Tools: When you can't take your laptop on the plane

Subject: Tools: When you can't take your laptop on the plane
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: CEL <copyediting-l -at- listserv -dot- indiana -dot- edu>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2006 11:33:39 -0400

Thought this might be of interest to anyone who has to travel with laptops (which includes many of us). Needless to say, regulations will vary and are likely to change repeatedly over the next few months, but it's reassuring to see a dose of sanity returning.

Excerpt from issue #11.34 of the Woody's Office Watch newsletter (

There has been a lot of mis-information about the current increased security precautions. In particular, the much publicized rules about 'no carry on except in a clear plastic bag' which only applied to OUTgoing flights from the UK. Flights to, from and within the USA applied greater checks of carry-on luggage but only liquids/gels were banned from carry-on items - you could still take on books, laptops and electronic devices.

Ex-UK flight rules [i.e., for flights leaving the U.K.--GH] have been changed to read "All Laptops and large electrical items (eg hairdryer) are now permitted however they must be removed from the carry on bag at screening and placed in a provided tray." http://

Note that you may have to insist (gently but firmly) on your rights, since not all airport staff will be up to speed on the regulations. It may be worthwhile asking to speak to a manager. Just don't get visibly upset or start abusing the staff, or you're going to be carted off by security.

If the airline does insist that you put your laptop or other electronics in checked luggage, take appropriate precautions (back up your data if you're lucky enough to have a CD-R in the bag or access to a wi-fi hotspot in the travellers' lounge and can e-mail files to yourself or upload them to your Web site), and insist that someone in authority sign a note on airline stationery guaranteeing that if the laptop is stolen or is crushed by baggage handlers, the airline will reimburse you for your loss.
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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca

(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)

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