For the past 8 years or so, anyone flying with a laptop has at one point or another been frustrated by airport security protocol. As the market soon dictated, there became a need for a laptop bag that was TSA compatible. I saw a really nice one by Case Logic at CES, and Skooba Designs has a couple to choose from too. Pictured here is the new “Slim” Checkthrough Messenger bag. Looks like it has some cool TSA features, but the leathery look has gone the way of Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies. Lame. Anyhow, here’s the press release:
Skooba Design has announced the addition of a slim Messenger version of its original Checkthrough™ “checkpoint friendly” laptop bag. Checkthrough bags are specially designed and tested to pass through airport security x-ray screening without having to remove the computer. According to the company, the original Checkthrough bag—developed in close coordination with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)—has quickly become the best-selling product in Skooba’s 10-year history. The company has multiple patents pending on both current and future Checkthrough products, with a long list of new bags in development. The new Checkthrough Messenger is the first of the new styles added to the Checkthrough collection, designed in response to customer requests for a slim, “flap-over” style version of the original. Skooba also offers a broad range of laptop skins, which can be carried alone or inside another bag, and are also checkpoint-friendly when used on their own.
The Checkthrough Messenger Bag looks like any other high-end business case, but opens and hinges in the middle to separate and isolate the laptop compartment from the rest of the bag. For initial, immediate visual reference, the laptop can be seen by the inspector through a clear window that is exposed when the bag is unfolded. With the window facing up, the bag is sent through X-ray screening. The design of the laptop compartment is such that the image presented to the screener is the same as if the laptop were removed and placed in a bin. The Checkthrough bag and all of its contents can be carried securely with or without the hinge zipped shut, so it can be readied in line, prior to screening. Once through, the traveler can simply pick up the bag and go, zipping it back up on the move or at the gate.
The new Checkthrough Messenger has over a dozen compartments, pockets and organizers, including Skooba’s exclusive Doc-Pocket™, which keeps ticket and passport within instant reach for security and airline checks. The laptop section holds all 15/15.4-inch machines, most 16- and many 17-inch models, including all Apple laptops. The generous adjacent main compartment holds files, papers and books. The bag also includes a removable, zippered clear pouch for allowable liquids, organizers for portable electronics, business card holder, and more. Durable ballistic exterior, heavy-duty webbing and stitching, and nickel-finish hardware make the bag travel-tough without compromising refined good looks, and it weighs in at a scant, shoulder-friendly 40 ounces.
According to Skooba Design CEO Michael Hess, Checkthrough Bags and the new TSA policies have generated a collective sigh of relief among the 25-30% of fliers who carry laptops: “It is one less step in the security dance that travelers have had to endure for the past 7 years.” Hess says that the company’s bags and the TSA program have been working perfectly, and customer/traveler reviews have been universally positive. He adds that faster screening is only one benefit—keeping the laptop in the bag also helps to prevent damage, as well as minimizing the possibility that the laptop will be one of the 60,000 laptops estimated to be lost or stolen in airports each year.
The new Checkthrough Messenger is available now, at a suggested retail price of $129.95. Skooba Design has set up a special section of its website at www.checkthrough.com for travelers to get more information on the checkpoint friendly program, as well as sign up to receive product updates. Full specs and dealer/ordering information can be found at www.skoobadesign.com.