The Portable Office: Travel Terrors

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Tales of the TSA

Going through airport security on a recent business trip, I put my laptop bag in the plastic bin, removed my MacBook from it, and placed the laptop on top of the bag. But before I could place the bin on the conveyor belt, I watched in horror as my MacBook slipped off the nylon bag, right over the lip of the bin, and fell with a crash to the floor. (TSA folks told me people drop laptops during security checks at least once a week.)

Lesson learned Put your laptop under your laptop bag in the TSA bin, not on top.

--Linda VandenBerg

In 2002, I traveled from Toronto to San Diego. When I went through security, they wanted me to turn on my PowerBook to make sure it was legit. One problem: The battery was dead, and the power cord was in my checked baggage. The security supervisor insisted that, if I could not turn on my computer, I would have to check it as baggage.

I went back to the ticket counter and checked my carry-on bag. Fortunately, I removed my cell phone, PDA, and a few other items first. Because when I got to San Diego, my Mac was no longer in my carry-on bag; thieves had even found my suitcase where I had the power cords and took those, too.

Lesson learned: I always pack my computer and the power cord in the same bag and never let my laptop out of my sight when I'm traveling.

--William Hill

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