I have two laptops that I carry with me most places I go. This isn’t showing off, it’s just something I do for a number of reasons. (One laptop is for work, the other is personal)
On a recent trip, I wanted to leave one with my wife as she dropped me off at the airport (flying with more than one laptop just seems silly, all that extra weight) – but she drove off before I could take the superfluous laptop out.
So I proceed to the TSA line, wondering what they’re going to say about me packing two laptops.
Nobody noticed. Nobody at all raised an eyebrow at me sliding two laptops into my bag.
That has me somewhat concerned – although it made my trip rather easy.
The implication is that if I am smooth enough of a criminal, I can pick up my laptop and yours, and slide them both into my bag without anyone except you caring – and you’re on the other side of the metal detector from me.
Although it would have slowed my progress through the security line, quite frankly I’d rather someone questioned me about the fact that I was doing something extraordinary in sliding more than the average number of laptops into a bag.
On a number of occasions, my wife (a seasoned traveler) has seen people accidentally swap laptops with her, walk off without their own laptop, or been worryingly detained through the metal detector as their laptops are sitting unprotected and unwatched at the other end of the security scanner.
Recently the TSA produced statistics that showed that many thousands of laptops are abandoned at security lines at the nation’s airports – I would be interested to know how many thousands of laptops are not abandoned, but are purloined – accidentally or with criminal intent – by someone other than their rightful owner.
What should the TSA do to prevent theft and/or loss at the security checkpoint? Could the security lines survive if staff insisted on not letting the next person (or their carry-on luggage) proceed until the last person had finished collecting theirs from the output?