11-inch MBA Can Stay in the Bag: TSA
Air passengers in the US can leave the 11.6 inch MacBook Air in their carry-on luggage, according to a ruling by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA). However, the 13.3-inch MacBook Air is still under review by the TSA at the time of this writing, and security staff may still ask travelers to take out the smaller MacBook Air if the bag it is in is too cluttered.
Anything that is considered "standard laptop size" must come out for inspection, unless it is in a special bag that has been certified as "checkpoint friendly" by the TSA, the government agency in charge of ensuring airfreight security in the US. The problem is - as with many things involving the TSA - the rule on what is defined as "standard" is maddeningly unclear. A TSA spokesperson told PCWorld
that anything "similar in size to an iPad" can stay in the bag. The iPad is 242.8 mm x 189.7 mm x 13.4 mm versus 300 mm x 192 mm x 17 mm for the MacBook Air. However, I've never been able to leave my 261 mm x 182.5 mm x 24 mm hackintoshed Dell Mini 10 in my carry-on bag, and I regularly see other netbooks riding the conveyor belt in their own trays.
As the TSA's "Blogger Bob
" (wow, really?) explains: "officers are trained to look for anomalies to help keep air travel safe, and if something needs a closer look, it will receive secondary screening." The issue seems more tied to the number of items in the bag: "The key to avoiding bag searches is keeping the clutter down, says "Bob", adding that "the less clutter you have in your bag, the less likely it will be searched."