Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TSA-approved laptop bags: $220+

The US Transportation Safety Administration's recent relaxation of rules on removing laptops from luggage at airport checkpoints, carried an announcement of soon-to-be available TSA pre-approved bags. This fall, we should see the first.

"The Checkpoint Flyer" by Tom Bihn adheres to TSA guidelines as presented in the group's five-month design challenge. To achieve this, it integrates a protective laptop sleeve into a messenger-style bag that allows the two to be separated for scanning in "less than three seconds" (re-attachment times were not included).

TSA-approved laptop bags: $220+

Tom Bihn is taking pre-orders for the Checkpoint Flyer and expects to ship by mid-September.

Other companies that participated in the TSA challenge will be releasing their products in the fall as well. Skooba Design, which has already revealed pre-production designs for its "Checkthrough" model, plans to be ready to ship in October, but has not yet disclosed its prices. Mobile Edge launched its ScanFast checkpoint-friendly designs in July, which pre-order for $99.99, and will ship on September 30. These represent the lower end of the pricing scale for checkpoint-safe laptop transport.

Luggage manufacturer Briggs and Riley, which released its SpeedThru laptop cases in July, makes this important note: "TSA does not approve the products of any manufacturer...it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to determine that the bag provides a clear X-ray image, thereby being checkpoint friendly."

A worthwhile consideration for travelers looking to purchase any of this new luggage is that, ultimately, it is still up to the discretion of the security screener whether your luggage will pass.

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