Security: When is a laptop not a laptop?

Posted on by Mike Evans

These days we are all rightly concerned with airline security and we put up with a constantly changing pattern of checks and restrictions. Sometimes, I fear, security experts over-react and we face sudden clamp-downs than gradually get easier over ensuing months. I realise that laptop computers, in particular, are particularly suspicious and need special attention. But some airports are happy for them to be left in a close-fitting sleeve, others want them naked. For a time, in the UK, we were told to leave them in the bag rather than putting them in a separate tray.

But when is a laptop worth all this special attention? Only if it is called "a laptop" and is netbook size or over it seems. I have never had my Sony Reader queried, although it always stays in the bag. Nor is my iPhone, undoubtedly a computer, singled out for special attention. 

So where, I wonder, does this leave Apple's forthcoming iPad. It is undeniably a computer and indisputably similar in dimensions to some netbooks. How will airline security experts view it? Will it remain in the hand luggage alongside book readers, phones and other small electrical items or will it have to be pulled out and given its own tray?

I suspect the experts haven't even considered this as yet and I apologise for raising the subject.

∞ Permalink