MacBook Air on TSA watchlist

March 12, 2008 // 7:39 a.m.

Tags: #flight #laptop #macbook #macbook-air #ultraportable

Companies: #apple

If you're hoping that a MacBook Air might be just the thing to complement your jet-setting lifestyle, perhaps you'd better wait until they become a more common sight – as a Mac fan has found to his consternation.

Michael Nygard was taking his shiny new toy – sans manilla envelope – on an internal flight to San Jose, and encountered a problem so bizarre that he had to write about it in a blog posting entitled “Steve Jobs Made Me Miss My Flight.

While checking in to the flight and passing his carry-on luggage – containing his ultra-slim pride and joy – through the airport X-ray machine, he was halted and his luggage snagged by security staff. After unpacking the laptop and asking Michael to follow them to a cubicle, the security staff are faced with a puzzle as vexing as the monkeys were in 2001.

Michael recalls one team member scratching their head and bemoaning the lack of hard-drive visible on the X-ray imagery. The same staff member declares that there are “no ports on the back.

Just before receiving the rubber glove treatment, Michael was saved when a younger, hipper TSA staffer arrived on the scene. “The new arrival looked at the printouts from x-ray” and much to Michael's relief told the rest of the staff that “it is a real laptop, not a "device".

Despite this corroboration from one of their own, the chief TSA official at the scene required Michael to power the Air up and run an application, just to prove it's not some twisted plot to smuggle an incredibly thin and sexy bomb on board. Job done, Michael was permitted to board the plane and depart. Well, he would have been if the TSA hadn't taken so long that the aircraft had departed without him.

I know that the TSA – and, by extension, airport security staff worldwide – are there to ensure our safety, but would it break the budget to subscribe to a gadget magazine or two?

What's your take on Michael's story: were the TSA just doing their job, or do they need to hire a better class of security personnel? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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