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.
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.