are laptops allowed in checked baggage?

All laptops, netbooks, etc., must be removed from their cases and placed into a separate bin for x-ray screening.

The laptop computers should also have any accessories such as power cords/chargers and external hard drives removed for inspection separately from the laptop itself.

These items may be placed inside a carry-on bag or case with your other belongings to travel through security checkpoints, or you can check them with your checked luggage at no extra charge(?). They should not be placed in your carry-on, however.

Southwest does not allow to take laptops in checked-in baggage, however you can use computer in the airplane. If it must be shipped, you should pack it well and wrap each item individually in bubble wrap or paper padding.

First of all, you need to remove your laptop from its case. Then place the notebook into a separate bin for x-ray screening along with other items such as CDs, DVDs and other electronic devices that are allowed on board.

Laptops may also require additional screening if they alarm during security inspection. This is an FAA requirement and is designed to detect prohibited items such as knives, weapons and explosives.

Electronics such as cameras, radios and even cell phones will be inspected separately from laptops before the traveler is allowed to board the plane.

Yes, but it must be carried in addition to your other personal items (carry-on and checked baggage). You cannot check laptops as unaccompanied baggage.

However, the size of laptop computers or devices varies by manufacturer; therefore, please contact your airline for specific restrictions.

The exception to this rule is if you are traveling with a support animal (guide dog) that has been trained to go in an overhead compartment while in flight; then it will be considered “unaccompanied” and will not count towards your carry-on limit.

Do you have any special instructions for packing a laptop computer in my checked baggage?  

A:  The primary rule is to pack your laptop as if it were going to be dropped from a great height. A hard case will reduce the likelihood of breakage, as will dropping some absorbent material such as paper towels inside the case before closing it.  I love hearing stories about people’s laptops crashing onto concrete floors from heights of several feet and still being able to use them.

I’m not sure what kind of bag or container I should put my laptop in when I check it.  

As long as it’s closed securely, practically any container will do…from an old gym bag to a small suitcase. If your computer has lots of moving parts (floppy or CD-ROM drives), however, it’s probably best to store it in something that won’t shake around too much in the cargo hold.

What do you recommend for carrying my laptop with me on board?  

I always bring an unused gi bag (for example, one with side pockets for water bottles) on board. My laptop fits securely inside, with room for magazines and other items on top of it…along with beads, barrettes and toothpaste all over the place. BTW, be sure to check if your airline charges separately for carry-on baggage. Some airlines base their fees on weight, not size.

I’m worried about the weight of my laptop in my carry-on bag.  

Everyone’s worried, which is why more and more people are packing their laptops in checked baggage these days. The TSA has done studies that show you’re much more likely to have your laptop damaged when it goes through the x-ray machine in a case than when it is just packed loosely into another bag. If you feel better using a padded case for extra protection, go ahead…but I’d rather send mine through the x-ray machine without any wrapping at all.

What if I want to take my computer on board with me?

You can take your laptop or netbook with you on board, but it must be stowed under the seat in front of you or in an overhead compartment. In some cases, the storage space may be limited and you may have to store it elsewhere on the aircraft.

I’ve been told that I can’t use my laptop while flying.

Most airlines do not permit using laptops during takeoff and landing . Airlines are concerned about interference with communication and airport navigation equipment.

They just don’t want to take any chances that something might interfere with communication between pilots and air traffic controllers or cause electronic devices in the cockpit to malfunction. Some airlines allow passengers to use laptops once they reach cruising altitude, however…if there is no communication equipment within 25 feet of their seats…and when there is no pilot or flight crewmember in those seats.

Airlines define “laptop” as a device with a keyboard and weighing more than 25 pounds. The laptops must be protected from accidental activation during takeoff and landing and it’s always best to inquire about the airline flying you before attempting to use your laptop on board .

Can I charge my laptop inflight?  

Power outlets may not be available for recharging purposes. However, some planes do have power outlets…so if there’s one near your seat, ask the flight attendant if you can plug in your computer—just don’t assume that an outlet will be present where you’re seated. If one isn’t available, then perhaps other passengers will let you use theirs (or even share their AC adapters).

Are there any restrictions on carrying laptops through airports?  

TSA does not prohibit taking computers with you when you pass through security checkpoints. However, if your laptop is one of the models that TSA has determined needs extra screening, then it won’t be allowed unless it is powered completely off. You will have to send it through the scanner in a separate bin or remove the battery and turn it off before sending it through. You may also have to open up some panels on your computer so screeners can see inside for signs of suspicious items…so don’t forget to put everything back exactly as you found it!