U.S. airport authorities have introduced a new "checkpoint-friendly" laptop bag procedure, allowing travelers to keep their laptop PCs in their bags during X-rays. The new procedure is implemented with the strict proviso that travelers should carry "checkpoint-friendly" bags that produce clear, unobstructed images of laptops inside.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said it began allowing laptops to remain in "checkpoint friendly" bags during screenings, starting Saturday. TSA provided examples of "checkpoint-friendly" bags, such as the butterfly style, tri-fold style, and sleeve style, which all present clear X-ray images if packed correctly. But bags with inside pockets or pockets outside the laptop-only section, or accordion or backpack style bags, do not present acceptable images. In those cases, the laptop will have to be screened separately.
Not all "checkpoint-friendly" bags will be sent through the X-ray with the laptop inside. When security guards find bags that don’t present a distinct image of the laptop separate from the rest of the bag, the laptop will have to be screened separately. There should be no metal snaps, zippers, buckles or pockets inside, underneath or on top of the laptop-only section. And there should be nothing in the laptop compartment other than the laptop.
As TSA's new policy became known, the American bag manufacturing industry enthusiastically met increasing demand; many are now competing fiercely for pride of place in this emerging niche market. Some 40 firms have already submitted prototypes for testing. Even during a global economic downturn, there's potential for further market growth, considering about 2 million people travel by air every day in the U.S. alone.