Business, leisure travelers ponder flying without laptops


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I travel for business frequently, sometimes with 3 laptops, as Im going to trade shows and the like.

I see the likelihood of damage quite high if checking in all those items, which would leave me in a terrible position when I arrive... let alone the lost time on an average 10hr flight.

If you end up on some old United Plane, or a budget airline you might not even have any entertainment for the duration of the trip, read a book you may say, and I suppose I will have to have one or two incase but I see likely increase in onboard "rage" as we have seen lately as people get frustrated, annoyed and bored.

This is a serious imposition, for which the risk reduction seems minimal and questionable..

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Why only Europe and the Middle East--why not Asia or any long-haul flights? And this:

"Parents are pondering how to keep children occupied"

Is just plain silly. Airlines have what, 50 odd kids' films and TV series and some basic games on offer. Or just give them a book for god's sake.

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Not all airlines have in-seat entertainment, in-fact some rely on the devices they are now restricting...

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I would have thought more danger from fires of laptop batteries if they are stored in the cargo hold. Will it include iPads too?

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During the flight, there's plenty to do. Never had an issue filling time. It is the 2+ hrs pre-flight, after checking luggage that I'll miss my chromebook. Usually don't bother during the flight with it.

I'm very interested in the size limits on this.

OTOH, there are many, many, many ways to harm an aircraft, especially a pressurized aircraft, in flight. Any engineer should be able to think of at least 20.

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@zichi ... Exactly. And if terrorists are able to turn laptops into bombs, how will banning them in passenger cabins but not as cargo make any difference?

@NZC2011 ... I also do business travel. I can live without my laptop on short flights. But on long flights I do work on my laptop - it's not only a good use of my time, but it also allows me to be more ready when I arrive. I agree that the risk of damaging or losing the laptops is a real concern.

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When arriving at the checkin your luggage is not checked or searched. You answer a few questions and its loaded onto the plane along with the mini bomb inside a laptop although a determined bomber could even build it into the actual suitcase and then set it off by a mobile phone. The PAN AM Lockerbie bombing was not inside a laptop and still one of the worse terrorists attacks on a plane. If a laptop is shown to be working then its unlikely to contain a bomb.

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I just use my smart phone and tablet. Laptop is getting too big now. They should call them portable - like in the older days. Also, I do not want to risk the chances of getting stolen or even opening it up allowing people outside of my company to view them (even it is password protected, but anything can be cracked given enough time).

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Ok ban laptops but allow to people who have a need to apply for a pass.

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I travel between 50 and 75K miles a year usually. Travel with a 13in chromebook - under 2 lbs, 10+ hrs of battery, 128G of storage running a full Linux desktop. It is a beautiful thing, if you don't need local access to MS-Windows programs. I have remote VPN access to Windows programs. As a security guy, I really don't want Windows on a network that I cannot trust.

Security could just weigh each laptop as their method to limit risk. Asking us to power them up is fine, but someone inclined could make a sufficient part of the battery out of non-battery stuff and leave less than 10% for "show and tell" with the security people.

Tried to travel with just a tablet on a long international trip. Had all sorts of issues that I couldn't solve.

If you want to know how to harm a plane, it really isn't hard to imagine ways. There are TV shows with vague examples: 7 Days, The Unit, Strike Back, and probably 50 others.

@zichi - all bags ARE searched in the USA behind counter area. There are scanning machines and dogs trained for drugs and explosives there. The machines have a high false-positive rate. If you enter your trip from a small airport without the scanners, your bags get searched when/if you arrive at larger hubs. However, I will agree that not all international airports do scan bags. Europe, Canada, USA, Japan, South Korea, Turkey - are places I'm not worried. Places like Nepal - I worry.

I'm still amazed at how much wasted time we are willing to put up with world-wide over this highly infrequent issue.

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