I just read a great complaint about people not hibernating laptops when they know they are going to be going through a metal detector. This brought to my attention the whole issue of the inconsistent manner in which all laptops are dealt with from metal detector to metal detector.
I’ve just returned from a vacation that involved domestic flights. I took my laptop. The TSA laptop check rules are something like this:
- Take your laptop out of any bag
- Place your laptop in it’s own tray to be pushed through the x-ray machine
That’s it. You do not have to turn on the laptop at all. No complaint there really, anything to make that long line faster. However, I’m completely confused now when I think about metal detectors like the prior complaint mentioned that force you turn on your laptop even after it has been sent through the x-ray machine. I have been through metal detectors that are usually in government buildings (most of the time state court buildings) and the security personnel require you to turn on your laptop after the laptop has passed through the x-ray machine.
That means only one of three things:
- The TSA is not doing as a good a job as those check points that require you to turn on your laptop after it has been through the x-ray machine, or
- The non-TSA metal detector checkpoints that require you to turn on your laptop don’t need to make you do that, or
- The non-TSA metal detector checkpoints don’t have equipment as good as the TSA’s and are unable to detect fake laptops in the x-ray machines
My biggest complaint is that there is an obvious difference on a very fundamental security issue. Which is it? Why does the TSA not need you turn on your laptops? Do seemingly less funded security checkpoints that require you to turn on your laptop not have the right equipment or do they just not know what they are doing?