LOS ANGELES -- Anything that will get me through the Transportation Security Administration line quicker is something I want to try. So when I got the new SpeedThru checkpoint-friendly laptop sleeve in from Briggs & Riley, I was anxious to see it.
As of Aug. 16, 2008, the TSA started allowing passengers to leave their laptops in bags as long as they are in bags that meet the new "checkpoint friendly" standard. This sleeve meets all of those requirements.
Next up is the Nextar Portable Media Player. Gadget Grrl says you're going to start seeing a whole slew of new portable media players released. One of them is the Nextar 4GB player. For starters, there is no click wheel. Instead, the navigation buttons are found around the sides of the player.
But first, more about that sleeve.
The TSA is now allowing passengers to leave their laptops in bags. To capitalize on this, Briggs & Riley offers products containing checkpoint-friendly laptop sleeves enhanced with the SpeedThru label.
What makes a bag checkpoint friendly:
A designated laptop-only section; the laptop section should unfold and lie flat on the X-ray belt; no metal snaps, zippers or buckles inside, underneath or on top of the laptop section; no pockets on the inside or outside of the laptop section; and nothing besides the laptop in the laptop section.
The SpeedThru meets all of the above criteria.
It's roomy enough for most laptops -- 15" - 17" -- and the smooth, soft, surface provides a cushioned sleeve for your laptop. There is a Velcro strap across top, so your laptop won't slide out while going through the security line.
The majority of the company's current @work business cases containing removable laptop sleeves are designed to be checkpoint friendly. An assortment of new stand-alone checkpoint-friendly laptop sleeves will be available for purchase in the fourth quarter of 2008, and will range in price from $29.99 to $69.99.
When giving it a trial, what I liked was the size (about the size of a ¼ deck of cards) and weight (1.1 lb) of this player. It's thin and light enough to carry a couple of movies onboard a flight. Most flights seem to find some of the worst movies or TV shows so an alternative to in-flight entertainment is always nice. There is 4GB of internal memory and an SD slot in order to upgrade for an additional 2GB. There is also an FM tuner and a voice recorder in case you want to do some on-the-run dictation.
Site to see: DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program
If you've ever been delayed or denied boarding by TSA, here is the place to file a formal complaint. It's also the place to try and get your name removed from the homeland security watchlist. I used to get stopped repeatedly after 9-11 because I fly a number of one-way flights. That used to be a red flag and cause for extra security. If you've had trouble flying or feel you've been singled out, this would be a good place to start your inquiry.