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TSA: iPads, Netbooks, Small Devices Can Stay in Your Bag



The TSA clarified that there’s no need to remove devices smaller than a laptop from your carry-on bags before running them through x-ray machines. In a blog post, the TSA stated:

Electronic items smaller than the standard sized laptop should not need to be removed from your bag or their cases. It’s that simple.

TSA doesn’t state what a standard sized laptop is. By my definition, a standard laptop has a 14″ or 15″ display, which means tablets and slates shouldn’t have to be pulled from your bags. Unfortunately, I don’t think this memo’s going to reach every TSA agent and your mileage will vary.

In my experience, there’s not much use trying to explain TSA policy to TSA agents and it’s better to just take your gadgets out of your bag when asked.

For those of you who complain about having to take your computer out of your bag- just be glad the TSA isn’t as thorough as airport security in other parts of the world. I had to completely empty my bags of electronics when traveling in India and it’s not too uncommon for airport security to pull my DSLR bag aside for closer inspection.



  1. Joe

    04/07/2010 at 4:54 pm

    Wow, and I thought I had lots of random crap in my pockets and stuff like that that needed to be put in the bin, until I saw that picture. :D

  2. Brett Gilbertson

    04/07/2010 at 6:14 pm

    I usally have about 6 tablets and UMPCs in my bag which means a conga line of those blue trays going through the X-Ray machine… I long for the good old days of aviation where you didn’t have to remove your belt and shoes to get through the door and you could ride in the cockpit for the flight!

    • SAM

      04/08/2010 at 10:53 am

      Even seeing the pilot is rare these days.

      My brother got to ride in the cockpit when landing at the
      old Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong.

      You could carry your pocket knife and toenail clippers with you too.

  3. Scott

    04/07/2010 at 9:16 pm

    Riiiight. They may *say* that, but I bet the people on the line will still require you to remove them (especially iPad-size devices). Your experience is the norm.

    …a friend and I were leaving Boston after Macworld ’97 and he learned that throwing a portable hard drive and a bunch of wires in a bag was a big no-no. Comical (to me), yes, but very time consuming.

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