Much to the envy of relatives, friends, and those on line with me at airport security checkpoints, the U.S. government has granted me an exemption from having to remove my laptop from my bag during the screening process.
What did I do to earn such special treatment? I simply got one of the first TSA-compliant and scannable bags, the T-Pass brief by Tumi. The T-Pass, available in basic black ballistic nylon, has a laptop-only section, which attaches to the rest of the bag via a full-length zipper. My ThinkPad fits perfectly in the laptop-only compartment and I had no trouble stowing my noise-cancelling headset, laptop and mobile phone chargers, a Nikon digital SLR, and some snacks in the main compartment.
Not only did I get special treatment, but several TSA screeners complimented me (well, Tumi really should get the credit) on the quality of the image. A security officer in Germany (where laptops still have to be removed) thought the concept was super and asked me to perform an experiment, sending the bag through in its normal split state, with nothing on the laptop side and again, with it closed and a scarf next to the laptop. It was clear to both of us how the design of the bag allowed the security officer to clearly see the laptop and he said he hoped that Germany would soon approve such a system.
At the nation’s 452 airports, hundreds of laptops are left behind at checkpoints each day (although a TSA spokesman said that the agency has been extremely successful in reuniting laptop with owner). Leaving the laptop inside its bag allows the business traveler to get through security faster and minimizes the risk of loss.
Tumi T-Pass Medium Capacity Laptop Brief Style 26145
–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.