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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Airport security & my new 17" Powerbook..?

Airport security & my new 17" Powerbook..?
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daiSho
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Jul 24, 2004, 02:14 PM
 
hi all... ok, i have a *long* trip into asia planned for later this year, and am already debating whether i should even be considering bringing my new 1.5GHz 17" Powerbook w/ me on this trip or not.

my main concern is going through Airport security at this point, on all my recent flights i have been required to take my laptop out of its case, open its screen, and put it into a plastic bin to make a roll through the x-ray machine... i cant say for sure, but from memory i am thinking that my 17" won't even fit in said bin! it looks like it would have to be balanced on the top of the bin, which might not even have clearance to make it through the machine, not to mention that it might fall off once it clears the machine and rolls down that metal roller track...

it would be nice to have such a nice machine w/ me for the trip, but i will be doing a lot of flying and am worried about damage to my machine at the hands of uncaring airport personnel... surprisingly my worries do not stem from having to lug the thing around, just when it has to leave my hands.

anyone who travels w/ their 17" offer any opinion or information perhaps..?
     
cszar2001
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Jul 24, 2004, 03:11 PM
 
I decided against taking mine with me on my last trip.
Where are you going to put it once you`re inside the plane?
If you`re not flying first class there`s not enough room for it.
"Microsoft is a cross between the Borg and the Ferengi. Unfortunately, they use Borg to do their marketing and Ferengi to do their programming." Simon Slavin

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Boochie
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Jul 24, 2004, 03:33 PM
 
The 17" will fit in the standard sized bin. Fitting into the tray in a coach seat with other people on either side of you is another story.
     
skelotar
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Jul 24, 2004, 03:47 PM
 
You can request that they do a physical search of the laptop... Just turn it on and you should be good to go. They're only gonna wanna rub that "magic wand" on it to make sure it's not full of C4...
     
Trygve
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Jul 25, 2004, 09:18 AM
 
hi all... ok, i have a *long* trip into asia planned
From late November 2003 to July 2004, I was on the road with my 15" TiBook. This was a long trip from Prague to New Zealand and back and I was able to plug into the internet for a few minutes nearly everyday to run my company.

I took it through airports at: PRG, FRA, CDG, DXB, SEZ, PRI, MRU, CMB, MLE, BKK, PHN, REP, VTE, LPQ, SIN, PER, ADL, SYD, WLG, and AKL

At these airports I never had to take my 'book out of its slipcase or the small daypack it was in... just send it through the X-ray and pick it up on the other side... no differnt then sending anything else through.

The only place I have ever been asked to take it out was in the US. As I recall, security in Colombo asked me to briefly open the case to take a peek. Basically, in the US it is always a big hassle to go through security with it (one reason I have avoided traveling to the US), but in the rest of the world it is easy.
     
daiSho  (op)
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Jul 25, 2004, 02:08 PM
 
Originally posted by Trygve:
From late November 2003 to July 2004, I was on the road with my 15" TiBook. This was a long trip from Prague to New Zealand and back and I was able to plug into the internet for a few minutes nearly everyday to run my company.

I took it through airports at: PRG, FRA, CDG, DXB, SEZ, PRI, MRU, CMB, MLE, BKK, PHN, REP, VTE, LPQ, SIN, PER, ADL, SYD, WLG, and AKL

At these airports I never had to take my 'book out of its slipcase or the small daypack it was in... just send it through the X-ray and pick it up on the other side... no differnt then sending anything else through.

The only place I have ever been asked to take it out was in the US. As I recall, security in Colombo asked me to briefly open the case to take a peek. Basically, in the US it is always a big hassle to go through security with it (one reason I have avoided traveling to the US), but in the rest of the world it is easy.
yes, i was really thinking of having issues w/ the US security checkpoints, i haven't had to remove the Powerbook anywhere else except the US, and have been instructed to "open the screen and power it up" before putting it through the x-ray machine... just don't want my 17" getting trashed by security in some way, nervous..!
     
Trygve
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Jul 25, 2004, 04:16 PM
 
Just FWIW, I am going to the US in August but will probably not take my TiBook. I have no problem taking it to Laos, Turkey, Oman and many other places, but in the US it is a huge pain to take it ALL THE WAY OUT of its case to put it throughthe xray.

What is just stupid is that the xray image looks the same regardless of it being in the case or not since the case is just foam... Xrays do go through foam.

It is an even bigger pain when it sails through the xray and then they stop you to remove your shoes and have 4 different people look at your boarding pass while your $3000 machine is 30 feet away just waiting for someone to borrow it. No thanks. If you are going to Asia and can fly out of SFO so you only have to do this once, it should be no problem at all in Asia.

I'm glad I am living somewhere a bit more sane. :-)
     
daiSho  (op)
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Jul 25, 2004, 06:41 PM
 
Originally posted by Trygve:
Just FWIW, I am going to the US in August but will probably not take my TiBook. I have no problem taking it to Laos, Turkey, Oman and many other places, but in the US it is a huge pain to take it ALL THE WAY OUT of its case to put it throughthe xray.

What is just stupid is that the xray image looks the same regardless of it being in the case or not since the case is just foam... Xrays do go through foam.

It is an even bigger pain when it sails through the xray and then they stop you to remove your shoes and have 4 different people look at your boarding pass while your $3000 machine is 30 feet away just waiting for someone to borrow it. No thanks. If you are going to Asia and can fly out of SFO so you only have to do this once, it should be no problem at all in Asia.

I'm glad I am living somewhere a bit more sane. :-)
yes, i'm thinking i might just take my wifes' 12" Powerbook for the trip instead, less to worry about and easier toting... returning from Toronto earlier this year i actually had a Powerbook taken by US customs for the period of 2 days, and i had to give them passwords as well, supposedly to be checked over "computer forensics" specialists. only time thats happened to me, but always in the US... i'll be happy to reach Thailand this year and stay for 3 months..!

taking the 12" might make more sense, eeven though i balk at doing w/out all the screen real estate..
     
danbrew
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Jul 25, 2004, 09:21 PM
 
Originally posted by daiSho:
returning from Toronto earlier this year i actually had a Powerbook taken by US customs for the period of 2 days, and i had to give them passwords as well, supposedly to be checked over "computer forensics" specialists.
I find this very hard to believe. What reason did they give you? I would have told the guy to pound sand.
     
daiSho  (op)
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Jul 26, 2004, 02:50 AM
 
Originally posted by danbrew:
I find this very hard to believe. What reason did they give you? I would have told the guy to pound sand.
nope, dead true... they said that it was a random security check, and that it wasn't a request... they were polite about it but adamant, i didn't have any choice it seems, and didn't really have anything to hide (that i could think of at the time!)... i've only heard of it happening to someone else one other time, and credited the singling out to me and my wifes eclectic appearance. they specifically mentioned they were looking for pornography, for whatever thats worth..
     
Chemmy
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Jul 26, 2004, 03:16 AM
 
Originally posted by daiSho:
they specifically mentioned they were looking for pornography, for whatever thats worth..
You have to be kidding me. I'd call a lawyer from the airport before I let some scumbag rifle through my hard drive on a random pornography check.

1.25ghz 15" PowerBook
     
LisaJill
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Jul 26, 2004, 08:20 AM
 
My first post, but I wanted to address this thread...

I've travelled with computers many times in the U.S. since this is where I live. The last time was from NY to California and back on JetBlue. Out here you always have to take the notebook out and put in the bin to go through the xray machine - this is completely harmless to the computer. It does *not* neeed to be opened.

After that, security may ask you to open it up. For me they did on the way to California but on the way back did not.

When they do they don't go through your files, just watch it come on to make sure it's actually a computer. I always sleep my powerbook so it insta-on'd to a rather nice desktop wallpaper. I had most of security come over to see the pretty girl. It was fun. =)

With the state of things and the conflicts etc. I would much rather have to prove to them the computer can turn on than get held hostage - it's a minor price and harmless to the computer.

Now - would I allow them to run it through the xray OPEN? Heck no, I like my screen intact... =)

This isn't really the inconvenience or horror that it may seem like. Or hasn't been in my experience...
     
chipchen
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Jul 27, 2004, 05:09 AM
 
I'm leaving for Hong Kong and Singapore later today. I'll be bringing my PowerBook along via my InCase backpack. I don't expect to have any problems. I will be sure to have my powerbook off while it goes through the x-ray machine though.
     
danbrew
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Jul 27, 2004, 09:08 AM
 
Originally posted by daiSho:
nope, dead true... they said that it was a random security check, and that it wasn't a request... they were polite about it but adamant, i didn't have any choice it seems, and didn't really have anything to hide (that i could think of at the time!)... i've only heard of it happening to someone else one other time, and credited the singling out to me and my wifes eclectic appearance. they specifically mentioned they were looking for pornography, for whatever thats worth..
you know, i just gotta call you on this. i suppose, in the nicest way possible, i'm calling you a liar. proof it.

the average tsa/customs guy doesn't know dick about computers other than it has a power button and a little light is supposed to come on. i'd believe your statement if you had said, "and then I was going into x [pick your favorite taliban country here... you know, someplace where they really believe it is an afront to Allah to be looking at porn] and then confiscated my laptop for a porn check." i'm certainly not the type to say "it could never happen here," but the fact is, nobody in the US cares whether you look at porn.

the only possible motive I can see behind such a step is if you were a target of an investigation and the feds wanted to get the goods on you. but... even if they did, such a search would be warrantless and they wouldn't be able to use anything they found. maybe the cia wanted to see what was on your hard drive and this is the best way they thought they could do it? heck, if either of these are true, you got bigger problems.

nope, sorry, i just don't believe you at all.

i, and about a zillion other people here, travel internationally all the time & this has never happened to any of us. if tsa/customs/whomever had said, "oh, ah, mr. danbrew, we're gonna keep your laptop for a few days to check for porn," I'd have laughed that guy out of the building. if they were determined to take it and illegally withhold the machine, I'd have been on the phone to the nearest lawyer in about two seconds flat. I sure as hell would never have given them my password.
     
Drakino
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Jul 28, 2004, 03:31 PM
 
Originally posted by Trygve:
It is an even bigger pain when it sails through the xray and then they stop you to remove your shoes and have 4 different people look at your boarding pass while your $3000 machine is 30 feet away just waiting for someone to borrow it. No thanks.
Just 1. don't get stopped by the metal detector, and 2. keep a close eye on the laptop or let security know you are unconfortable. I'm sure they would stop someone else from taking your laptop if you said someone else was grabbing it.

Sure, the security sucks at times, but making a big deal of it in your mind just makes it worse. I sailed through 4 checks and 2 customs checks just fine on my recent trip through Europe. I never set off the metal detector, and I always just automaticially pulled the laptop out of the case and put it in the bins closed.

The cool thing was the first scanner station in Frankfurt. They aren't paranoid about the XRay monitor being seen, so I got a nice view of my laptop then the rest of my bag when I was collecting them.

As others said the biggest issue will be fitting the 17 inch on the coach trays. My 15 is a perfect fit, screen wise, but the front of the system does overhang a bit. BusinessFirst on Continental, I just had to close it up and put it under the tray when it was meal time. There, I Think any size laptop would be fine, since, well, your treated like a human being when traveling and not luggage to pack as tightly as possible.
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