Flying with a MacBook Air? Be forewarned

The Transportation Security Administration -- you know, the folks in charge of security at U.S. airports -- have taken a fancy to Apple Inc.'s MacBook Air. It's not that they're out buying lots of the apparently popular little laptops; they've been looking into complaints from owners who've had trouble getting through security.

"Blogger Bob," a TSA employee since 2002, got his hands on a MacBook Air and explained on the agency's Evolution of Security blog what he found. First, he pointed out that the laptop is thinner than most, something that in and of itself might raise a few eyebrows among TSA employees who may not know about the Air. Then he ran it through TSA screening machines so he could see what workers in the field are seeing. As it turns out, the images of the Air's innards do differ from the images of other laptops -- particularly if the Air in question is equipped with a solid-state drive. "I can see some areas that would pique some interest; It looks very different than what we're accustomed to seeing," Bob says in a video accompanying the blog.

Given those findings, the agency has taken photos of the MacBook Air -- and presumably some of the x-ray images of it -- and plans to send them out to the 45,000 employees who screen laptops to avoid confusion. 

So if you're planning to take your Air on board a U.S. flight, and security wants a closer look, don't assume it's because they're awed by the industrial design.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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