Leave the Laptop Behind

Stephen Yagielowicz
Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave – or are one of those busy types that pay no attention to the news – you might have missed the overnight foiling of a major terrorist strike that has implications affecting us all.

At least 21 arrests were made last night in the U.K. of individuals that “were in the final phases of launching an attack” targeting up to 10 planes from United, American and Continental Airlines, flying between the U.K. and New York, Washington and California.

While the “sophisticated” terrorist group was already on the authorities’ radar, recent raids in Pakistan resulted in information that led authorities to believe the attack was most imminent, causing the immediate arrest of all known players.

The plot involved these individuals using binary chemical agents – liquids that could be mixed in flight and brought on board in carry on baggage, disguised as common items such as toothpaste, mascara or hair gel and detonated with electronic devices disguised as cell phones, PSPs, iPods and other items.

As a result, security is at its highest level ever, with enormous lines at airports, and here’s the clincher – carry on items are now severely restricted; a situation forcing travelers to check their laptops and cell phones as baggage.

While it’s uncertain how long these restrictions will stay in effect, the impact on many “tech types” will be hard to overestimate – I mean, unless you have a decent hard-shell carrying case, your laptop isn’t likely to survive the trip; tossed about with the other luggage being transported.

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, traveling is often a necessity – as is the need to stay on top of your business, which often demands the toting of a laptop. Now may be the time to invest in a nice, new “Pelican” case to protect your gear and to even consider shipping it ahead of time via FedEx or another overnight carrier, timed to arrive at your destination when you do.

One thing’s for certain: for the foreseeable future, it won’t be “business as usual” at the airport. Travel safe and allow plenty of time to make your flight.