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Old Jul 1, 11, 8:56 am   #1
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Checking a laptop in baggage - still a big no no?

Leaving today on a hectic 55,000 real miles safari to 3 different continents in a week or so. Lots of take offs and landings.

My main laptop is having issues closing the lid as frame has cracked, and my fear is it will kack itself by journey end and as it occured only today no chance to have lid replaced.

My back up lap top I was thinking of popping into into a padded computer case inside suitcase and if main one kacked it I'd have a back up with most of my data on there.

I recall reading that screens explode or crack in aircraft holds etc. Is that just an urban myth - or issues with older screen technology, or a very real danger these days?

Heading to airport in a few hours, so thanks in advance for any input.

Glen
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Old Jul 1, 11, 8:59 am   #2
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Are you kidding? The cardinal rule remains: never check anything you couldn't stand never to see again. I don't know about air pressure issues destroying your screens, but I do know about sticky-fingered security people and handlers rifling your bag. Don't do it

Besides, if your laptop screen is cracked and won't close properly, one good drop from a fair height (when your checked bag rolls off a cart or is booted up onto a belt by a rough handler) would finish it anyway.
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Old Jul 1, 11, 9:02 am   #3
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We always check bags and they are never rifled, and we do a few 100,000 real miles a year. (Altho this trip includes Bolivia so never say never!) Belt ties, TSA locks etc.

I was only curious if laptop will likely be damaged in cargo hold.
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Old Jul 1, 11, 9:05 am   #4
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Well, suit yourself, but you're taking a hell of a risk. That's like saying you never bother wearing seat belts because you've never been injured in a serious accident. Good luck.
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Old Jul 1, 11, 10:00 am   #5
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NEVER EVER EVER EVER check ANYTHING of value in your checked luggage!!!!

Rule #1, Rule #2352, Rule #659232233 all apply.

I usually never check luggage. However recently I was forced to check a piece of luggage.

Upon arriving at my destination, I noticed my luggage had been opened and rifled through - I had nothing of value in it, but nonetheless it was opened and rifled through, and no TSA love note left!!

NEVER EVER EVER check anything of value! I'd rather FEDEX it or UPS it with insurance!
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Old Jul 1, 11, 10:35 am   #6
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The back up laptop is possibly worth less than the suitcase exterior cost!

It has no great value, but will be handy if the main ones folds.

Sorry this is not a thread asking if someone should check baggage. I've done that for over 5 million miles of travel with no issues.

I just want to know if there is any EVIDENCE that the laptop will not like it.
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Old Jul 1, 11, 10:36 am   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UALOneKPlus View Post
NEVER EVER EVER EVER check ANYTHING of value in your checked luggage!!!!

Rule #1, Rule #2352, Rule #659232233 all apply.

I usually never check luggage. However recently I was forced to check a piece of luggage.

Upon arriving at my destination, I noticed my luggage had been opened and rifled through - I had nothing of value in it, but nonetheless it was opened and rifled through, and no TSA love note left!!

NEVER EVER EVER check anything of value! I'd rather FEDEX it or UPS it with insurance!
What he said. FT is chockablock with people who've lost valuable stuff from checked luggage and are out of luck because the airline points the finger at security services and vice versa. Anything you check is completely vulnerable to crooks in various uniforms. End of story.
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Old Jul 1, 11, 10:56 am   #8
  
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A laptop is a magnet for a thief. Airlines are not liable if it goes missing or gets damaged. Why not just take the backup laptop as a carry on and leave the near-death one at home?
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Old Jul 1, 11, 11:06 am   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UALOneKPlus View Post
NEVER EVER EVER EVER check ANYTHING of value in your checked luggage!!!!

Rule #1, Rule #2352, Rule #659232233 all apply.

I usually never check luggage. However recently I was forced to check a piece of luggage.

Upon arriving at my destination, I noticed my luggage had been opened and rifled through - I had nothing of value in it, but nonetheless it was opened and rifled through, and no TSA love note left!!

NEVER EVER EVER check anything of value! I'd rather FEDEX it or UPS it with insurance!
Bolding mine: This is F/t rule #2 (right after rule #1 which is hang up and call back )
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Old Jul 1, 11, 11:12 am   #10
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Mods can close this thanks - it has turned in an OMNI thread about checking baggage, despite trying to get an actual answer to the thread question.
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Old Jul 1, 11, 11:26 am   #11
  
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to answer the actual question

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozstamps View Post
Mods can close this thanks - it has turned in an OMNI thread about checking baggage, despite trying to get an actual answer to the thread question.
there is no technical risk to checking a laptop PC in a suitcase, beyond the standard "rough handling" issues that can arise with any suitcase. The lower pressure / temperature in the cargo hold will not cause the display to crack/explode/what have you.

As long as it's packed adequately so the usual cargo handling processes don't physically damage it, your only other worry is theft. Since you seem comfortable with that, you're good to go.

Personally, I've done similar things with low value older notebooks, like yours, where even if it's stolen there's no real loss. The one thing I'd suggest is taking out the hard disk and carrying that with you, since while the PC itself may not be worth that much you may have personal data on the disk that's valuable and/or sensitive. At least on all my notebooks (except for Macbooks) popping the hard disk out or in is a very simply task.

Bob
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Old Jul 1, 11, 11:31 am   #12
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozstamps View Post
I recall reading that screens explode or crack in aircraft holds etc. Is that just an urban myth - or issues with older screen technology, or a very real danger these days?

Heading to airport in a few hours, so thanks in advance for any input.

Glen
I've not heard of any problems, it seems that quite a few people do check them. The baggage holds are pressurized exactly the same as the passenger compartment, but not all holds are heated. I would try to pack it towards the middle of your suitcase, so that it has some protection against cold if your suitcase happens to be near the planes skin.
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Old Jul 1, 11, 11:34 am   #13
  
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Back to the original question : My experience

I have had multiple instances over the past years where I had to have laptop/s in my check-in bags. No issues whatsoever. My strategy has always been to put it in a nice padded/armored case, then pack it in the suitcase. There has been instances where TSA has opened the entire thing (left me note).

So far so good, no exploding screens or whatever.

Good luck with your adventure.
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Old Jul 1, 11, 11:38 am   #14
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Thanks last 3 posters .. that is what I thought, but my partner scolded me not to, so thought on FT someone will have some FACTS - not urban myth about the pressure cracking screens!

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?".
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Old Jul 1, 11, 11:47 am   #15
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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.

2) Remove the battery, or tape over the power contacts so make sure it doesn't turn on. A laptop that turns on inflight packed around clothes may create heat damage.

No other technical issues come to mind, and I'll spare you the lecture on never packing a laptop in checked luggage

Have a great trip.
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