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Sturdy Laptop Travel Cases?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the able-to-survive-long-airport-trips dept.

100

biglig2 asks: "You may have seen on todays news that, after a foiled attempt to smuggle explosives on a plane here in the UK, UK airlines are now banning all cabin baggage on outgoing flights. Great timing, since I'm probably flying to the States next week, and this means putting my laptop, iPod and cellphone into the cargo hold. Since I have to assume that anything I put in the hold is going to be frozen, depressurized, and repeatedly jumped on by the baggage handlers, what hard laptop cases have Slashdot users found to be indestructible?"

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Simple... (4, Funny)

Tim_sama (993132) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886292)

Adamantium.

Anything less, and you might as well not try.

Re:Simple... (1)

Sorthum (123064) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886764)

With eight locks.

The problem isn't the laptop getting dinged; it's the TSA goons stealing your computer. They must think that Christmas came early this year with all the electronic stuff they're getting their hands on today...

Re:Simple... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886846)

The TSA WILL bust any lock that they don't have the key for (there is one out there with a TSA skeleton key) and they will most likely damage your luggage and contents in the process. Having a sturdy lock on your luggage will also likely get you pulled aside for a strip search, especially if coming from the UK. My advice is to be a good little cattle and blend into the background.

Re:Simple... (1)

nido (102070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887313)

The TSA WILL bust any lock that they don't have the key for (there is one out there with a TSA skeleton key)

My brother had one of those. He went someplace, the mystery TSA agent with the key opened his bag... and didn't put the lock back after they pawed through all his stuff.

My advice is to be a good little cattle and blend into the background.

yes, perfectly reasonable to try to hide in the slaughterhouse line.

Re:Simple... (1)

da5idnetlimit.com (410908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889013)

1 / Backup often, backup just before taking the plane
2 / Take a picture of you bag content, zip and lock it
3 / Take Luggage Insurance or check your credit card coverage in case of "lost or destroyed items"
4 / Sue ! ASAP ! when you discover you miss some stuff (you should check your bag while STILL in the airport, better while still into the luggage zone
5 / 10 % of all benefits to be sent to my paypal account. Just answer this post 8)

I've been one of the monkey luggage handler during a piss poor summer.

We hated the hard case people, giving us a 10 pound metal luggage containing almost nothing
We loathed the guy that put his guitar in a soft case
We despised the fellow that was sending a FULL FRIDGE home
We took the name of everyone on that bastard jumping team THAT HAD THEIR JUMPING POLES IN A TOO SMALL CARGO HOLD

There is no real solution. Get a full metal case, use foam to pad the essentials, get 2/3 exotic locks and make sure you can spend 2-3 hours in the airport after you landed.

and shave your beard...

Best of luck,

Hoping to hear from you on Channel 4

Knewbie 8)

TSA and little locks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15891864)

I've had two exeriences with TSA and little locks. The first time I put a cheap little combination lock on a bag just to hold the zipper shut, fully expecting them to cut if off if they neded to inspect the bag. Instead, they apparently twiddled the dials until it opened (pretty simple, as I learned later), changed the combination, and put it back on the bag. Second time I just locked it on the zipper but not holding anything shut, just dangly there. When I picked up the bag the lock was missing. I still wonder what they thought they accomplised in both cases.

Re:Simple... (1)

cecille (583022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889394)

One of my friends worked a summer job at the airport and said basically if you put a laptop bag through as luggage that you wouldn't be seeing it come out the other end. Along with a lock, I'd try for something that doesn't look too obvious, or put the laptop bag inside the suitcase.

It's funny, becuase when I last travelled from the UK (month ago) they had signs up all over the place specifically saying not to put you laptop into the cargo hold. I had to take the computer out of my carry-on every time I went through a security gate, which was like every 3 feet. As a sidenote, every other gate they also made me take off my belt and my shoes. Unfortunately, I happened to be wearing pants that have become MUCH too big, so I ended up standing there at every gate, shoeless, holding up my pants with one hand, attempting to re-dress and re-pack in the middle of the airport. Not at all embarassing.

Re:Simple... (1)

Zanth_ (157695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886926)

I wish I had my mod points still. What a great comment :)

all you need to know (4, Informative)

gus24 (946010) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886297)


http://www.pelican.com/ [pelican.com]

if you have the cash for the flash: http://www.zerohalliburton.com/ [zerohalliburton.com]

Re:all you need to know (1)

pbrammer (526214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886368)

Yes, another vote for Pelican [pelican.com] cases.

Re:all you need to know (1)

xornor (165117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886406)

the zero's look cool but they seem like they would get a lot of dings and scratches. The pelicans also have very configurable interior foam.

Don't make it look valuable! (3, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887040)

I think the unspoken commentary regarding the finish they put on Zero-Halliburton cases is: if you're rich enough to afford it in the first place, then you're rich enough to replace the damn thing every time it gets scratched.

That's actually the biggest reason why I would avoid it, or any other kind of obviously high-end, high-tech luggage. You don't want the bag that has your expensive stuff in it, to look like it has expensive stuff in it.

If I had a Z-H, the first thing I'd do before I checked it in at the airline, would be to put it in a nondescript duffel bag. Maybe something tremendously ugly and/or distinctive (a giveaway bag from the "Swan Lake Camp for Retarded Youngsters" would work well). Particularly since the maximum claimable value for luggage is limited by law to something fairly low, and downright worthless on international flights, you really don't want to have a few thousand dollars worth of stuff stolen. When that nice shiny piece of brushed aluminum or stainless steel fails to come around the luggage-recovery belt, you're going to be out thousands of dollars worth of luggage and gear.

I think the airlines' liability for checked luggage is limited to something around $9.07 per pound with a maximum of $400 per passenger; disguising your bag so that it doesn't grow legs and walk off seems to me, to be a whole lot more important than looking sharp when you're carrying it around.

I'd get a Pelican case, or other kind of hard transport case, and then always check it inside of some other crappy bag. Not only will it protect the "real" case, but it'll make it a little less obvious that whatever's inside the bag is valuable enough to warrant such a container.

Re:all you need to know MODEL NUMBERS (2, Informative)

Tweakmeister (638831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886698)

Pelican 1490 and 1520 fit/are made for laptops.

Pelican cases are too big (1)

jrvz (734655) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889913)

Maybe they intended them for laptops, but even the 1490 is four times thicker than I need. It's five inches too big in each of the other dimensions too. My Dell X-300 is only 11 x 9.3 x 1".

Re:Pelican cases are too big (1)

Tweakmeister (638831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889952)

I recently purchased a 1520 lol. You have to remember that the interior dimensions need to allow for a healthy amount of foam around everything. With a power brick and any other goodies, the size is just right.

Re:all you need to know (2, Informative)

Anml4ixoye (264762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886704)

I second the Zero Halliburton cases. I used to work for a distributor, and kept my ThinkPad in one of the brushed aluminum cases. Never had a problem.

My former employer's site [cases2go.com] has the cases for discount through an auction interface. They make cases for PDAs too - cool stuff.

No, no... (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886978)

And I un-second the Zero Halliburton cases, as they scream "steal me" at the top of their shiny little lungs. Pro photograpers learned that a long time ago. Get a Pelican and even then wrap a beat-up duffle around it so when it comes off the luggage carrousel it doesn't say "equipment" and no one gives it a second glance.

Re:No, no... (1)

Anml4ixoye (264762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888054)

Well, that's why I always handcuff mine to my wrist in the airport. That + suit and sunglasses can really get you places.

Re:No, no... (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15890146)

Un huh. And do you then check yourself AND your briefcase in and ride in the baggage hold? No carry ons, remember?

Re:all you need to know (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887028)

I recently bought a Pelican case for my camera and would whole-heartedly recommend them. My only complaint is that, at least with the model I have (the 1450) there is no place to clip a shoulder strap. But at least the outside of the case can take just about anything. (I regularily used it as a chair.) I don't think you'll get much better than them.

Though I do find the restrictions on their guarantee [pelican.com] amusing:
The guarantee does not cover shark bite, bear attack and children under five.

Re:all you need to know (1)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887054)

I found that the Mezzi laptop cases [mezzi.com] were significantly cheaper, and had the benefit of being available in a size to fit my laptop -- the LUXslim XXT [mezzi.com] aluminum case fit my laptop very nicely -- a Clevo D900K, power supply, external Logitech trackball, external FDD, WTR54GS wireless router, and headphones fit neatly into the case.

Re:all you need to know (0, Flamebait)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887090)

I call "BS".

First of all, this "ban" won't last long. Primarily because airlines would go out of business if they didn't have business travelers. The reason they would lose business travelers is because the airlines aren't willing to take on the liability of corporate "laptops" in their cargo holds. If I bring a notebook with $4 million dollars worth of data on it, I can guarantee that the airline would prefer that I carry it on, rather than "check it in" to the cargo hold.

Second, why would you link to a website "halliburton" site? Are you fearmongering (ala Republican: let's scare people and take their civil rights), or are you a Democrat: we're not afraid of being blown up in an airplane (because we know the statistical odds)?

Re:all you need to know (2, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887164)

First of all, this "ban" won't last long.

I think you're right, but the question still has merit. There are plenty of times you'd like (or at least I would like) a hard case for a laptop besides throwing it in the cargo hold. I said in another reply that I just got a Pelican case (BTW, remembering a similar ask /. question ages ago; thanks to the probably several people who suggested it); this was for a trip to Norway I just had. I used the case even though I carried it as checked luggage.

Second, why would you link to a website "halliburton" site? Are you fearmongering (ala Republican: let's scare people and take their civil rights), or are you a Democrat: we're not afraid of being blown up in an airplane (because we know the statistical odds)?

What the hell does politics have to do with this? Halliburton Zero cases are often thought of in the same class as Pelican cases. It's an option for the original poster. If said poster has a moral objection to Halliburton, then that's fine, they don't have to buy from them. But it's a legitimate answer to the question.

Re:all you need to know (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887168)

I used the case even though I carried it as checked luggage.

And by "checked luggage" I of course mean "carry-on." I wish you could edit posts...

Re:all you need to know (1)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15891484)

Well, I have a moral objection to Haliburton, but since Zero Haliburton is just the Zero company reanmed after they bought Haliburton's luggage subsidiary, I'm OK with them.

Re:all you need to know (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15893307)

Yeah, I saw the sibling of my post afterword. I didn't know about that when I posted, so, there's a bit of egg on my face.

Re:all you need to know (2, Informative)

gus24 (946010) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887208)

Second, why would you link to a website "halliburton" site? Are you fearmongering (ala Republican: let's scare people and take their civil rights), or are you a Democrat: we're not afraid of being blown up in an airplane (because we know the statistical odds)?
um they are currently unrelated fiscaly; from wikipedia [wikipedia.org] ...

Zero Halliburton was originally a metal fabrication company called Zierold Company, which in 1946 changed its name to Zero Corporation. In 1952 Zero, which until then had no relation to Halliburton, bought the luggage division of Halliburton, the Texas oil company. Earle P. Halliburton, the founder of Halliburton, had commissioned the aluminum case in 1938 from aircraft engineers because other luggage could not endure the rough travel through Texas oil fields in a pickup truck.
No I don't work there, but I do enjoy shiny things.

Re:all you need to know (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887460)

You have 4 million dollars worth of data on a freakin' LAPTOP without a backup at home?! I call that irresponsible. You're fired! :-)

Re:all you need to know (2, Insightful)

stoborrobots (577882) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887560)

You have 4 million dollars worth of data on a freakin' LAPTOP without a backup at home?! I call that irresponsible. You're fired! :-)
Who cares about a backup at home, when the laptop is stolen and the data is released to your biggest competitor?

Re:all you need to know (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887606)

I would suggest that if you have $4M worth of data on a laptop that you have it encrypted.

Re:all you need to know (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887610)

I thought about that too, but then I thought: surely he will have encrypted all that sensitive data.

Re:all you need to know (1)

charlesnw (843045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15890937)

I am sure it was just the IT equivalant of my dad can beat up your dad. He is showing off.

precisely (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15912449)

the value of your data, assuming you're not a complete asshat that is, should be the related to the inconvenience that loss of that data would cause you. If you encrypt your data then in virtually every case you'd have a worst case scenario of having to resend the data out and buy a new laptop to put it on: unless you're doing something that is time-critical. If you *are* doing something time-critical that could potentially cost you $4m if it goes missing for a few days, then you really shouldn't be relying on one guy with a laptop...

Re:all you need to know (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887316)

I'll second the pelican cases - I've seen one used several times as a camera case on canyoning trips. Canyoning involves abseiling down waterfalls and swimming through narrow gorges so the case spent some time completely immersed in water and took a few hard knocks. On one trip the air temperature was over 30C at the top of the hill when the camera was packed and the water temperature was 5C in the gorge. They will replace things if they do not hold up to a variety of arduous conditions - but explicitly do not include in this list acts of children under 5.

Pelican, one vote (3, Informative)

anticypher (48312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887923)

I'll add another vote for pelican cases, as they are what I use. Strong, heavy and ugly, they are perhaps the best for the money. Z-H cases are just as good, show damage a bit more, and are more expensive. If you sprung for a black macbook, then you are the type to spring for a zero-haliburton. The pelican foam insert is easily configured for maximum protection.

One caveat for anyone flying with pelican or z-h cases. They have been the drug smuggler's cases of choice for years now, and have a tendancy to get pulled by drug agency enforcers with alarming frequency (close to 100% in my case). There is a myth that having a nice rubber seal around the edges keeps drug sniffing dogs from doing their job, and the number of drug couriers lingering in prisons around the world shows that dogs are better trained than that.

When you travel with an expensive case, always put it inside another bag, I use a backpack which makes it easier to transport, or it will attract thieves like nothing else. I've seen one computer guy who let his daughter decorate his pelican with pink hello kitty stickers after painting it fluorescent pink, it stood out in any crowd, and was a useful deterent to thieves walking off with it.

You can't lock checked bagage any more, so just put a security seal on the case to see if it was opened. Ensure that your laptop cannot boot without a password, and any and all sensitive data is on a fully encrypted partition, with full backups left at home or online. All the other things you can do, such as noting serial and model numbers of everything you check is important, since if you fly regularly the chances of finally losing the laptop to thieves approaches one. Put the list of valuables on a post-it inside your passport and carry it with you. Airlines will not reimburse you for the cost of a laptop, you have to take out additional insurance which specifies full replacement costs. If you buy your ticket with a credit card, they may claim to cover losses due to theft, but often the small print requires you to provide them with a list of items well in advance of flying in order to actually have coverage.

the AC

Re:Pelican, one vote (2, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15890618)

They have been the drug smuggler's cases of choice for years now, and have a tendancy to get pulled by drug agency enforcers with alarming frequency

I haven't had DEA issues, but I did have the TSA swab the outside and inside for explosives the one and only time I went through US security with it.

You can't lock checked bagage any more

Yes you can, if you get one of these [thetravelinsider.info] locks. There are a few manufacturers of them. Pelican has some in their lineup.

Re:Pelican, one vote (1)

YomikoReadman (678084) | more than 8 years ago | (#15897258)

You can't lock checked bagage any more

As a previous poster mentioned, this is quite untrue. Additionally, you don't have to have a TSA approved lock, either. When you're checking a locked bag, you simply open it up for inspection, then relock it afterwards. Having recently traveled with a security item that needed to be locked and not accessible, I know this to be true.

Cheers!

Re:all you need to know (1)

abb3w (696381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889678)

Absolutely: Pelican. Perfect for any high-value frangibles. Optional foam interior that you can custom fit to whatever you plan to put inside. Waterproof. Airtight. Guaranteed forever. (Well, unless "abused beyond normal and sensible wear and tear". While they have a fairly lax sense of the words "normal" and "sensible", they expressly exclude "shark bite, bear attack and children under five" from coverage.) The gorilla from the old commercials could probably beat open Samsonite luggage with one.

Nope, I don't work for them. I just really like the products.

Re:all you need to know (1)

jaredcat (223478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889789)

I've been using ZeroHalliburton for about 10 years now. They offer a lot of protection, but they are NOT indestuctable. AmericaWest killed my Z-H suitcase last year. The wheels were all broken off and it looked like someone put it in a trash compactor. No idea what they did to it, but I'm sure it took a lot of effort. My Z-H laptop case is still in 1 piece though.

I highly recommend buying your Z-H from a luggage store that carries defect / damaged items at a discount. You can save a couple hundred $ to get a case with a few scratches on it, and trust me a new case is going to be scratched to hell after its first trip through the conveyor belt anyway.

Another satisfied pelican customer (1)

DeathFire (713866) | more than 8 years ago | (#15890505)

I definately recommend a pelican as I own several. I fly often and have made many trips with over $10,000 of rifles in the 1750 rifle case [pelican.com] . No worries from me other than lost luggage. I have seen them fall 10 feet off of a luggage belt getting loaded into the plane and at 50 pounds it is coming down hard onto that tarmac. It only ever sustanted a few scuffs from that and the contents were fine. The majority of athletes who travel with expensive firearms buy Pelican and there is a good reason for it. While I have never used the laptop cases I am sure that they are also up to the same quality.

Re:all you need to know (1)

falsified (638041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15892336)

I work at a high-end luggage store. Pelican is the way to go if you want hard luggage/cases - BUT. In general, hard cases are really NOT the way to go for luggage. (They're essentially made out of the same material that makes up the frame inside a soft-sided case.) The best bags in general are Andiamo, Hartmann, and Tumi (in that order.)

Having said that, practically all airlines will NOT ALLOW YOU to check a laptop, and if I recall correctly the TSA backs them up on this. Just carry the laptop in your, um, hands.

Well the trick is to be smart about it. (3, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886313)

First get a good Hard Case for your laptop, while Soft Cases are good for normal usage, with luggage being tossed around and odd pressures being pressed on the laptop, a hard case will take the pressures not the laptop. Plus to keep it extra safe against all the tossing about I would put the case in with your clothing and have it packed tight (but not too tight) so it will can take the extra abuse of being tossed around a bit. Finally if you are worried about the cold Keep your laptop running as long as possible, perhaps with some app that gets it really hot, then when you need to give it to be shipped turn it off, and imeadtaely place it in the case, and in your clothing. The Case and your clothing will act like a blanket and keep the laptop warm for a few hours, and above damaging cold for more time. This should allow your laptop survive a trip.

Re:Well the trick is to be smart about it. (2, Informative)

Skippy_kangaroo (850507) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887346)

>The Case and your clothing will act like a blanket and keep the laptop warm for a few hours, and above damaging cold for more time. This should allow your laptop survive a trip.

Flight time between Heathrow and New York is approximately 7 hours. Check in time prior to a flight is at least 1 hour. I suspect your plan will be about as useful as a snowball in hell.

Furthermore, the specifications [apple.com] for a MacBook Pro (just picking a computer at random here) indicate that it is perfectly fine for storage between -13F and 113F (-24C to 45C) and a shipping altitude of 35,000 feet. It doesn't get that cold in the hold.

Chill dude!

Samsonite (2, Informative)

joe90 (48497) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886325)

Something like this -> http://www.luggageonline.com/product.cfm?product_I D=1499 [luggageonline.com] as long as you don't mind the cost.

Belt it! (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886571)

Hard cases are good, but be sure to put a belt around it. I can still remember hard cases when they were popular last, and think I still have a Samsonite in the closet. One wrong drop and they sprung open unless they were locked and locks were not 100% effective. You can't lock anything anymore and a belt will hold it closed when the catches fail. Just wrap a good belt around the middle through handle and make sure nothing is loose and can catch.

Good luck. I'm hoping I don't have to fly for the next six months or so. Reading about all the stupid things inspectors will do is all the "stark reminder" I want.

Pressured, somewhat heated (4, Informative)

picaro (871495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886328)

No, I don't mean this discussion. Aircraft holds are pressurized and generally heated, as least to keep them above 0C.

Re:Pressured, somewhat heated (2, Informative)

jrvz (734655) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889964)

Right. The cargo hold is pressurized because it's much cheaper to build a pressure vessel with curved sides (the skin of the aircraft) than with a flat side (the passenger compartment floor). Also, pets are shipped with cargo, so temperatures can't get too low.

There Can Be Only One (2, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886332)

Err, make that Zero [zerocorp.com]

Takes a beating, nary a scratch to show for it, and you look like Jack Bauer all the while.

Re:There Can Be Only One (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887060)

Yeah but unfortunately, unlike Jack Bauer, us normal folks can't go and hunt down and execute the asshat who steals our stuff while in transit, because it looked like something that would be chock full of either expensive electronics, Columbian cocaine, or bundles of fresh $20s.

Don't put expensive stuff in something that looks like it's designed to transport expensive stuff. You'd be better off putting it in a cardboard box padded with Styrofoam. (That being how they ship laptops to you in the first place, it follows that the machine can take a beating in that configuration.)

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15886339)

first post

the only really good way to ship your laptop (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15886346)

Ship them ahead of time via FedEX / UPS / Purolator in the original shipping container or something close ?

Re:the only really good way to ship your laptop (2, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886862)

Baggage handlers may be monkeys but the guys at the shipping companies are great apes, I am 10x more worried about packages then I am about luggage as far as damage, of course misrouting happens more often to luggage.

Re:the only really good way to ship your laptop (1)

GregWebb (26123) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888545)

Agreed. A friend works in parts dispatch for a major car company, on the admin side.

Their pickers have, in the past, folded bumpers (fenders) and windscreens to make them fit onto the trucks...

Re:the only really good way to ship your laptop (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887340)

I've had Fedex put a forklift through one server and another carrier lose the customs paperwork on another (3 years of hassles and six figure deposits when moving stuff about). Sometimes it is better to organise another machine in the country you are going to visit if you have to let the thing out of your sight. Knoppix, ssh to where your files are and a rental can solve problems.

Re:the only really good way to ship your laptop (1)

martin (1336) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889541)

Amongst other stuff, getting a laptop etc through customs via Fed-Ex etc is a nightmare. Usually takes at least 3 days to clear - I had thsi problem trying to ship a new laptop to a Senior Exec who lives in Iowa (we're based in the UK).

At the time (9 months ago) it would have been easier for me to travel with the thing, drop off at his house and return on the red-eye.

I'd pack the items well (using your usual laptop case) in the middle of your normal luggage (and make sure you have a good backup before hand!).

ROFL (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15886391)

I sense a lot of nerd rage and passive-aggressive in this story text.

theft (3, Informative)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886407)

People usually keep their laptops with because of the theft risk. So don't get someting that stands out as a laptop or other high value item.

Re:theft (1)

PerlDudeXL (456021) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886911)

I think I would place my laptop in a case inside the regular luggage.
Same for camera equipment.

They will probably release the tight rules once the situation normalizes.
I think only fluids will be banned in the near future.

Theft could be a problem, if it gets lost the airlines reimburse on weight
and not on value (never lost my luggage, dunno).

Less personal junk in the airplane cabin could result in faster boarding ;)

Travel Insurance (1)

kninja (121603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887698)

Insure your luggage with travel insurance (much more common in Europe I think). Take pictures of the insides of your packed luggage before you leave and store them on your gmail account.

Re:theft (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886956)

People usually keep their laptops with because of the theft risk

Forgive me for being a possible language jerk, but did you intentionally leave out a word in order to write cool?

Re:theft (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887373)

Good luck with that if you're travelling internationally now.

Normal luggage works.... (4, Interesting)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886479)

Just pack it in the center of your clothing and it will be fine. I fly way to many miles - on the last leg of a multi continent trip, just missing the UK fiasco by a couple days - and always travel with a pair of laptops. Granted, I (use) to make it a point to do everything carry-on, but I would usually slip the spare thinkpad in the center of my suitcase and the other in my laptop bag. No fancy containers, just clean laundry at the start of trip, dirty stuff at the end. If you get a nice 'laptop' case, hard sided or otherwise, expect it to get 'lost'... A beat up bag works great.

Looking at the TSO website, it looks like the folks not traveling with 'carry-on' electronics are from the UK. Domestic flights say laptops can travel with you. No more bringing a bottle of water, however. I'll find out when I fly home tomorrow.
    Joy.

Re:Normal luggage works.... (1)

Wise Dragon (71071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886928)

I did that ONE TIME with a laptop (placed it in the center of my suitcase) and it arrived with a broken LCD.

Re:Normal luggage works.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15888667)

Granted, I (use) to make it a point to do everything carry-on, but I would usually slip the spare thinkpad in the center of my suitcase and the other in my laptop bag.

Works well until the corner of someone's bag gets tossed right into the middle of your suitcase... the pressure *can* crack the LCD (despite how well you might pack it). I used to use this method for the 2nd laptop. On the bright side, the only thing I've seen/heard of damaged this way is LCDs so no data-loss issues.

Captcha: micron

Not a good idea! (1)

wmshub (25291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15891814)

I used to pack sensitive things in the middle of clothes. One time I put my digital camera in the middle of my luggage, wrapped in clothes. When I got home, a tag on the luggage said "Inspected by the TSA." When I opened the luggage, the camera was right on the side of the luggage, and crushed. Apparently the TSA folks saw the camera in an X-Ray, dug it out, saw that it was just a camera, then instead of putting it back where it started, they just dropped it on top of the clothes. At some point after that another piece of luggage was probably dropped on mine, crushing the camera. Thanks TSA! Moral: Don't assume that the way you pack your luggage is the way that the TSA will repack it after they search. Anything valuable that you pack must be safe no matter where in your luggage it is. Otherwise you'll get the same disappointment that I did.

Re:Normal luggage works.... (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15912496)

yep. just did MAN to PHL on Sunday and this is what I did: no carryons so laptop bag inside suitcase, packed with a jumper on each side. my normal laptop bag had my A4 pad I always carry on top of the lid to protect it and disappate any impact, and a wooly jumper on the other. arrived fine. worst problem i've got is that it's 86 degrees in philly now and i have a couple of wooly jumpers i don't need that i've got to carry round...

Not what you would want, but for others... (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886494)

...get an appropriatly sized messanger bag with lots of pockets (for external drive, power connections, mouse, etc) and get some of that foam for bed rolls (like neopreme, but about 4 times the thickness) of similar width to your laptop. Place foam in bag, covering sides and bottom. Stick in the laptop. As such, it won't protect the sides much or the top of the bag, but I don't think dropping your bag sideways is likely. Add protection for perhiphials if desired. Wander around campus and damage your back with the weight of your desktop-replacement, external hard drive, and power cables.

Re:Not what you would want, but for others... (1)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887012)

Look for 'closed-cell foam'; that will get you the right material.

Re:Not what you would want, but for others... (1)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887118)

Another good padding material is Ethafoam; it's a semi-rigid polyethylene closed-cell foam -- if you've gotten some electronic hardware where the packing foam is assembled from cut and glued sheets of a white or pink, slightly shiny, somewhat waxy-looking foam material, that's Ethafoam. You can find it on the Net in sheets ranging from 1" to 4" thick; it's easily cut with a knife, so you can build whatever padding frame you like.

DIY (3, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886610)

Masonite, styro-foam insulation and liquid nails make a good, quick hard case. You can add layers of squishy foam to further cushion a fall if you want. I put them in my laptop bags. If I have to go someplace soon, I'm going to pack my laptop back inside my clothes canvas bag. That should be good enough for the 12 foot fall you should expect your luggage to experience and in turn be hit by the corner of a hard case from the same distance.

If you want something fast for ordinary luggage, go to wall mart and see if any of the gun cases are big enough. They have plastic shells and squishy foam liners.

Nothing is fool proof so I'm going to avoid travel if I can until this stuff blows over again.

Re:DIY (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887621)

go to wall mart and see if any of the gun cases

Because bringing a CASE FOR A GUN on an aeroplane will not arouse suspicion AT ALL.

Re:DIY (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889034)

Sure won't. Not sure about international or outside of US, but to take a firearm with you, you just have to declare it at check-in, and have it properly packed. Nothing about the fact that it is a firearm can be put on the outside, etc. Ammo has to go in a separate containter in other checked luggage.

Re:DIY (1)

pi_rules (123171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15890445)

You'd be surprised to see how many people can't recognize a gun case. The last one I flew with was about 20"x20" square, had hard sizes, chrome-ish metal frame, and locking tabs on the front.

Looked pretty slick, actually. Nobody knew it was a gun case until I opened it up and showed the shotgun I had inside.

Still, somehow Delta Airlines put a 1" hole in the side of the thing. I can't say exactly what the sides were made of, but a swift stab at it with my 4.5" tanto blade from CRKT didn't puncture it. How the heck Delta did THAT I have no idea.

Re:DIY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15887912)

If you're flying where people respect human rights and the right to self-defense (in other words the southern US) then the rifle case is fine. Federal law protects you if you're traveling through states that do not recognize the US Bill of Rights, but several states including New Jersey and New York do not recognize the Bill of Rights or in some cases even federal law. Yes, if you are traveling from a place where you may lawfully possess and transport the firearm to a place where you can do the same then the federal law preempts state and local laws, but the problem is that some states don't recognize the authority of the US government. The state of New York will charge you with a crime for possessing a firearm. They very aggressively pursue this. Having a firearm case will cause more trouble for you than it is worth. Just buy a plain hard-sided case.

I had my $1,600 rifle stolen by cops and spent 30 days in jail for *legally* driving through NY state when driving to an Olympic trial in another state. Federal law allows for interstate transport and NY state law allows for competitors of collegiate and Olympic mathces to travel through the state and even to destinations within the state. The NY cop saw the rifle case through the window and arrested me. The judge didn't give a damn about the federal law or the state law. You don't want to screw with crooked state employees in the northeast or even in the northern midwest. You'll probably get arrested and beaten just for daring to have a rifle case. I was already arrested, car impounded, and fingerprinted before one of the cops even asked for my key to open the case to confirm that it was a rifle.

I moved to the US about 20 years ago from Sweden, and it still amazes me how hateful and oppressive the state governments are in the Northeast US. Don't screw with them.

Biggest problem...... (1)

ezratrumpet (937206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886635)

My wife worked for a major airline and tells horror stories from watching baggage handlers. As a result, she carries (well, used to carry) almost everything breakable as a carry-on. I recommend a steel case with firm foam padding. You can custom-cut the foam to fit your laptop and other accessories. Personally, I'd overnight it ahead of me in a laptop shipping box.

It's a common misconception. (2, Informative)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886755)

The onlything you'll have to worry about is baggage handling.

It's a common misconception that cargo holds are not pressurized or climatized.

Common, but dumb. (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887084)

It's a common misconception that cargo holds are not pressurized or climatized.

You know, the fact that they transport LIVE ANIMALS down there probably should have been a clue ... what do people think they do, give Fido an oxygen tank and a blanket for the duration of the trip?

Re:Common, but dumb. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15889320)

A relative recently flew into town, and had planned on bringing his dog with him. But in checking with the airline before hand, he found out that if the expected temperature at any stop along the way was above a certain limit (don't recall what the limit was) then he would not be able to bring the dog. Apparently there is a good chance that the luggage can sit outside on the hot tarmac for a while. So you still may need to worry about temperature sensitive electronics.

Starlight (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886826)

I recommend these cases [starlightcases.com] above all others, including Pelican and Samsonite. Highly impact resistant and waterproof.

Re:Starlight (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887174)

I agree on the Starlight cases. I don't own one personally, but I have a friend who swears by them for transporting firearms and camera equipment, and they're built solidly. (Actually this is the first time I have heard anyone other than him mention them.) Except that I have no real need, I'd love to order several for all my photo gear.

Not that Pelican cases aren't tough, but if you look at an equivalent Pelican case and Starlight next to each other, it seems to me that the Pelican cases are a little more "consumer-ised" than the Starlight ones. (Some of the Pelican ones, anyway.) Plus it seems like Starlight can be a little less expensive or at least comparable, if you can work with one of their sizes.

The problem with Starlight is that they don't have nearly the range of available options that Pelican does. For a laptop, you're pretty much looking at either the model 061016, which is 6"x10"x16" (anyone not appreciating their model numbers, please leave Slashdot now) for $100, or the 071414, for $150, or the 091220 for $180. None of those are really great sizes for a single-laptop case. For camera equipment or guns the extra depth is great, but it's overkill for something that's only two inches thick. At those sizes, they're comparably priced or cheaper than Pelican. (The 10x16 case would be fine for a small laptop or two, but my Thinkpad is 10" long, so it might get a big tight on larger ones. Particularly since I'm not sure whether the claimed 10" is inside or outside dimensions.)

Pelican has a wider range of sizes including ones that are designed specifically for laptops, so that you can probably get away with a smaller case, and thus a less-expensive one. And perhaps more importantly, it's a lot less weight and just physically smaller.

I've never ordered from Starlight, but I wonder how many you need to order, or how much extra they charge, to make a case other than the ones they list on their site. It seems like they must have cases in sizes other than those, so if there's an un-advertised 4x12x16, that might be pretty close to the ideal laptop container.

Filtered (1)

kcbnac (854015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889062)

Websense here at work picked up the above as "Weapons" and blocked it, FYI.

Grrr.

Re:Filtered (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889824)

I'll drop them an email.

No Locks allowed (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886977)

As I recall the airlines or TSA also strongly discourages you from locking checked baggage unless you use one of their "approved" locks [tsa.gov] .

What a time to be a baggage handler with an E-bay account!

And how will corporations react to having their sensitive corporate data floating around unknown places out of the hands of their employees, or even lost forever in misdirected luggage?

Pelican (1)

excesspwr (218183) | more than 8 years ago | (#15886983)

Not the animal the case [pelican.com] . I use them for transporting everything, from electronics and firearms to clothing and food.

No (2, Informative)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887300)

Since I have to assume that anything I put in the hold is going to be frozen, depressurized, and repeatedly jumped on by the baggage handlers,


None of that will happen.

Your valuables will simply be stolen by the TSA.

pelican cases are wicked (1)

cilix (538057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887423)

Seriously. They're wicked. I just bought a 1550 for my camera gear and laptop. That way if I need to check it when I'm traveling over the next few days I can. Also, if I need to take it on a kayak, I can just tow it behind the boat. Well designed kit kicks arse. Tim PS. Using pelican cases probably increases the chances that your stuff will go missing. They're the sort of cases that people only put decent gear in so it's probably a 'good' choice for theives.

Destruction should be last of your worries (1)

tanveer1979 (530624) | more than 8 years ago | (#15887559)

Worry about theft. So if your port of departure does not allow locks, eg USA, make sure you declare value of items and insure them or whatever. I got a netgear router worth 60$. I put it in my check in baggage. On delivery I open and see the box is there so I am happy. I reach home and open the netgear box, and I see its empty. the Airline was Cathay Pacific, which is considered among the more reliable ones! If you browse some camera forums, you will see so many cases of lenses and accessories being stolen from checkin baggage. So a sturdy bag will protect only from impact and such. If you really love your ipod/laptop etc., etc., make sure that you insure all of them. Something tells me that baggage handlers and Homeland security officials are right now rejoicing about this rule. After all of something in stolen, its the airline which pays right, they can happily gift their kids the latest gadgets.

biking (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888124)

Anybody have a solid case that they can put in a backpack that will save the computer when a bus runs you off the road?

Use FedEx (2, Insightful)

gmr2048 (176781) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888211)

Consider FedEx-ing (or UPS-ing) your expensive stuff over to meet you upon arrival. You can insure your goodies for their full value, should they get lost/stolen/broken. I don't think the airlines will give you that kind of protection.

Absolutely, positively.... (1)

dacarr (562277) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888473)

While the container is not itself indestructible (it is, after all, a cardboard box), FedEx has a laptop kit - this is a 20"x20"x7" box with an insert that, when assembled and placed correctly, effectively shockproofs your computer for drops up to one yard. One of these costs US$10. I don't know if you can get them UK side.

Re:Absolutely, positively.... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888692)

I've seen luggage handlers working - they don't carry the luggage between the pod carrying the luggage (those aluminium \_| shaped boxes, and the metal cages used to transport luggage - they throw the baggage in and out - a distance well over 5 metres - and may your sacred deity of worship have mercy on your baggage if it hits something sharp like a Samsonite case.

Roadie cases (1)

dhuff (42785) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889092)

For something really rugged, how about the computer cases made by Anvil [anvilcase.com] ? Same mfg who produces equip cases for bands "on the road" and such. Even makes the Pelican stuff look kinda wimpy ;)

ATA Rated (1)

gradient (262495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15890742)

If you want to be really safe, look for cases that are ATA rated, which means they're designed to be put underneath a plane and travel safely. These are very popular in the music business for shipping delicate audio equipment and instruments for concert tours and stuff. There are many sites that allow you to specify dimentions to meet your needs. You could even put in spots for power supply, mice, etc...

Pretending to be a pilot is a good idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15892035)

Lufthansa pilot bags are better then most, especialy since they normaly only contain maps, which makes them completly unsuspicious: http://www.manufactum.com/product/1402826/group/18 7798/dmc_mb3_search_pi1.pos/1/track_flash/0/Produc t_Details.2866.0.html [manufactum.com]

why fly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15892128)

If you know that your valuables will be stolen, just stop flying. I don't fly anymore. It isn't that important. I like driving around the US when I travel, and when I visit Europe, I will be sailing. I'm actually looking forward to it. The airlines don't need to hear me complain, they realize that they aren't getting my money. It is futile to harass every passenger to prevent a few "terrorists". If someone really wants to blow up another plane, they will. There is no reason to live in fear. When a psycho decids to kill you, you will likely be killed.

Otterbox (1)

NMThor (949485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15892474)

Otterbox http://www.otterbox.com/ [otterbox.com] has recently released a laptop case. I've heard great things about Otterbox's products in the past, and might be worth checking out. Check out the review: http://www.techfear.com/articles/2006/7/otterbox_l aptop_case.shtml [techfear.com] Supplies are still limited on their medium sized case and they're only considering producing a smaller and larger sized case. This has gotten me thinking about protecting my laptop for an upcoming trip...

Something for the Apple users (1)

jdbartlett (941012) | more than 8 years ago | (#15892619)

If any Mac users are looking for something lightweight and sturdy to wrap their *Book, check out Radtech's affordable lineup of cases [radtech.us] . I've been using the NeoCase [radtech.us] for 8 months now and it's served me well: the wetproof (I wouldn't go so far as to say "waterproof"--don't take your PowerBook swimming), zip-up, use-in cover is a nigh-on perfect compromise for users who actually want to use their laptops on the go. Its padding is thick enough that, as long as it's packed tightly enough in the case, your laptop should be protected from all but plane crashes. It's also a more practical and affordable choice than most of the big ol' hefty cases out there.

If your laptop needs a stable secure way... (1)

Jason Argo (87552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15901070)

...of being used at home, I definitely would not recommend the Freedom Furniture Laptop Table.

I bought one of these laptop tables a few months ago, assembled it, RTFMd, checked the bolts, RTFMd again, rechecked the bolts, and sat down at it with my brand new Acer Ferrari. The angle wasn't comfortable, so I adjusted it... and watched my brand new laptop flip onto the floor and shatter the screen.

Paraphrased, Freedom Furniture have replied with " *shrug* ". Video demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly0-Vbqyby8 [youtube.com]

Traveling with your laptop (1)

Editorgirl35 (990370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15921744)

Design News has a great story on its website today, which discusses the issue of checking your laptop and offers insights from engineers, laptop manufacturers and even laptop case makers. Check it out at: http://www.designnews.com/article/CA6363075.html [designnews.com]
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