LHR (T3 I think...) I didn't have to take my laptop out of my regular bog-standard bag.

    In fact I got told off by the security wench when I tried to do so...

  22. Ian Tunnacliffe
    Unhappy

    Won't work

    In the years after 9/11 a couple of shoe manufacturers started to make shoes without metal stiffeners expressly for the use of travellers who had to pass through TSA checks. I had a pair of these and they were fine for about 6 months until one day I was told to take them off. When I pointed out that there was no metal in them and that they were specifically designed for the purpose I was told "We're not looking for metal - take them off". So I took them off and walked through the metal detector.

    The checks have almost zero practical purpose and They are almost 100% about P/R and image.

    Where is the icon for hyper expensive mega stupidity when you need it?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    My laptop bag isn't checkpoint friendly

    It has a stencil of Optimus Prime on the front.

  24. Steve
    Flame

    ...there won't be any confusion about what passes...

    Fat chance. Even within one airport the security hitlers (sorry, Godwin) don't all apply the same rules, never mind when connecting through different airports on a long journey. Train the security monkeys consistently first, then worry about designer laptop bags.

    Better yet, forget the its-only-for-show-anyway security crap and just get the planes there on time.

  25. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Welcome to terminal three...

    For your comfort and safety, the security scanning of yourself and your luggage will be undertaken by employees who are the cheapest we could get. We haven't bothered training them because we expect them to walk in a month, or sooner if they can get a better job.

    Have a nice day...

    (Rio last week: laptop out of bag. Power supply out of bag. Phone chargers out of bag. Phones out of bag. PDA out of bag. Paperback books out of bag. Thank you. Now remove belt, boots, watch, wallet, flight documents, passport, keys, pen, coins...)

  26. Bryan B
    Unhappy

    Cheapskate Americans

    instead of putting the onus on the travelling public, the TSA could do what some of the UK airports have done and get better scanners - at London Heathrow, signs now instruct travellers NOT to remove laptops from hand luggage.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PR stunt. AND DON'T GO TO FRANKFURT!!

    @Ian • Wednesday 2nd July 2008 04:09 GMT

    "Last month travelling through T5 they didnt want the laptop taken out of the bag but did want me to take my shoes off. Frankly I dont think they have a clue what they are looking for and it is all just to make the punters feel safe."

    Lets face it, if somebody wants to cause carnage you're gonna have to be very, very fortunate to pre-empt IT.

    All the hoo-ha with liquids is just a PR stunt - if you can do damage with 300ml, but not 100ml, what's to stop three people taking 100ml and getting seats together.. Doooomed. They just have to look like they're doing something - if the liquids were a problem they'd be banned out-right.

    Just don't EVER go to Frankfurt airport - they wouldn't even let us take the USB stick out of the bag - it's far better to stare at an X-ray machine for 25 minutes first. And then take it out of the bag. And stare at it. For another 15 minutes. And then have a second security check-point 15-yards later!! Where they make you take your shoes off again. And your belt. By which time your plane is long gone and they want a further 300$ to cover their ineptness. BA*&ARDS!!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    TSA == Morons

    When was the last time that these numpties came up with a security proposal that actually increased security or was of negligible inconvenience to the travellers? Perish the thought that they'd ever make a propsal that makes travelling easier or less stressful or invasive.

    In the name of "Security" they've gone and terrorized an entire generation of travellers more than Osama binliner could have ever dreamed of doing!

    And there are still plenty of suckers that think it is their Patriotic duty to put up with all the shit without even a sigh of complaint - though the lack of complaint is probably more due to fear of the ridiculous powers that the rent-a-cop wields.

    So the TSA has idiot managers and bureaucrats setting policy (backed by a bunch of control freak government fear-mongers) and a bunch of low-wage unquestioning, morons enforcing the policy...

    Once-upon-a-time I used to enjoy flying...

  29. Richard
    Boffin

    Blatant site pimping - but definitely on topic so please approve

    I'm trying to collect a catalogue of blatant security screw ups or misconceptions. I would be most grateful to hear of your experiences whilst "negotiating" with airport security. Either email me at admin@scareports.com or drop us a note on the website (which I'm sure you can figure out what it is from the email address there).

    Cheers,

    Rich.

    Goggles as ... well I don't see them that often now....

  30. CM

    Darn laptops

    Some of the London airports now want the laptop left in its bag. Their x-ray machines can see through the laptop to what they consider to be more important items to check. That means - from personal experience, in particular anything that shows up as a long thin metallic line: mini printers, mini scanners get extra attention. This move is smarter, even though the space left by a removed laptop can hold a lot of other items and allow me to bring the equivalent of 2 bags through.

    Some airports = Heathrow & Gatwick, not Luton (hell) or Stansted. The random acts of senseless belt/shoe removal, or not, continue.

  31. Aron A Aardvark

    @ss/elbow confusion

    "That would require to actually hire smart people to do the job and not monkeys, and invest in education before releasing them on the crowd."

    The TSA goon at the Nuevo Laredo/Laredo crossing asked me what ‘next of kin’, written in the back of my passport, meant. When I told him, he asked where he was. Now you’d have thought they would teach them that on day one at immigration school. When I left the US at Atlanta I was quizzed as to why the Laredo goons had written in my passport – something they shouldn’t do apparently. So I would agree that this security bunkum is all about little men swinging their weight around, looking like they’re doing something when in fact, they don’t know their @ss from their elbow.

  32. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Pirate

    Of course we're all forgetting something..

    The security friendly bags simply have a compartment that opens out so the laptop doesn't obscure the rest of the bag... it's not rocket science.

    Mind you, that's not going to work when I go through with *two* laptops - or given the cost of the Aspire One when it's available, possibly *three*...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I were a terrorist

    I'd blow myself up in the check in queue at terminal 4 midday.

    Bottlenecks assure new high score.

  34. Gordon

    It's all a waste of time.

    To be honest, the security people are so quick to tell us what they've done to "insure your safety" they actually do more harm than good. They set out their stall for all the terrorists to see, so people can plan exactly how to get around the measures in place. A lot of it is about reassuring passengers, because if someone wants to bring down a plane, they probably will (sooner or later).

    It would help if the security staff were generally alert, motivated and smart enough to understand what they're trying to achieve, rather than just go through the motions. I can think of few things duller, though, than their jobs. And boredom is a major problem. After you've spent the first 2 weeks watching briefcases on a conveyor and asking people to take off their wristwatch before walking through a scanner, don't you think YOU would be bored - and your dedication would start to falter? I'm afraid we're up against human nature there. The fact is that after a month of doing repetative, dull work and being given the distinct impression you're resented by the very people you're supposed to be protecting and paid sod-all for this you're going to start to take the view that the last million bags contained a grand total of NO bombs, so the chances of you finding one now and practically...Zero....

    Sorry. But you cannot blame the security drones. They're just being human.

  35. Tim Brown
    Happy

    Time for a real test...

    At some point, a demonstration should be set up where a group of ex-special forces people join a flight, naked and without luggage. They then proceed to hi-jack a plane using improvised weapons from items already on the plane...

    It would be interesting to see what regulations the airports come up with then!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Security SNAFU

    "...Portugal Security 1, TSA 0, BAA 0..."

    Score 1 for Austria Security too. Unless a dual-walled stainless steel thermos comes up as anything other than opaque to British scanners... Had one in my hand luggage on the way to a skiing holiday. The Gatwick goon was preoccupied with being officiously surly while failing to read the "100ml" label on the shampoo bottle and didn't sk to see what was inside the thermos (socks). The Austrian guard good naturedly asked to see the flask, which I'd been expecting at both points.

    Though I'd've thought that the void would be enough to hold some sort of destructive chemical, hermetically sealed against chemical detection measures.

  37. TimM

    Take out or leave in? Different rules for US and UK

    Heathrow (and others?) now insist you leave laptops in the bag and get uptight if you take them out. I think they have better x-ray systems or something now.

    However don't dare to do the same in the US thinking the same rule applies!

    Get a right ticking off if you don't take them out of the bag. Oh, and make sure you carry your boarding pass and passport with you through the detector otherwise they get very upset too if you've put it in the bag for x-ray (despite it having already been checked, they want to check again before you can collect your bag). Do it wrong and you go to the back of the queue and are treated like you've just robbed a bank!

    Oh and same goes for liquids. Rules relaxed in UK, but US still fuss over tiny bottles of liquid.

  38. Bhavin Desai
    Flame

    Why the fuss about liquids?

    What about Semtex and C4, which are more like a plastic or a paste?

  39. Peyton
    Thumb Down

    Once again they've missed the obvious

    Removing my laptop from its and placing it in a little plastic bin is not what causes me to get frustrated at the security checkpoint. Waiting in line for 20 minutes for 1 of the 2 open checkpoints - in spite of the fact that there are a total of EIGHT at my local airport - is the source of my frustration.

    In my experience, the laptop-laden travelers are not the source of slowdowns at the airport - it's always the infrequent fliers (families with 20 kids, 90-year-old grandmas, etc) that cause the delays.

  40. Nigel Titley

    Flying Pigs

    About 2 years ago, my wife and I went for a trip to Amsterdam. While there we found, in an antique shop, a pair of beautiful cast-iron money boxes in the shape of pigs with wings which we duly bought, wrapped in bubble wrap and put in my wife's carry-on bag.

    When we came back through Schipol security the security goons were obviously having trouble with the image on the X-ray and eventually asked my wife what was in the bag. "Flying Pigs", she replied, and was waved through without further comment...

  41. TheHempKnight

    How come..

    Heathrow has the technology in it's scanners to be able to circumvent this annoying and time-consuming regulation, yet the main airport in Boston, MA (and apparently all other US aiports) don't?

    I was livid when a yankee scanner monkey recently manhandled my laptop out of it's bag, actually DROPPED it into a tray and then refused to put it back in the bag at the other end. I am currently in the process of suing because the drop screwed up my hard drive and my laptop never started again after. There's only so much shock absorbency tech can do.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plastique...

    ...is difficult to hide Bhavin. It contains volatile compounds that are readily sniffed and leave detectable traces all over the place. So-called binary explosive components are less readily identifiable (if you don't count their noxious and corrosive nature) and so the claim is that they are more easily smuggled on board. They also need far more to do serious damage to an airframe than plastique does.

    Still, a couple of enormo-suitcases filled with glass bottles of diesel-fertiliser explosive and lined with a few layers of epoxy-fixed ballbearings and coachbolts or petroleum jelly and white phosphorus wouldn't attract any notice in an airport checkin concourse or a busy tube/rail station and could probably kill a decent number. That they'd exceed baggage allowance wouldn't be important since they'd never make it to check-in. those airport bombers made a mistake trying to get vehicles into an area where peds are allowed with big bags.

  43. Paul

    Well-informed

    "there won't be any confusion about what passes or not because security officers will be well informed"

    Well *that* would surely be a first.

    These are the same people who think that images of guns and bombs (e.g. on a t-shirt) pose a threat to air safety. I'm not exactly confident that these bags will make a difference to the misery that is air travel today.

  44. Grant

    bahavioural profiling monkey?

    MONKEY: "At the tail end of a very long haul flight I went through to my connection yawning, feeling unwell, white in the face and exhausted. I was taken aside and had my hand luggage ripped apart and inspected taking everything to pieces. When I asked why I was told "because you behaved in a way that raised my suspicions". I asked what that was and it was the fact that I was yawning and appeared to me non-communicative..."

    I (and my laptop) got swabbed for explosives as I was in the transit area *after* a 16 hour flight (which was a transfer from another flight - so I had already been screened twice) - I asked the guy why and apparently it was because I was "looking bored and listless and uninterested in what was around me". I didn't realise this was unusual after a long haul in cattle class.

    Actually I think it was because he was bored and listless and just wanted to do something. At least he was friendly (it was in Sydney).

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    remember it's all theatre

    So you're never going to be safer. Your only hope is that you p1ss off the TSA so they put you on their secret no-fly list and you won't have to worry about ever flying again. Yes, they are retarded. Yes, the whole theatre thing is retarded. No, you are not safer. I was safer 20 years ago when I used to fly with my keys in one pocket and my pocket-knife in the other and nobody ever blinked at that or the big bottle of shampoo in the bag. These folks are total morons and none of this is going away as long as the fear-tards(TM) are in charge.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Grant who was bored and listlless in Oz...

    That was nice of him to try and pep you up and engage you in the real world once again.

  47. gollux

    ALL NEW BAGS FOR SALE...

    GET YOUR TSA APPROVED "EASY STEAL" LAPTOP BAGS HERE.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Don't know if this is the same in the rest of the world........

    I like to buy my tickets as late as possible. Usually I can get a fairly decent deal by airlines that are trying to fill seats rather than fly a half empty plane. Every time I have bought them within three days of departure, I am "randomly" selected for "additional screening."

    So basically if you're a terrorist - book your ticket in advance. Oh, and if you want to know if you've been "secretly" selected there will be a big line of SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSes on your ticket or a huge X. That way you can get another ticket and go through a less thorough screening.

    You'd have to be a Gomer Pyle to get caught by the TSA. Their only point is to make it look like the government is protecting us.

    Posted anonymously so I don't get rendered to Gitmo.

  49. anonymous
    Coat

    Corkscrew on aircraft

    Unless things have changed again, corkscrews are allowed on US aircraft. Pity, you can have a tool, but not the means for properly benefiting from correct tool usage.

  50. Stratman
    Thumb Up

    Re Corkscrew on aircraft

    Ever since America's War on Freedom started (coincidentally on the same day that terrorism was invented. It's not as if the effing hypocrites had been funding those murdering bastards in Northern Ireland for decades or anything like that ) I have taken great joy in carrying on board in my hand baggage a very pointy and sharp plastic corkscrew. Because I can.

    I suppose my pleasure will finally end when they get goons with opposable thumbs.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Checkpoint Bags

    Quite a bit of interesting information (both factual and company/marketing oriented) at www.checkthrough.com. If done properly there is no reason this can't help improve a broken system.

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