Security tip: Ebooks and tablets

A friend asked me yesterday about Kindles and security. (You may have seen the exchange on my Facebook page.) “Do you have to take your Kindle out at security the way you do with a laptop? Or can it stay inside your bag while it goes through x-ray?” Regular readers may have noticed that I am a HUGE proponent of eReaders, and count my old school Kindle to be one of the most valuable things I travel with. I take it on every trip, so can say without a doubt that you don’t need to take it out at airport security.

However, I know the latest generation of Kindles are more like tablet computers, and I’m less familiar with those. I do have an iPad that I travel with occasionally, and I’ve never had to take it out before. But of course we know that sometimes what happens in practice does not follow the actual rule (thanks for the consistency, TSA) so I thought I would check for sure. I went to the TSA webpage to see what I could find.

Here’s what I found after entering “tablet computer” into the “Can I bring my….” tool:

Small and portable electronic items (iPods, iPads, cell phones, etc.) do not need to be removed from their carrying cases.

Super, so iPads and other tablets don’t have to come out. Just for fun I checked eReaders, and the same message came up. Good to know! Of course, laptops still have to come out and go into their own bin.

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  1. Most of the time in Asia I need to take out my iPad but in the US never need to. That said I have had to politely educate TSA about that sometimes. Now with PreCheck it’s a moot point.

  2. At Frankfurt, they asked me to take out the “small computer” from my bag after the first scan. They were referring to my tablet.

  3. They should tell TSA at Newark… last time the agent kept yelling to everyone (no one?) that iPads needed to come out. No, no they don’t.

  4. As per the TSA blog, you don’t need to remove your 11″ MacBook Air either.
    There are times when they still want to inspect my carry-on, but it’s usually only the rookies. Although they seem to be aware of the Air exception, they sometimes say that I have too much electronics in my bag to clearly differentiate the various items.
    So far, the only place, where the agent was unaware of the TSA’s policy, was San Jose (Silicon Valley) CA — go figure!

  5. I’ve had to take my iPad out every single time I’ve flown with it (flights from US, Amsterdam, Prague, and Paris). Not sure why this is – I have it in a case that’s obviously an iPad case.

  6. joseph, i know road warriorette IRL, and she isn’t getting paid by amazon to talk about the kindle. i actually posed the question to her on her facebook now that i have a kindle of my own, and that prompted this blog post. i think she included the disclosure message at the bottom as a courtesy — in the case that you end up clicking through and do decide to purchase any mentioned items, she would get paid a percentage.

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