WASHINGTON – To help streamline the security process and better protect laptops, starting August 16 the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will allow passengers to leave their laptop computers in bags that meet new "checkpoint friendly" standards.
This public-private collaboration took just five months to go from concept to reality. TSA reached out to manufacturers in March to design bags that will produce a clear and unobstructed image of the laptop when undergoing X-ray screening. Designs meeting this objective will enable TSA to allow laptops to remain in bags for screening. More than 60 manufacturers responded and 40 submitted prototypes for testing.
"This is a solid example of government collaborating with the private sector to conceptualize and produce a product that really works to improve and advance the security process," said TSA Administrator Kip Hawley. "We put the challenge out there and bag manufacturers overwhelming responded with innovative products that provide a win-win for travelers and TSA."
For a bag to be considered checkpoint friendly it should meet the following standards:
- A designated laptop-only section
- The laptop-only section completely unfolds to lie flat on the X-ray belt
- No metal snaps, zippers or buckles inside, underneath or on top of the laptop-only section
- No pockets on the inside or outside of the laptop-only section
- Nothing packed in the laptop-only section other than the computer itself.
TSA expects the majority of new bags meeting checkpoint friendly standards to be available for purchase in mid-August. There are a small percentage of bags currently on the market that meet the new standards, include sleeve-like carrying cases without pockets or zippers. These bag types have been tested and can produce a clear, unobstructed image as long as nothing else is in the case.
TSA is not approving or endorsing any bag design or manufacturer and will only allow laptops to stay in bags through screening if they provide a clear and unobstructed X-ray image of the laptop.
For images of checkpoint friendly designs and guidance on use, please visit www.tsa.gov.