When the TSA announced that they were going to allow approved carry-on bags so travelers didn’t have to take their laptops out while going through security, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one. Thanks to Staples (the office supply superstore), who sent me one of their TSA-approved Samsonite Checkmate Business and Casual Laptop Bags ($79.99), I was able to test them out. The bags all have several compartments and they all have a designated laptop-only section that completely unfolds to lie flat on the X-ray belt. It makes airport screening so much easier. And all the TSA officers I spoke to said they’d heard about them but that this was the first time they’d seen one. So they were just as excited as I was. I thought they would ask me to take the laptop out but they didn’t.
In fact, I have used it four times now and have had no problems whatsoever. Although, I do get a lot of evil stares from travelers behind me who think that I’m going to hold up the line when they tell me to pull my laptop out. But each time I clear security, those expressions change to something more like, Dang, he’s way too cool! Where can I get one of those bags?
The reason these bags are TSA-approved is because the special designs allow for clear imaging of the devices when moving through the X-ray machine; the rest of the bag’s contents can be put in adjacent compartments. After you quickly pass through the security checkpoint, just quickly fold the bag upright and zip it up. It’s that easy.
Obviously, I definitely recommend this to everyone who travels with a computer, especially since it will not only speed up the security line but you won’t ever leave your laptop behind or damage it like I have in the past. Trying to shove your computer back in your bag while you’re making a mad dash for the plane isn’t healthy for the laptop. FYI: Samsonite isn’t the only manufacturer to make these bags. There are others and Staples also carries Pathfinder and Targus brands. NOTE: The bags will be available in Staples stores and online (Samsonite only) the week of November 16th.