Along with the “Please remove your shoes” command, opening your bag to place your laptop on a separate bin has to be one of the most annoying things during airport security. But have you ever wondered, what’s so dangerous about a laptop that requires the use of its own bin? And if it’s an electronics thing, why most tablets and e-Readers can still stay in the bag?
Well, we decided to search for the answer and as it turns out, it all has to do with laptops’ density and complexity.
Laptops are being removed from the bag not just because security wants to check if there are hidden explosives inside the laptop, but because they also want to have a better look at the contents of your bag. Which makes sense actually: having a laptop inside a bag, makes it extremely difficult to see clearly the other components of the bag. To better understand why, have a look at the xray of a typical laptop: (the article continues after the ad)
Due to its complexity, it’s difficult to see what’s underneath – it’s not that hard to slip a knife through security if it’s under a large laptop. Given that officers only have 3 seconds to check each bin if they want to keep the lines moving, by placing the laptop on a separate bin, they have a better look on both the laptop and the bag. But why do other electronics, such as tablets, handheld gaming devices and e-readers can stay in the bag?
Because they are much less dense than a laptop and therefore, security check can more easily evaluate what’s inside your bag. Here’s an xray of an iPad and compare that with the above xray of the laptop:
That being said, if the security officer can’t get a good look on the contents of your bag, you may still be asked to remove any other electronic device that’s inside your bag. The principle is simple and clear: the less clutter, the easier it is to look at the content on your bag so we can all get on our way.