Quick Security Tip: Don’t Leave Your Laptop!!

Flying home on Friday night I sat next to a very interesting man. After visiting for a while, we started comparing travel war stories. He confessed that the day before on his flight out to California, he had left his laptop at security in his home airport. He was in Dallas before he realized it. Can you imagine! Your company laptop, with all of the documents and files you need for your trip, plus your company information on it! I shudder at the thought. Luckily for this gentleman, once he told the American Airlines flight attendant, she told the pilot, who radioed the tower, who called security, who found it and held it for him until he returned. Sheesh.

My point, friends, is to make sure you have all your stuff when you leave security. I know it’s easier said than done. I know we get into autopilot mode and just go through the motions. But you have to be very deliberate when you’re picking your stuff up once you’ve gone through. One of the things that helps me is to put my things in the same order every time: shoes, laptop, coat and liquids bag, purse, suitcase. I know I’m not going to leave without my suitcase, and if that’s the last thing in line then I will get everything else.

Some people tape their business card to the bottom of their laptop in case they lose it. I have not tried that yet, although after this man’s story I am very tempted.

Readers, has this ever happened to you? What are your tricks for remembering everything at security?



  1. Same as you stated, everything in a specific order everytime. I taped a business card on the inside of the laptop, lower left side (this may not be possible depending on make and model of laptop). I also installed Lojack for laptops, just in case my laptop didn’t like where I was going and decided it wanted to be adopted by someone else. 😉

  2. this happened to me twice – both times i was late for a flight, and rushing, and forgot my laptop. I generally do day trips, and so i use a TSA certified bag, so i dont take my laptop out, and i generally dont carry liquids. I dont wear a belt, avoid coats in my hand if i can. I leave all my electronics in the bag. 9 out of 10 times, its flip open the bag, put my shoes on, walk through, put my shoes on, grab my bag, and im done.

    That being said, im a road warrior – but its a habit that has stuck with me whether i am traveling on work or pleasure.

  3. I tape a business card to the top of the laptop. I currently leave my laptop in its neoprene sleeve (TSA friendly)to go through security, so I also have a note that says “reward if found” and my cell phone number taped to the sleeve. This note is on bright pink flourescent paper. If I leave it behind somewhere, I want the finder to be motivated to call me! The bright pink note also serves to keep someone else from picking mine up by mistake.

  4. Man! He would’ve lost a lot there. These kind of cases happens to me a lot although it was never my laptop. In case for me, I’m sure leaving my laptop for a few minutes will get it stolen for sure here in our country.

  5. Another issue can be picking up the wrong laptop! How many of you carry the same gray/silver Dell Latitude Pro? A lot. I’ve once gotten to past the scanner, to find 4 bins, all containing laptops exactly identical to mine.

    My assistant once grabbed the wrong laptop on the way back home. We didn’t find out until she booted it up on Monday morning. Turns out hers ended up in Israel, and we ended up having to pay to have it shipped back at international rates (as the gal which were able to contact, wasn’t all that concerned and was happy to just wait until she got back to exchange… we couldn’t).

    We both put stickers on the bottom and top of our laptops after that. Works like a charm, no businessman wants to pick up a laptop with a Hello Kitty sticker on it. And when I come up on those 4 identical laptops again, I can grab mine in a rush, no problem.

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