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  1. #1
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    Has anyone ever gotten a laptop in a cache through security?

    The cache is touted as a TSA approved sleeve, allowing you to keep the laptop safe in the cache while going through security.

    Yet ever since I bought mine, I have not had one single trip where I was allowed to keep my laptop in the cache. 100% of the time I have been told I must remove it. I don't want to give them any lip about it so I just remove it, but it really defeats the purpose and makes me wonder why I am using a Cache and not a Brain Cell if I am going to be removing it anyway.

    Wondering if others have the same experience, or if there is some polite magic way of getting them to let you keep it in the cache?

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    I actually use a Brain Cell and from my experience, even if they ask me to take my laptop out of my Brain Cell, I do not and it goes through fine.

    It is my opinion that TSA asks everyone to remove their laptops because it ensures there is minimal delay - ie no slow down in processing people due to a problem with someone's sleeve no providing a clear view. I find that everyone is most likely asked to remove their laptop at busy time / flights. So, they may ask but it is still your decision. As long as there is a clear unobstructed view, the scan should be fine. Also, regardless, the agents can ask you to show your laptop even after the scan.

    As I mentioned, I actually use my Brain Cell and I have not had any issues. I just make sure there is nothing on top or below the Brain Cell to make sure there is a clear, unobstructed view. The pockets are mesh and see through and there is nothing blocking the X-Ray scans.

    Interestingly, being Canadian, I get a slightly similar request from the Canadian agents when I fly out of the country. When asked to remove my laptop, I respond that it is in a TSA compliant sleeve. They then say that they are not TSA and to please remove the laptop .... Smilie I still do not remove it and let it go through - no issues.

    YMMV as it really can depend on the mood of the agents, how busy things are, actual alert status and how you actually look and act (as in shady looking, unkempt, too jovial, too nervous ... you know, profiling stuff). In the end, they are trying to protect us and I do not mind that at all!

    Hope this helps
    Cheers!
    TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!

  3. #3
    Forum Member kathryn's Avatar
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    @jwvanderbe that sounds annoying! To answer your question: Yes, every single time I've flown since I bought it. Smilie Not once have I been asked to remove my laptop from the cache by TSA, nor have they pulled it aside for further inspection after the x-ray. To me, this indicates that tpnl has the right idea: just leave it in the cache and send it through. The x-ray will get a clear view of it through the cache.

    Perhaps it's something to do with the specific airports you're flying through? I usually fly in and out of big/busy airports (DTW, ORD, SFO, DCA). I can imagine the TSA screeners at my parents' local airport, which is tiny, asking this because they don't see the same volume of passengers.
    "I'm more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares.” ― Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette

  4. #4
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    I don't have a cache (wish one would fit my laptop) but I've used a number of various TSA friendly options to avoid removing my laptop without problems. Have they told you specifically to take it out? If you ask them, they may just give you this standard answer. They always announce to everyone in line to remove their laptops as its too confusing to say remove your laptops unless you have a blah blah blah. If you have things other than a laptop in the cache or brain cell (papers, chargers, mice, etc), that can cause problems. Just walk up, slide the cache out on the scanner belt and move along.

    I'm a US citizen but travel to Canada occasionally and have had the same problem; gotta remember TSA is a US agency as the security personnel pointed out.

  5. #5
    Forum Member readmore's Avatar
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    I have never been asked to remove my laptop from the Cache, and I've flown with it for many years. I'm so sorry it's been such a hassle for you. What a pain!

  6. #6
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    I have used my cache at numerous airports, large and small, and have never been asked by TSA to remove the laptop (a MacBook Air) even before I was eligible for PreCheck. Is your laptop flagged for removal after the initial screening? It's possible something in the machine hits the TSA radar as requiring extra screening.

    If you travel frequently with a laptop I highly recommend applying for TSA PreCheck. In addition to being able to keep your laptop in your bag, you also get to leave your shoes on as well as some other security streamlining and (generally shorter lines at the airport.)
    https://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/apply
    Last edited by giantsteve; 09-10-2015 at 10:36 AM. Reason: Add link to TSA PreCheck

  7. #7
    Forum Member adalangdon's Avatar
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    Has anyone ever gotten a laptop in a cache through security?

    Quote Originally Posted by jwvanderbe View Post
    it really defeats the purpose and makes me wonder why I am using a Cache and not a Brain Cell if I am going to be removing it anyway.
    Yup, I get this all the time. I can be like "No, you can still see the laptop inside the case" but the answer is always "No, take it out". I've just about given up on using the rails systems for its intended purpose. I take note of this every time I pass through airport security (thankfully not very often) and so far there has just been one person who let me leave my lappy in the cache. Heh.

    The Brain Cell is much heavier and chunkier. The Cache is good if you're tight for space and are willing to compromise a fair bit on protection in order to keep things compact. That's one reason to stick with the cache despite not being able to use it as a TSA compliant case.

    ETA: I've tried doing what @maverick suggested. Does not work here :\
    Last edited by adalangdon; 09-10-2015 at 04:17 PM.

  8. #8
    Forum Member kathryn's Avatar
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    Seconding giantsteve to say that PreCheck is great, and can save you the time/hassle at security. Smilie

    (If you're in the US and even thinking about taking a trip abroad in the next 5 years, I would recommend Global Entry instead. GE gets you PreCheck, but you also get the advantage of using the GE lanes for entry back into the US. It only costs a few bucks more than PreCheck which I think is worth it even for only one trip abroad.)
    "I'm more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares.” ― Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette

  9. #9
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    Indeed, I have never had an issue leaving my laptop inside of the Cache, Brain Cell or the Soft Cell at a number of airports in the US and abroad.

    When they remind you to remove your laptops from your bags, just smile, say thank you, and move along with your laptop in the Cache placed in a bin. If someone on the other side of the scanning machine has a problem, they'll just grab it and run it through the machine again.
    -m

  10. #10
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    What maverick and hachkc said.

    If I'm using a bag with rails, I just pull out the laptop, Cache and all, and stick it on the belt leaving it attached to the bag. I also pull out my 3D cube and put it on the belt whilst it's attached to the bag. I just make sure that each item is laid flat with nothing on top of it. I don't explain myself or do anything that would suggest that this isn't a totally normal and reasonable thing to do, and I've never had a problem (not even in dinky airports like in Iowa). On the other hand, I get pulled aside to have my hands dusted way more often than I would like.

  11. #11
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    Do your airports have those bumpy roller belts, or the flat black kind? My home airport has the bumpy rollers, and the bin seems more protective against jostling.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by adalangdon View Post
    Yup, I get this all the time. I can be like "No, you can still see the laptop inside the case" but the answer is always "No, take it out". I've just about given up on using the rails systems for its intended purpose. I take note of this every time I pass through airport security (thankfully not very often) and so far there has just been one person who let me leave my lappy in the cache. Heh.

    The Brain Cell is much heavier and chunkier. The Cache is good if you're tight for space and are willing to compromise a fair bit on protection in order to keep things compact. That's one reason to stick with the cache despite not being able to use it as a TSA compliant case.

    ETA: I've tried doing what @maverick suggested. Does not work here :\
    The TSA security theatre troupe appears to be changing their programme...

    By that I mean it seems the TSA may now care about the size of your laptop--this blog post is dated 2010:

    The TSA Blog: Traveling with E-readers, Netbooks, and Other Small Gadgets (Including the iPad)

    "Only electronics the size of a standard laptop or larger (for example Playstation®, Xbox™, or Nintendo®), full-size DVD players, and video cameras that use video cassettes must be removed from their carrying cases and submitted separately for x-ray screening."

    They do not say what a "standard laptop" size is.

    This blog post is updated 2012:

    The TSA Blog: Why do Laptops Have to be Removed When Tablets can Stay in the Bag?

    "For laptops that need to come out of your bag, we describe them as a “standard size” laptop – which loosely translates into approximately 12x14” or larger. We’re not measuring every laptop that comes through the checkpoint but that is the general dimensions of what we consider to be standard size."

    Here is the official TSA.gov post on the actual procedure regarding Checkpoint Friendly laptop cases (written in 2008):

    https://www.tsa.gov/news/releases/20...bag-procedures

    "Your laptop bag has a designated laptop-only section that you can lay flat on the X-ray belt
    There are no metal snaps, zippers or buckles inside, underneath or on-top of the laptop-only section
    There are no pockets on the inside or outside of the laptop-only section
    There is nothing in the laptop compartment other than the laptop
    You have completely unfolded your bag so that there is nothing above or below the laptop-only section, allowing the bag to lie flat on the X-ray belt"

    and

    "Disclaimer:
    Given TSA's use of random screening protocols, TSA reserves the right to re-screen any bag or laptop regardless of the design of the bag."

    Notice there's no mention of laptop size in 2008. Given that the mention of size is on the TSA blog and not in the more-official main tsa.gov site, I would not necessarily trust the blog to be authoritative. The 2012 blog post even mentions that there is still confusion about the whole issue of why some things are let through and others not.

    But according to the original rules from 2008, maverick is right--you are following the rules by sending it through the machine inside its case and letting them determine if they wish to rescan it.

    I have never personally had trouble with leaving my laptop in its Cache, but then again, I have a very thin Macbook Air, which is considered smaller than the "standard laptop" size. And, based on this thread, I plan on printing out the official rules, folding them, and stowing them in the Cache from now on, just in case I run across a troupe member who doesn't know the rules. I resell my Macbooks when I upgrade, and they need to stay in a pristine, scratch-free state. I'm not going to let some idiot dictate to me that I have to expose myself to risk because they don't know their own rules.
    Last edited by dchang0; 09-11-2015 at 12:24 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dchang0 View Post

    And, based on this thread, I plan on printing out the official rules, folding them, and stowing them in the Cache from now on, just in case I run across a troupe member who doesn't know the rules. I resell my Macbooks when I upgrade, and they need to stay in a pristine, scratch-free state. I'm not going to let some idiot dictate to me that I have to expose myself to risk because they don't know their own rules.
    Good luck with that, you'll probably need it.

  14. #14
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    Has anyone ever gotten a laptop in a cache through security?

    If you travel to Europe you usually have to take your computer out of the cache. In a few other countries too. Even in the U.S. it is at the discretion of the security workers.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  15. #15
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    Indeed, at the end of the day, it is at the discretion of the security officer.

    I was traveling through JFK many years back, and the TSA officer didn't like that I was using unlabeled refillable bottles for my shampoo and conditioner. The bottom of the bottle had imprinted on it 1.7 fl. oz., if I recall correctly.

    I pulled up the TSA website, which showed an image with Nalgene refillable bottles that had no labels. It didn't change their mind.

    I asked to speak with the supervisor, and showed him their website. It didn't change his mind.

    I had a choice -- go check my Aeronaut, throw the bottles away, or not get on the plane.

    I threw the bottles away and got on my flight.

    So even if you are playing by the rules, you may find yourself in situations where you don't have any choice but to concede to the whim of the security officer if you want to make your flight.

    It can be frustrating, but I remind myself that I'm more likely to gain cooperation if I maintain a smile and a friendly tone. It generally isn't a good idea to get upset in that situation.
    -m

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