Why I don’t want my laptop in my checked luggage

Angus Kidman 28 March 2017

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Yeah, #deviceban really bites the big one.

Entirely selfish confession: I was briefly worried when news first emerged last week that passengers would be banned from taking laptops in carry-on luggage for some airlines based in the Middle East flying to the US and the UK. I'm flying to London via Dubai in June, and in the initial flurry of news it wasn't entirely clear which airlines and routes would have issues.

It turns out I didn't need to worry. The ban does affect Emirates flights from Dubai to the US, but not to the UK. No-one has yet come up with a satisfactory explanation for why the list of countries and airlines targeted by the US and the UK differ, but as is often the case with international travel, we're stuck with annoyances that don't make any kind of apparent sense.

For once, I'm not particularly concerned about productivity on board. I often pull my laptop out on short-haul domestic flights, but in the cramped confines of an international economy cabin, that's less appealing. The main reason I want my laptop in my carry-on luggage is that I fear what will happen to it if I send it to the hold. No matter how carefully I wrap and layer it, I imagine it emerging at the other end with a cracked screen.

This isn't entirely rational either. When I travelled to the US last year, I packed a spare laptop in my carry-on just to cover the eventuality that my main one might break down on the road. Padded in clothes of varying degrees of cleanliness, it survived with no issues. I remind myself of that, but then I remember the enormous thunk of bags falling onto the baggage carousel at Heathrow - and that's just the part of the process I can see. I guess I could pack two laptops and cross my fingers, but I'm really glad I don't have to, for now.

Insurance isn't the problem either. If your policy includes cover for electronics, then the chances are you'll be covered for any replacement costs resulting from the policy. However, lodging your claim and getting your funds is not instantaneous. Also, if I'm in the UK or the US and I have to buy a replacement laptop, it will have the wrong power supply. I don't need that kind of hassle in my life.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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