Are Laptops Allowed in Checked Baggage?

By Rhett Wilson •  Updated: 10/26/21 •  9 min read

The TSA (Transport Security Administration) updated in 2017 on the specifics of electronic gadgets that will not be permitted in checked baggage. With this new policy, are laptops allowed in checked baggage? 

If you intend to take a flight somewhere, you must be aware of the updates around flight travels to get you rightly prepared, not just for your laptops but other devices also. 

Of course, most times, persons travel with the laptop system in their hand luggage to avoid issues, making it count as a personal item, but in case of no hand luggage, you also need to know if you can pack your laptop in checked baggage. We will update you shortly.

Are Laptops Allowed in Checked Baggage?

Ultimately, the TSA officers are the ones to decide what you are allowed to pack in your checked or hand luggage, but it’s good you know before packing to avoid inconveniences.

Certainly, you can board a plane with your laptop in your checked bag, though it might have to pass through x-ray screening.

But there are certain laptop accessories that aren’t allowed in your luggage. 

According to their latest policy, the TSA allows you to keep your laptops in checked luggage. You can also travel with lithium batteries in your checked baggage, irrespective of the ban on lithium batteries in hold luggage. 

Laptops and other portable electronic gadgets like tablets, hand games are allowed in your checked baggage. A lot of airlines encourage that you store these devices in your carry-on (hold) bags. 

When you register your system in your checked luggage, you have to know that the laptop might suffer some damages due to mishandling and poor manipulation of your belongings. 

Why you should Consider flying with your Laptop

Due to the fact laptops are not banned amongst your personal belongings to be taken on a plane, it doesn’t mean you should take them with you always. You have to know the dangers of flying with a laptop.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FFA) doesn’t want you bringing your laptops onboard. This is probably why they took so long to decide if laptops should be allowed in checked bags for safety reasons.

The FAA suggests that you store all lithium content battery devices, such as tablets, laptops, phones, etc., in the carry-on baggage. It’s always advisable to pack any gadget with a lithium battery in a hold bag since these batteries are flammable. 

Although laptop fire outbreaks are almost impossible, you still have to be cautious while carrying laptops in your luggage. Ensure you shut down your laptop system and make sure the system cannot accidentally turn the system on before packing it in your luggage. 

As stated earlier, you must be aware of the precautions about the security of your laptop system you have to take on the journey. Some of the risks involved;

Mishandling 

You cannot predict the eventualities your laptop might have to suffer on a flight. You have to deal with flying turbulences, poor manipulation by the airport security personnel, air traffic issues, and delays; these can put your gadgets at risk.

Ensure that your laptop is well protected if you must put it in checked baggage. It’s best to place your laptop at the mid-section of the luggage. 

If your laptop is in your checked bag, your luggage will likely go through a rough search at the security checkpoint, so protection is vital.

However, you will be present during the inspection process to ensure your equipment isn’t damaged.

Data Risks

When you register your laptop in your checked bag, the laptop might be exposed to slight risks. There is a probability your laptop might be hacked.  It only takes a few minutes for a hacker to insert a chip or software into your laptop to gain access to your data.

To avoid your being compromised, you can use a plastic bag to cover up your laptop when preparing for your flight. This also helps you detect if your laptop is being tampered with, which you can use as evidence.

Also, if you have sensitive data in your system, it will be proper for you to increase your laptop’s security level. Install a security program, and use it to set up more verification processes and even include your prints if possible. 

Does the Airport Inspect your Checked Luggage?

Your checked luggage will be scanned through an x-ray machine, and that also goes for your carry-on bag. The security officers might also open your luggage to check its contents thoroughly.

You don’t have to worry about the scans; it doesn’t affect your laptop system. 

It’s quite common for items to get missing during checks, which is why you should keep essential items in your hand luggage.

Laptops are valuable possessions, and baggage handlers, thieves, or even security officers might want to try to steal your system from your checked baggage. 

Also, there are sometimes cases of checked bags getting lost or stolen. You might get to your destination and discover that your checked bags along with your laptop in them do not arrive with you.

If you don’t want to run at a risk of losing your laptop, then you have to avoid packing it in checked baggage. 

How do I Protect my Laptop in Checked Baggage?

If you must keep your laptop in your checked baggage, here are some tips to ensure it’s safe. 

FAQs

How many Laptops can I Carry on a Plane?

The TSA didn’t specify any limit to the number of laptops you can take with you on a plane. But despite that, you have to be aware that the electronic devices kept in your checked baggage are prone to damages and risks. You will need to open up your baggage to pass through the screening process.

Where should my Laptop be Kept when Flying?

When going on a flight, your laptop system should be placed in your carry-on or hold the bag. Storing laptops in carry-on bags is actually the best idea; this will make the access very easy when you need to do some work or view emails quickly. It will also lower the risks of the system getting harmed or damaged. Checked baggage is more prone to damages or harm than carry-on baggage. However, keeping your laptop in a checked bag isn’t a totally bad idea. If you must, ensure it is properly packed, so it doesn’t suffer any damages.

Is it Safe to Put my Laptop in a Checked Suitcase?

It’s safe to keep your laptop in checked baggage if you do it properly. When it is well protected, you will retrieve it in the luggage carousel safely and undamaged. Losing your luggage with airlines isn’t very common, but most people prefer to take their luggage on board to guarantee safety. You can enable remote data to delete when your laptop is in your checked bag; it will help you wipe off all your sensitive data if the system gets lost or stolen. Note that you can only store lithium-ion batteries in hold baggage.

Is a Laptop Allowed in Checked Baggage in India?

Laptops are allowed in checked baggage in India but consider the risks of keeping your laptops in checked baggage. Although, there are insights that laptops will soon be disallowed in checked baggage in India. So if you plan on taking a flight to India, you need to be constantly updated on their flight regulations. Other electronic gadgets like spare batteries, mobile chargers, and power banks are already banned from checked baggage in India. All these restrictions are due to the fire risk of batteries which threatens the safety of passengers. In the past, India has recorded a case of a mobile phone fire outbreak on a flight to Indore, which was, however, quickly extinguished.

What are the things I should never Pack in a Checked Bag?

The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) keeps strict rules on items allowed on checked and carry-on baggage. Some items can either be allowed only in the checked or carry-on bag or both, but other items are completely banned from your luggage like your jewelry, credit cards, flammable items like lighters, medications, breakable items, film, food, and drinks.

Conclusion

On legal grounds, you are allowed to keep your laptop in your checked baggage. Most airlines and airport authorities might advise against leaving laptops in checked baggage, but now you are also aware of the damages and risks that might occur.

So you have to exercise the right measures and necessary precautions to ensure your laptop comes out safe.

Sources

Rhett Wilson