Latest Gadget tips for Your Flight

Yes, you can take that laptop on board.  But expect a few new rules about how to do it.

In the past year many travelers have been confused about the ever-changing rules for flying with laptops.  Are they being banned?  Restricted?  And how?  Well the good news is you can fly with your laptop, even when you’re coming home from overseas.  But do expect to take it out of your bag for inspection.

A few months ago the Department of Homeland Security ended its controversial (and short-lived) ban on laptops aboard America-bound flights from the parts of Africa and the Middle East.  Having said that, expect a gradually more thorough (and time-consuming) screening at foreign airports as Homeland Security ramps up pressure on governments to tighten airport screening on U.S. bound flights.

As far as domestic rules, they are changing a bit when it comes to laptops and larger electronics, so listen up.  In a program being rolled out at Denver International Airport, the TSA will now require electronics larger than cell phones to be taken out and placed in bins, just like laptops.  (If you have a TSA friendly bag that opens to show the device, you may be able to keep it stowed.)  

Of course, the usual rules apply to all of your gadgets.  Phones must be in airplane mode, and wi-fi is a pay to play proposition.  So the best advice is to download movies or shows off of Netflix or another service, and have them ready to play.  Also, don’t try to wear earphones or ear buds during safety instructions.  That’s a no no.

What about spare laptop or other gadget batteries?  These must be kept in your carry on bag, and not packed in a checked bag. (if you forget, your checked bag may be denied boarding)  And you may be limited to just two spare laptop batteries.

And finally, how do you charge your device?  Although many planes now feature USB or AC charging ports, it is always best to travel with a portable battery charger for your smaller electronics.  Just remember though that this is also considered a battery, and therefore must be kept in your carry-on bag.

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