Yes, laptops can go in checked baggage as long as they are in your carry-on bag. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires that all electronics larger than a cell phone must be screened in the X-ray bin of the airport security checkpoint. In addition to personal laptops, this includes desktops, notebooks, tablets, e-readers, and video game consoles. These items can be taken out of their cases and placed in the bins separately from your other bags so you won’t have to unpack everything when you reach your destination.
What you need to know about laptop sizes
-Laptops that are not a part of the carry-on bag cannot be stored in an overhead bin or checked baggage. They will need to go under the plane with passengers and flight crew only. -The most recent FAA guidelines state that laptops should measure no more than 16 x 9 x 1.4 inches, but can weigh up to 5 pounds.
-In the event a laptop needs to be checked, it must first undergo an enhanced security screening that may include being opened, examined inside and out, physically probed, scanned by X-ray machines or explosive detection devices, or inspected with chemical swabs. Passengers may also be required to power up their laptop computers before boarding the aircraft for these checks.
What you should know about TSA restrictions
Whether or not your laptop can go in checked baggage depends on whether or not it has lithium-ion batteries. You can only bring a laptop with lithium-ion batteries if it’s packed inside of your carry-on bag and it’s been disconnected from the charger for at least 30 minutes. If the battery is exposed, you’ll need to put it in your checked luggage or leave it at home. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security prohibits flying with these items
How best to protect your laptop
Pack your laptop in a carrying case, such as a laptop bag or a padded envelope. Make sure it will fit into the overhead bin on the plane and is secured to the other items you are taking with you. Keep fragile items near the top of your bag so they don’t get broken by other items. Always ask before stowing anything above or below an airplane’s window due to the higher risk of damage from items falling out. When checking your laptop, make sure it has TSA-approved locks if possible, which can help protect against theft as well as damage during transport.
Getting the most out of your laptop battery
Most of the time a laptop battery will last long enough to make it through a flight but there are some tips to help you get the most out of your battery life. First, do not use the laptop on full brightness; dimming your screen to medium or low will extend your battery life. Second, if possible, charge your computer before you fly to give it as much power as possible before it goes into storage mode during the flight. And finally, if you’re flying a domestic flight and want to conserve battery for when you arrive at your destination, shut down all unneeded programs and put your device into Airplane Mode just before take-off so that any data transfers from inflight wi-fi connections will also be restricted.
Frequently asked questions about checking laptops
Where can I find the laptop size limits?
Laptop size limits are usually 10 x 16 x 1 inch and fit within your carry-on baggage. This is the default size and if you have a bag that is bigger, be sure to contact your airline or travel agent before flying.
Can I bring my laptop on board the plane with me?
If you’re checking a bag, then yes but it must go into a hard case container or have fragile stickers attached to it.
Can laptops be left unattended in the checked baggage area of the airport?
Yes as long as they are properly packaged (i.e., zipped closed) and there’s no room for an animal to access them.
A number of people have been asking whether or not laptops can go in checked baggage. This is a difficult question to answer because it’s not just about the size, but also about the weight of your laptop. If you are carrying a 15-inch MacBook Pro and another item that weighs 10 pounds, then your carry-on will weigh 35 pounds and so should go as checked baggage instead. The TSA has restrictions on what can go through security which makes it even more difficult to know what to do with your laptop; so contact them before arriving at the airport and find out what they would recommend for you.