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How Will New Airport Security Procedures Affect Business Travelers?

After the attempted bombing of an airliner headed from the Netherlands to Detroit on Christmas Day, many travelers were left wondering how (or if) heightened security measures would affect future flights. This question is particularly urgent for business travelers, who tend to travel farther and more frequently than anybody else.

Transportation Security Administration logoAccording to the TSA, increased checkpoint security may make lines longer for flights headed into the US from other countries. If hold a passport issued by, or are traveling from or through what the TSA describes as “nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest,” you may have to go through “enhanced screening.” However, the rules around what you can and can’t pack in your carry-on haven’t changed.

If you’re traveling domestically, you really won’t notice much of a difference. One new-ish development could signal easier traveling in the future: the TSA says that you do not have to take your laptop out of its case if it offers a clear and unobstructed view of your computer when it runs through the scanner. Some laptop-only sleeves can do this if they’re packed correctly, but most laptop bags don’t yet meet the standard. However, the TSA has encouraged laptop bag manufacturers to develop “checkpoint friendly” designs. You can read more about the TSA’s “checkpoint friendly” laptop bag procedures here.

Until the day arrives when you can just toss your briefcase onto the scanner and be done with it, here are a few tips for traveling with expensive, easy-to-lose electronics:

1. Make sure you’ve run a full backup before you leave. You might consider keeping all your important documents on your corporate file server instead of on your hard drive, in case your laptop gets lost. If you do opt to keep your files on your hard drive, make sure it’s password-protected and all your files are encrypted.

2. Invest in a biometric USB flash drive that requires an authenticated fingerprint to access files.

3. Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to ensure that you don’t lose your laptop at the airport is to give yourself plenty of time at the airport and keep an eye on your computer at all times — a recent study showed that people most frequently lose their laptops at security checkpoints and at departure gates.

For more laptop travel tips, click here.


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