Reason why your laptop needs to go through an airport scanner on its own
Possibly the longest part of the airport experience is going through security. Frequent fliers will know that laptops have to be placed in their own tray. A trip through the airport can often be a stressful experience, with travelers separating their liquids into bags, frantically pulling out their electrical items, and sometimes even taking off their shoes.
While it can feel like a hassle at the time, there is an important reason behind separating laptops from other belongings. According to Doug Drury, Head of Aviation at CQUniversity Australia, a laptop’s battery and other mechanical components are too dense for X-rays to penetrate effectively, especially with older scanning systems. This means that security officials can’t accurately determine potential risks if there is a laptop in a bag. Consequently, the bag may need to be physically searched, causing delays and slowing down the overall security process. Removing all devices in the first place simplifies the process.
Additionally, a laptop inside a bag can potentially shield other items from view, including dangerous objects. However, by scanning the laptop separately, the internal components can be revealed on the screen, allowing security officials to assess the contents more thoroughly. The same rule applies to cameras, iPads, and other large electrical devices.
Fortunately, there is hope for a quicker and more efficient security process in the future. Advanced new scanners, such as the ones introduced in the US, Australia, Holland, London City Airport, and Teesside International Airport, use X-Ray technology to create high-resolution 3D images of luggage, providing assessors with a more detailed view from every angle. This reduces the need for additional checks, making the process faster for everyone involved. By June 2024, all major UK airports are required by the British Government to use this technology, eliminating the need for removing items from bags and relaxing the restrictions on the amount of liquids allowed.
In conclusion, while it may currently be inconvenient to place laptops in separate trays during the airport security process, it is necessary in order to ensure a thorough and effective screening. However, advancements in scanning technology promise a future where this requirement will be minimized, providing a smoother and more efficient experience for travelers.