Leaving on a Jet Plane? Tips for traveling with your iPad

I logged more than 25,000 miles in the air flying for my job last year. My iPad was my constant companion on those trips. It’s my DVD player, my eReader, my iPod, and my laptop. As a frequent traveler, I can almost quote verbatim the question I hear from every TSA agent as I place my briefcase on the x-ray belt. “Do you have a laptop, DVD player, or camera in your bag?”

Laptops have long had to be removed from your bags before going through the x-ray machine, long before they also started making us take off our shoes while carting around miniature bottles of shampoo like some stocking-clad giant. But the introduction of the iPad the other mobile tablets that followed caused some initial confusion over whether it, too, had to be removed from your bags before going through security. The TSA quickly provided an answer shortly after the iPad was released.

Electronic items smaller than the standard sized laptop should not need to be removed from your bag or their cases. … Only electronics the size of a standard laptop or larger (for example Playstation®, Xbox™, or Nintendo®), full-size DVD players, and video cameras that use video cassettes must be removed from their carrying cases and submitted separately for x-ray screening. Removing larger electronics helps us get a better look at them and also allows us to get a better look at the contents of your bag.

The exemption also applies to netbooks, like the 11 (but not the 13) inch MacBook Air. Being able to keep your iPads, Kindles, and Nooks safely tucked away in your bag will definitely speed your trip through security and make the passengers waiting in line behind you happier.

Once you’re airborne, you have a lot more choices beyond the in-flight movie, expensive snacks, and watered-down drinks. The blog LifeHacker recently shared this guide to the best tech-friendly airports and airlines. It provides info about mobile airline apps, Wi-Fi availability (in airport and in the air), and power outlets to give your iPad a boost between flights.

For my friends in Bismarck-Mandan, Minneapolis and Denver aren’t listed here, but I can tell you from experience that the Minneapolis airport has done the best job of making sure you can stay charged up on the go. There are multiple power outlets and USB charging ports located right in the seat backs in many boarding areas. Denver Airport, on the other hand, seems to place a premium on outlets. There are a few charging stands in the terminal, but they aren’t always convenient. If you do happen to find an outlet, it’s probably already taken by a fellow traveler, hunched over, guarding his “precious” like some deranged Gollum.

What tips do you have for traveling with your mobile device? As always, find us on the usual social media sites. And now you can text us your questions or comments at (701) 5950-APP (701-595-0277). Until next time, safe travels.

Posted in BisManApps, Tech Corner Tagged with: , , , , ,
2 comments on “Leaving on a Jet Plane? Tips for traveling with your iPad
  1. I definitely agree with you about the MSP airport and outlets…but they don’t have free Wifi! Rumor is they’re getting it this October. The Newark airport is also good, outlet-wise, from my experience, and San Diego wasn’t bad either. Vegas McCarran airport, too, had multiple outlet stands.

    I, too, have found travelling better with an iPad, but found I’m still bringing paper reading material to get me through lift-off/touch-downs periods when electronic devices have to be shut off. Curious how you make it through that?

    • Chris says:

      Thanks for the comments. I’m actually going to be updating this post over on bismanapps.com.

      The whole no electronics for take off and landing really is annoying. I generally bring the latest issue of MacWorld, Time, and The Economist with me for reading, then transition to the iPad in the air. The great thing is that as a print subscriber, I get the digital version for free. That way I have my entire magazine library with me.

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