TSA & Mac Air & Other Small Electronics

I have just purchased an 11" wide Apple Mac Air for my wife for travel. It weighs 2.4lbs. She has a nice Apple Mac Pro 17" but this will be much easier for travel. It weighs 8 ounces more than my iPAD. I was very curious as to whether or not this smaller computer had to be placed in its own TSA gray container for separate screening. I was curious because my new iPAD ended up falling to the floor a couple of years ago as the containers squeezed together and the iPAD container did not have enough weight to hold it level. It rose up in the air like ice sheets in the Arctic and out it came. The iPAD was OK but I was really upset. (I learned later that the iPAD does not have to be separated out for screening). With the Mac Air being an actual computer, does it have to be separated out and placed in its own container. I have the answer below.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7972 posts

Everything varies by airport. Airports vary by day. Lines vary on the same day.

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6705 posts

I believe I have the answer. Mac Observer is reporting that you can leave your 11.6" wide Apple Mac Air in your carry-on travel bags. Here's the link to the Mac Observer website. http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/tsa_11.6-inch_macbook_air_is_bag-safe/ Note that this exemption applies only to the smaller 11.6" wide Mac Air. The 13" wide Mac Air still needs to be removed for separate screening at this time. I have been reading the TSA blog (http://blog.tsa.gov) and their headline says "Apple MacBook Airs Cleared for Takeoff". This only means that the TSA staff are aware and know what they are. As stated above, only the 11.6"wide model can stay in your carry-on bags like your iPAD, Kinder, other E-readers, etc. Here's a link to a second issue of the TSA blog that explains further about other small electronic devices. http://blog.tsa.gov/2010/11/macbook-airs-along-with-many-other.html

Posted by George
Canada
818 posts

I have yet to go through security in Canada, US, or Europe where they haven't demanded the laptop to be out in the open (as for MB Airs - this may be akin to arguing that there's less than 100 ml of goop in the 200 ml container - and I've seen a lot of that.) As for the iPad, you don't have to show it in Canada, it has been hit and miss in the US, and I've always had to pull it out in Europe.

Posted by Marty
Rockville, MD, USA
70 posts

Ooh, I just learned something. I've been pulling out my 11" MacBook Air (still in a neoprene case) and putting it in a bin (always with one shoe for later identification) but leaving my Nook in the backpack because the staff were calling out "Computers need a bin, ereaders do not." Thanks!

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7675 posts

I asked at O'Hare last Wednesday if my little 10" netbook had to come out of my bag, and they said no. But at the actual scanner, they said it needed to. When I said the other person told me netbooks were exempt, he said, "Well, this is really a small laptop, not a netbook". The manufacturer calls it a netbook but whatever. Ed has the right answer. Mac doesn't make the rules.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7972 posts

....... and other nations do not have the same rules as the TSA.

Posted by Karen
Santa Rosa, CA
608 posts

It's never consistent. Just got back from a 10 day trip with 6 flight segments over the 10 days, including to Montreal. In Denver, we did not have to remove laptops, liquids, or take off shoes. Apparently TSA were conducting a test in Denver. Yesterday in Chicago, the TSA agents were telling people that notebooks could remain in carry on (first time I'd heard TSA communicate this info). I cleared US customs in Montreal, not Chicago upon return to US.
Last year in Frankfurt while going through security between our connections, they pulled my back pack aside to search, and found my Kindle, then put the backpack through the x-ray again. First and only time that's happened.

Posted by Maggie
Boscombe, Dorset, UK
960 posts

This summer I have flown into and out of London to Vienna and Verona. Every time I was required to take my Mac Air out and put it in a separate tray at security.