A few weeks ago, I posted about the TSA accommodating a new type of laptop bag that can be screened without having to remove the laptop from the case. Dozens of bag vendors are coming out with these new bags in the coming weeks. Today, we see official word from the TSA on how these new policies will work starting August 16th:
"To help streamline the security process and better protect laptops TSA has recently encouraged manufacturers to design bags that will produce a clear and unobstructed image of the laptop when undergoing X-ray screening. A design that meets this objective will enable TSA to allow laptops to remain in bags for screening."
Sounds good, until you get to this part:
"Purchasing one of these bags will not guarantee that you can leave your laptop in your bag for screening. If a TSO finds that the bag does not present a clear and distinct image of the laptop separate from the rest of the bag, the laptop will have to be screened separately."
And just in case you don't get the message, the TSA adds this at the end:
Given TSA’s use of random screening protocols, TSA reserves the right to re-screen any bag or laptop regardless of the design of the bag."
Get ready for a lot of folks with and without these special bags getting their laptops re-screened ahead of you. It'll particularly happen when you're really late for that flight.
As for me, even though I'm a laptop bag geek, I think I'll wait to see how these new bags shake out. In the meantime, I'm still waiting for checkthrough shoes that you don't have to take off at airport screening.