TSA X-ray laptop bags hitting shelves in 3-4 months

May 22, 2008
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Being something of a geek, I actually quite enjoy checking out what notebooks people are unpacking when waiting to go through airport security.  However, I'd happily trade that for a quicker check-in, so hearing that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are working with laptop bag manufacturers including Targus and Scooba Design to create X-ray friendly carry-cases is, in today's security-obsessed times, welcome news.  The new bags would exempt owners from needing to unsheathe their notebooks when going through airport screening, and would have be free of image obscuring padding, straps or electronics.

"This is very doable, and we'll be in a position in a couple of months to say people who show up with these types of laptop cases will be able to put them though X-ray machines" Kip Hawley, TSA chief

Fifty-two proposals were sent to the TSA back in March when the agency first invited suggestions for security-friendly bags.  Now the TSA has confirmed that, assuming their criteria are satisfied, travellers will be allowed to bypass the laptop-removal demand.  Some of the prototype designs involve a clamshell case which opens out for scanning rather than requiring the notebook be entirely removed.

While the TSA will not be certifying or approving cases, they will be giving manufacturers and users guidelines for what is acceptable.  It basically boils down to producing an X-ray image "as clear as what you get when a laptop is in a bin."  Targus are aiming to have cases on shelves in three or four months.


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