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MacBook Air confuses airport security

updated 12:00 pm EDT, Mon March 10, 2008

MacBook Air confusing

The MacBook Air's thin design is causing some confusion for the technically ignorant, according to one blogger who says that the ultra-portable caused him to miss his flight. When going through the TSA airport security checkpoint, blogger Michael Nygard was held up as security staff gathered around his MacBook Air, trying to make sense of the slender laptop. One of the less technically knowledgeable staff points out the lack of standard features as cause for alarm.

"I'm standing, watching my laptop on the table, listening to security clucking just behind me," Nygard recalls of the situation. "'There's no drive," one says. 'And no ports on the back. It has a couple of lines where the drive should be,' she continues."

Nygard was made to wait until a younger agent came over to the gathering to inform his comrades of their error, that it is indeed a laptop and not a "device". After making three attempts to describe the concept of a flash-based hard drive, security lets Nygard through the checkpoint, only to go back to the service center to rebook, as his flight had since left.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. njfuzzy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Bad sign

    If these trained apes can't recognize a laptop because of such basic ignorance, how are they supposed to recognize a bomb? We aren't made safer by these "security precautions", we are just inconvenienced into thinking someone is trying to make is safe.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Quote

    "There is no such thing as safety.. only the illusion of safety!"

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    whew

    I'd be glad the didn't try to pop it open.

    The upside is that the TSA is actually picking up on possible security compromises like this. The old news regarding them used to be focused on how much the miss. Now they're portrayed as over-zealous. I'd prefer that the media portray them as such to discourage people from actually trying to slip by.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: bad sign

    Yes, because the TSA should do nothing else but try to read up on every new invention coming along.

    But seriously, did you read his blog. He generally comes off as an idiot who travels alot yet whines about everything. Doesn't know he'll need his boarding pass to enter the security area? OMG, the hardship! Here's a hint. You need it to get through, so shove it in your pocket and be done with it. Geesh!

    And, beyond that, he's also apparently one of those "real" travelers who feel planes should wait for them, and, as such, shows up at the airport some 30 minutes before departure (because there's no way this whole event took 30 minutes-hour). Maybe his plane wouldn't have left if he didn't try to cut it so close.

    Oh, and this whole thing comes up because they looked at the x-ray and didn't see what they were expecting to see. Well, that's what you get for being cutting edge!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    oh

    Bear in mind it is better then it used to be. I remember flying through Orlando one time and this dip-s*** scanner woman was scanning two laptops, some guys and mine. She took mine and placed it on some overhang over the belt, then took the other guys, tried to place it up there too, didn't get it completely on the ledge, and the computer took a 6 foot leap to the floor. He was not happy (but also running really late, so couldn't even check if it was broken or not).

    Nowadays there's no way they're dropping a laptop on the ground, since it could cause it to explode.

  1. gregj

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    mindless

    Only a clear comment how worthless and stupid are the procedures and ppl working around security on airport. (not to say some americans in general :P). Some lady was trying to squeeze my watch once with her thumbs so hard, by pressing it - to prove that it wasn't bomb :) I kept it in my pocket, for whatever reason at that time (I guess wrist band was broke or whatever). I mean, what if I am a constructor - and I have a laptop that is the only one in the world, for instance - atari 80 XE laptop :> stupidity ! Or should I say Bushizm (which means even greater stupidity).

  1. Faceplant

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Amazing...

    Those TSA F***tards. With that kind of ignorant security, we deserve to get our asses kicked by the ragheads.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    gregj

    No need to be rude...there are "worthless and stupid" all over the world, not just Americans. Yes, I capitalized Americans, just like I would capitalize any other nationality. Grow up and keep you rude and hateful comments to yourself.

  1. ender

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    not to make excusses, but

    We've all had our share of experiences with TSA; however, when a laptop goes though the scanner they are looking for certain things. There is a reason laptops are sent through seperately. It's so they can take a look and make sure it contains all the parts of a functional laptop. A little C4 in a place were a hard drive or battery should be would end your flight really quick, wouldn't it? And the MBA has a very small circuit board. On an x-ray, it probably looks like there is a lot of open space inside the case. They used to require that you actually open your laptop and boot it (if it's not already) to prove it was a functioning computer. Let's just be glad they don't do that anymore!

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    @danviento

    Yeah well - you go out and buy some indesceet piece of technology and have a bunch of non-tech-savy Security Guards hold you up as they are not up to date with the latest gadgets and see how calm you are after you miss a couple of flights because they lack current knowledge_

    Sorry dude - but if someone is working security on this level then those people need to be going thru traingin at least monthly so they are up to date on 99% of the types of technology out there_

    What if they'd started to take it apart - especially not knowing what it was - using tools that aren't compatible with disassembly - voided the warranty and that person would have had to deal with forcing them to re-imburse him for the voided product_ All because they are too dumb to know what a laptop is_

    You're right about one thing - it is over-kill_ But going from over zealous about tooth-picks being considered a dangerous item on a plane to being under zealous because they don't know what a laptop looks like - all they're doing is replacing one extreme for another and that is not good_

    A happy middle ground would be best and this is achievable if they keep their personnel up to date_

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