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Checking a laptop in baggage - still a big no no?

Checking a laptop in baggage - still a big no no?

Old Jul 1, 11, 4:43 pm
  #16  
 
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Glen,

I've done it many times without issue on domestic and international flights.

I put it in the middle of the suitcase with clothes around it and have never had a problem (or a similarly packed bottle of wine broken).

Have a good trip!
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Old Jul 1, 11, 4:53 pm
  #17  
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My BIL has a SwissGear roll-aboard that has a built-in computer compartment. I gasped the first time he checked it .... and gave him Rule #1, Rule #2352, and Rule #659232233.

He looked at me like I was crazy, and did it anyway. What do I know?

At this point, he probably has put his laptop in a checked bag on about a dozen TATL flights and 4-6 TPAC flights .... and all the short-medium distance connecting flights.

He's never had a technical issue .... and maybe security has not discovered the laptop compartment???
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Old Jul 2, 11, 1:43 am
  #18  
 
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I would not, but if you must, then pad and protect it very well.

Modern laptops are fragile, and subject to internal damage especially if shaken or knocked about from side to side.

If your current laptop is on it's last legs, replace it with a tablet when the time comes. Lighter, more thin, not as fragile as one thinks, easier to work with, and to pack. I just took one from the Alps to the Amazon and back without problems. But in checked luggage ? I think not.
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Old Jul 2, 11, 1:59 am
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Originally Posted by ozstamps View Post
A medium level used lap top is worth nothing like $300 to anyone else except ME!
#1 rule in not getting caught taking things is to never tell anyone you have them. But then again, theifs are often not so smart. But enough of that.

Your main risk here is going to be force damage caused by any impact or drop... not just top or bottom but the sides where you have a number of modular components [not to mention of course all the internal goodies like the hard drive which are fairly mechanical]. The screen should perform just fine after the altitude, although again, it doesn't take a ton to break / disrupt them in terms of movement. Invest in the case or a bag designed to hold something mid-pack.

As ScottC mentioned, remove the battery to be safe on any warming issues.

You may want to hand carry that and pack the adapter a bit away. Not sure how the x-rays look at checked bags but less electronic "bumps" means less reason to open up, look, and move something up top.
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Old Jul 2, 11, 2:06 am
  #20  
 
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A few years back we had a security shut down on TATL with no hand luggage allowed WT all, went on for about 2 weeks as I recall. I needed to head over to Dallas with my laptop in my hard case checked in. No damage issues but the advice on temp change is goos, the laptop had condensation on the outside so had obviously not been in a heated compartment.

Wouldn't do it often I don't think
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Old Jul 2, 11, 3:07 pm
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Assuming that the battery is lithium ion, as almost all are these days, if you remove it from the computer, you'll need to hand carry the loose battery with you on board. It cannot be loose in a checked bag.
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Old Jul 2, 11, 10:12 pm
  #22  
 
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Theft issues aside, I've gate checked my laptop many times as the bag it rides around in usually won't fit the overheads on a CRJ. The airlines don't want you to do it because of the possibility of handling damage but I've never had a problem.
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Old Jul 3, 11, 2:26 am
  #23  
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I never checked my laptop, dsl camera and lens. However, a cousin of mine is a silver jewelry manufacturer. Every year he flew internationally to Jewelry fair in Tucson AZ, checked his merchandises which worth at least $40k in one big hard suitcase and not loosing any sleep over it.
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Old Jul 4, 11, 6:08 pm
  #24  
 
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I have done 100s of thousands of miles over the last 10 years, through some of the most god forsaken countries (bolivia, paraguay, rural indonesia etc) and have never had anything stolen out of my luggage. I have checked laptops, SLR cameras, synthesizers...anything. Having travel insurance means not having to stress too much about it. Losing a laptop would be a pain for sure (however I DO backup regularly) but sometimes when your carryon is already huge you need to check in other stuff.

Almost every trip I go on recently I pack a couple of bottles of fine wine for my important customer - these are just wrapped inside t-shirts in the miiddle of the case. Again, never stolen, never broken.

Now that I have posted this, expect to see me back in month or so saying how, for the first time ever I had a broken bottle and stolen laptop....!
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Old Jul 4, 11, 10:24 pm
  #25  
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Well an update report - that packed in a flat laptop bag, it survived the 25,000 miles of SYD-LAX-IAD-DXB just fine.

The only mishap was the &*&%$%& TSA totally removed my allegedly 'TSA Friendly' new $30 combo lock padlock bought from Lonely Planet mail order, on the LAX-IAD.

Took Scott's good suggestion and removed the battery.

As per Chatterbocks comment we often take booze in checked bags as well (3 bottles bubbly each in these same bags) and again well wrapped they always survive. Bubbly far better than still wine, as the bubbly bottles are under pressure and even a hard knock will not generally break one.

Chatterbocks - off to Bolivia tomorrow via USA and EZE,so I'll see how it suurvives that.
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Old Jul 5, 11, 9:16 am
  #26  
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Originally Posted by ozstamps View Post
Well an update report - that packed in a flat laptop bag, it survived the 25,000 miles of SYD-LAX-IAD-DXB just fine.

The only mishap was the &*&%$%& TSA totally removed my allegedly 'TSA Friendly' new $30 combo lock padlock bought from Lonely Planet mail order, on the LAX-IAD.

Took Scott's good suggestion and removed the battery.

As per Chatterbocks comment we often take booze in checked bags as well (3 bottles bubbly each in these same bags) and again well wrapped they always survive. Bubbly far better than still wine, as the bubbly bottles are under pressure and even a hard knock will not generally break one.

Chatterbocks - off to Bolivia tomorrow via USA and EZE,so I'll see how it suurvives that.
Isn't it funny how you can travel 50,000 miles, visit remote locations and wander through the jungle, and the US TSA is the worst part of the experience?
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Old Jul 5, 11, 9:32 am
  #27  
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Well TSA do not make travel life fun Scott, we certainly all realise that by now!

Ensuring we are secure is fine, but literally stealing new locks is quite another thing.

I feel sure the Security Forum has 50,000 rants, and no more are really needed, but geez you pay $30 for a 'TSA Approved' lock from Lonely Planet, and when they use bolt cutters to remove it, really earns them some of that loathing!

Anyway, in Dubai where booze costs a ton, sipping ozzie bubbly here now that made it safely, despite the TSA is getting the last laugh I guess.
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Old Jul 7, 11, 8:54 pm
  #28  
 
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Originally Posted by ozstamps View Post
Well TSA do not make travel life fun Scott, we certainly all realise that by now!

Ensuring we are secure is fine, but literally stealing new locks is quite another thing.

I feel sure the Security Forum has 50,000 rants, and no more are really needed, but geez you pay $30 for a 'TSA Approved' lock from Lonely Planet, and when they use bolt cutters to remove it, really earns them some of that loathing!

Anyway, in Dubai where booze costs a ton, sipping ozzie bubbly here now that made it safely, despite the TSA is getting the last laugh I guess.
I've given up on TSA locks. Too many have gone missing. I use thick zip ties which are cheap and, if nothing else, somewhat tamper evident.
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Old Jul 8, 11, 12:47 pm
  #29  
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Originally Posted by ozstamps View Post
May be a bit naff but I had a pad of VistaPrint stickers done that say 'Password Protected - $300 reward if found - no questions asked, if returned intact if lost" and my email address.

A medium level used lap top is worth nothing like $300 to anyone else except ME!

Never had to pay out, but I can bet if stolen I'll get an email "found this in a dumpster - is the reward for real?".
Another good option is affix stuffbak.com stickers to all of your portable devices. This permits you to update rewards as needed as well as protects the privacy of your contact info. Also different size stickers with some that probably smaller than vistaprint (whatever those are).

Studies have shown most people are honest and will return found items if they have an easy way to do it - i.e. calling a number or emailing. Unfortunately most devices lack this info - and with password protection you can be SOL>

Having recently left a laptop at a TSA checkpoint (since safely recovered ) you might also consider the following advice from TSA: Place a label with your name and cell phone # inside your battery case. This is the first place TSA will check and they can then page you if you are still inside the terminal (as will often be the case). This is actually easier said than done as my Lenovo doesn't have a good surface and I don't think I can even open my Apple case.

Originally Posted by ScottC View Post
1) Be careful of temperature differences -- removing the machine from a cold-ish hold and turning it in the 100F heat of a safari may cause condensation, so let the machine get used to the temperature change.
This is true also if you are leaving devices in the back of hot cars. Also keep in mind the varied temps in the baggage hold, though that would probably be more likely to affect the wines than your electronics.

Also good to remove the battery to prevent fires a la the Sony laptop incidents. Sometime "off" is not really "off" and my blackberry has a habit of turning itself on in the overhead compartment.
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Old Jul 8, 11, 12:58 pm
  #30  
 
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I used to pack an Asus netbook with a solid state hard disk and never had a problem. One thing to note though: If you are flying with SAA (or going through JNB at all, with any airline) at any point in your trip, I remind you their baggage policy:

- 23KG economy
- 30KG business or gold
- A certain sense of entitlement to any valuable items in your checked in bag.

(Edit: And that includes DVDs, leather belts, new shoes and cameras, as well as laptops.)
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