Transportation Security Administration Making Travel Easier?

You know the airport-security drill. Take off your shoes. Empty your pockets. Off with your belt and metal jewelry. But now there’s one less hassle at American checkpoints. As of this past August 16, you can leave your laptop in its bag. If, that is, the bag is “checkpoint-friendly” and TSA-approved.

If you already own a laptop bag, it probably won’t make the cut. But more than 60 manufacturers are coming up with new TSA-approved designs, many of which are available already.

Here’s what to look for when shopping for a new laptop bag:

• There are three approved styles: (1) The “butterfly,” which zips in half and lies flat, with your laptop on one side and the rest of your stuff on the other. (2) The “trifold,” which has a laptop section that folds out. (3) The “sleeve,” a simple laptop case without any bells and whistles.

• Make sure there are no pockets, snaps, zippers, or buckles on the outside of the laptop compartment of the bag. (And keep in mind that the only thing you can put in that compartment is your laptop.)

• Don’t get a bag with thick dividers or emblems/seals on the outside. They give the TSA screener a foggy image.

For more details – and to see some diagrams of acceptable bag designs – check out TSA’s site at