We individually evaluate all products and services we recommend. If you click on links on our website, we may earn a commission.

What Is A TSA Friendly Laptop Bag For Easy Travel

what is a tsa friendly laptop bag 2

Do you feel annoyed or anxious every time you go through the TSA security screening checkpoint with your laptop backpack? Take it out, put it back, and what to do next? It’s okay if you feel both. And like many travelers, you wonder what is a TSA friendly laptop bag that gets through the TSA standard airport security checkpoint minus the worrying.

Taking the laptop out of the bag for x-ray screening and returning might be a hassle for some. What a mess you make when you put the laptop back, is it in the right pocket and where is the velcro strap? You also worry about your laptop’s safety but you can avoid all these if you have a TSA-friendly laptop backpack.

What Is A TSA Friendly Laptop Bag – Brief Background

In 2008, the TSA started thinking about ways to streamline the standard airport security check-in process. As a result, TSA sought recommendations from bag manufacturers for a laptop bag that could pass inspection with the laptop inside.

In addition, the laptop pocket must not have zippers, straps, and other components. In short, the laptop must appear as if it was in a TSA bin going through the airport scanner with nothing to impede the view of the x-ray machine.

With this initiative, manufacturers introduced and added a line of TSA-friendly laptop backpacks or bags with a dedicated laptop compartment. Because of this, travelers started wondering about what is a TSA friendly laptop bag and how it is different from a regular laptop bag.

what is a tsa friendly laptop bag 1

What Is A TSA Friendly Laptop Bag?

A TSA- approved laptop backpack is a bag that you can fully unzip to make one or two sides lie flat on the conveyor belt. The laptop goes through the scanner and stays in the laptop compartment. The other side of the bag with its contents is either upright or flat on the X-ray belt. The laptop compartment must be free of zippers, straps, or anything that will obstruct the scanning process.

Many travelers have asked about what is a TSA friendly laptop bag. So why don’t we discuss it some more and know the TSA guidelines for TSA compliant laptop bags?

TSA Guidelines For TSA Friendly Laptop Backpacks

To help understand what is a TSA friendly laptop bag, let’s get familiar with the TSA guidelines for carry-on baggage screening.

  • The laptop bag must have a dedicated laptop-only compartment that can lie flat on the X-ray belt when you open or unzip the bag.
  • It must have a laptop compartment free of metal snaps, buckles, zippers, straps, and anything that will obstruct the scanner from getting clear images.
  • The laptop bag must have no pocket within and outside the laptop compartment.
  • Only the laptop is in the compartment, and there cannot be a dedicated tablet pocket over the laptop pocket.
  • The laptop bag must completely unfold from an upright position to a 90-degree angle, so it lies flat on the X-ray belt.

With these guidelines, you think, what is a TSA friendly laptop bag if you can’t put other stuff in it? To be clear, TSA is specific about the laptop compartment –dedicated to the laptop alone and with no other items.

The accessories, such as portable phone chargers, cables, cell phones, etc., must be on the other side of the bag together with your essentials. Remember that it is always better to pack correctly and keep things neat and organized.

what is a tsa friendly laptop bag feature

What Makes A Good TSA-Friendly Laptop Backpack?

And since many manufacturers now offer TSA-approved laptop backpacks, how do you know you got the best one? Consider these factors along with the basic features of what is a TSA friendly laptop bag:


What is a TSA friendly laptop bag if the laptop won’t fit in the device compartment? First, choosing the appropriate laptop bag size is essential. For example, do you have a 17-inch laptop? Then, select the bag with a 17-inch laptop sleeve and a main section where you can put everything else – chargers, cables, headphones, etc. along with your other essentials.


Considering the airline’s policies on weight and size limits of a carry-on or personal item, the laptop backpack must comply with those requirements. In addition, check the other features that will help you carry the bag comfortably – padded shoulder straps with a built-in sternum strap and trolley straps compatible with most carry-on telescopic handles. What is a TSA friendly laptop bag if it’s not comfortable to carry?

Add-On Tech Features

Are you always on the go? How convenient will it be to have a laptop bag with a USB charging or headphone port? The best laptop backpacks offer innovative design features to make your travel experience comfortable and hassle-free, not just from TSA security screening but everything else.

What Is A TSA Friendly Laptop Bag – FAQs

Here are some questions many ask about what is a TSA friendly laptop bag.

What makes a bag TSA friendly?

TSA-approved bags can fully open when unzipped, with the laptop compartment lying flat on the X-ray belt. The bag goes through the scanner with the laptop still inside the laptop compartment

How does TSA check laptops?

For standard TSA security screening, if you do not have a TSA friendly laptop bag, the TSA officer will ask you to remove the laptop from your bag or compartment and put it in a separate TSA collection bin. No other items will be in the same bin as the laptop.

Can I take a laptop bag and a backpack on a plane?

Airline rules on carry-on bags vary. A laptop backpack is your laptop bag and can be a personal item if it fits in the seat in front of you.

Additional Resources

If you are looking for more tutorials, walkthroughs, and troubleshooting on TSA and TSA approved, here are some additional posts about backpacks, and TSA:

What Is A TSA Friendly Laptop Bag – Conclusion

As a frequent business traveler who brings work everywhere, what is a TSA friendly laptop bag is a very important question. Having a TSA-approved laptop bag means traveling worry-free – never again concern yourself with the TSA security screening x-ray machine or accidentally leave the laptop at the TSA security checkpoint.

It’s easy, just unzip the laptop bag, lay it flat, and send it through the airport scanner. Then grab the bag, zip it back up to close, and head out to the next stop.

Can traveling be any more manageable and convenient than that?

Happy travels, my friends.

Photo of author

Laura Fuller

Hello, I am a luggage and travel fanatic. With a vast knowledge of TSA regulations, I am here to assist you on your journey. Please join me, and together, we will navigate the world of travel. From TSA and air to cruising the high seas, we will explore the best accessories and tips for smooth travel.

Leave a Comment