Ask Finder: Do I need to remove my tablet at airport security?
Laptops need to be removed for scanning, but what about other devices?
Dear Finder, I'm taking a trip to Europe soon and I'm planning to take my tablet for in-flight entertainment. I know you need to take your laptop out for separate scanning at security, but what's the rule for tablets?
Thanks, Tablet Flyer
Dear Tablet Flyer,
For the most part, you won't have to take your tablet out of your hand luggage when you're travelling through security in Australia, but other countries could have stricter rules.
Some airports might be pickier than others when it comes to taking your tablet out. Finder's editor-in-chief Angus Kidman reports being asked to remove his Kindle for separate scanning by UK airport security. In short: you might have to take your tablet out, so don't bury the device in the depths of your hand luggage.
You'll find that most tablets aren't light, either, so make sure you're not over the 7kgs weight limit for carry-on baggage on all Australian airlines.
If you're using a tablet with a keyboard attached, like the Surface Pro 6 or iPad Pro, you'll usually have to remove it for separate scanning as security staff might not be able to tell the difference between a tablet with a keyboard and a laptop.
Once you're on board, many airlines offer USB charging on overseas flights, and a handful have tablet holders on the seatback which you can make use of. However, you won't be able to utilise either of these during takeoff and landing. Again, if you're travelling with keyboard-attached tablets, you'll have to stow them for takeoff and landing.
Using a tablet is a great way of getting your in-flight entertainment, as some carriers offer in-flight Wi-Fi but others offer no entertainment options at all. The key benefit of using your own tablet for in-flight entertainment is that you can download content of your choice, so you know what you're getting. Some carriers, like Air Asia X, will rent you a tablet with content preloaded, if you can't be bothered moving a device around with you. That being said, if you're planning to use your tablet on the road, it's still a useful device to have.
As a final friendly reminder, international roaming fees bite. If you've got a LTE-equipped tablet, make sure you disable roaming or take the SIM out entirely before travelling to avoid being hit with excess charges. If you need to stay connected on the go, check out our roaming guide for more information on your options.
Ask Finder is a regular column where Finder's expert writers answer your questions. All rates and fees are correct at time of publication and we only give general advice. Got a question for Points Finder? Hit us up on Facebook.
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