8 laptop bags that will speed you through airport security

These new TSA-approved checkpoint-friendly bags mean you don't have to pull your laptop out at airport security.
Targus' Zip-Thru bag shares many features with other popular Targus bags, such as the adjustable air cushioning system around the notebook compartment.

Targus' Zip-Thru bag shares many features with other popular Targus bags, such as the adjustable air cushioning system around the notebook compartment.

  • Targus' Zip-Thru bag shares many features with other popular Targus bags, such as the adjustable air cushioning system around the notebook compartment.
  • The Skooba also offers loads of pockets and organizers, about 20 in total, including a drop-down workstation area with file compartment.
  • The ScanFast Backpack holds notebooks with up to 17-in. displays and unzips to open flat for security scans.
  • The Solo CheckFast has a very space-efficient clamshell design that holds your laptop in padded safety on one side, yet has enough pockets on the other for accessories.
  • The Skooba Design Checkthrough is a functional black briefcase with a zippered double-compartment design.
  • The Mobile Edge ScanFast Backpack is one of the few backpacks manufactured to follow the TSA's security standards.
  • The Tom Bihn Checkpoint Flyer Briefcase is one of our favorite bags, thanks to its good looks, expert pocketry and three hinged compartments.
  • Constructed of ballistic polyester, at US$50 the Solo CheckFast also the least expensive bag in our lineup by far.
  • Checkpoint-friendly bags allow laptops to be fully visible to security scanners. This scan was taken by Aerovation, which went to the distributor of the X-ray equipment used by TSA and rented its lab.
  • The Aerovation is a zippered clamshell that opens flat with your laptop on one side and everything else on the other.
  • The Targus Zip-Thru has a split design that unzips to lie flat and an interior workstation panel equipped with accessory compartments.
  • The Aerovation was the first checkpoint-friendly bag on the market, available back in June.
  • The Pathfinder bag features an aircraft-grade aluminum handle and ball-bearing polyurethane wheels; it unzips to lie flat on the security belt.
  • For a premium price tag, the CODi CT3 offers superior construction and materials, such as military-grade black ballistic nylon.
  • Pathfinder's Wheeled Checkpoint Friendly CompuBrief is the only current option we found for those who prefer wheeled laptop bags.
  • The detachable laptop compartment of the Tom Bihn Checkpoint bag doubles as a laptop sleeve, complete with handles.
  • Two hinged compartments open to lie flat and instantly close themselves when picked up by the handle -- thanks to Velcro in between the compartments.

Aerovation Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Bag

The Aerovation (US$129.95) was the first checkpoint-friendly bag on the market, available back in June. It is a clean-lined double-compartment bag made of rugged 1680D nylon fabric and a sateen liner, with 4mm of EVA foam padding in between. The accessory compartment is, according to the manufacturer, "designed to give the traveler access to files, pens, cell phone and media. There's also enough room for a change of underwear and toiletries." This no-nonsense bag measures 15 by 12 by 4 inches, has both inside and outside pockets, and holds laptops with displays up to 15.4 inches. (There is also a version for laptops up to 17 inches.)

Aerovation also offers a Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Sleeve for US$24.95, which, according to the manufacturer's site, "is made of the same material as a diver's wet suit." So if you accidentally drop your laptop out the plane over the Atlantic, it should be OK.

CODi Phantom CT3

At US$225, the CODi CT3 is the most expensive bag in this roundup. For the premium price tag, you get superior construction and materials, such as military-grade black ballistic nylon. Two hinged compartments open to lie flat and instantly close themselves when picked up by the handle -- thanks to Velcro in between the compartments, an ingenious touch.

The accessory side of the bag includes a file section, three pen pockets, four elasticized pockets and two business/credit card pockets. The padded laptop side holds notebooks with displays up to 15.4 inches. Overall, the case is 16.5 by 6.25 by 12.25 inches and 2.5 lbs.

According to the company, a wheeled version should be available soon.

Mobile Edge ScanFast Backpack

Mobile Edge has a trio of checkpoint-friendly bags. The briefcase and messenger bag both hold laptops with displays up to 15.4 inches, cost US$99.99. Most notable, however, is the ScanFast Backpack, also US$99.99, the only such model we found. It holds notebooks with up to 17-in. displays and unzips to open flat for security. The padded notebook compartment is in the back, while the front half has several zippered pockets to organize your gear and reading materials. Overall dimensions are 19 by 14 by 7 inches.

Style-wise, all three are your basic black and nothing-to-write-home-about, but are constructed of durable 840D ballistic nylon.

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Becky Waring

Computerworld
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