Recently, Tom and Darcy flew to a select U.S. airport to consult with
TSA staff, testing Tom’s prototype of a new checkpoint friendly
Quoting the TSA:
“One project we’re currently working on that has been widely discussed
on the Internet and several blogs is a “checkpoint friendly” laptop bag.
This bag would allow our officers a clear, unobstructed view of the
laptop and allow passengers to keep the laptop in the bag during
At the airport, we were given exclusive access to an x-ray machine and
conveyor for the testing process. We tested Tom’s prototype briefcase in
every way we could, from the best to the worst case scenerio. We also
tested the Archetype case (with Darcy’s 15″ MacBook Pro inside) — an existing bag that already meets the
“checkpoint friendly” requirements. (See below for more. Note that, until the TSA launches the “checkpoint friendly” program, you still must take your laptop out of your bag when going through security.)
The results? The prototype briefcase is a success: in multiple
configurations, it provided x-ray images that met the TSA screening
Tom continues to refine the design of the as-yet unnamed prototype
checkpoint-friendly briefcase. We expect the briefcase to be available
for pre-order within weeks.
Tom also has designs in process for a “checkpoint friendly” backpack and
These bags aren’t and won’t be just checkpoint friendly: they will offer
the same tough materials and handsome, cleverly engineered design that
you’ve come to expect from a TOM BIHN bag. We think that you will also
appreciate that your TOM BIHN checkpoint friendly bag, specifically
designed to go through U.S. airport security, was also designed and
manufactured in the U.S.A. under the watchful eyes of our Seattle
That means that sometime in August/September — when the TSA officially
initiates the “checkpoint friendly” program — you can leave your laptop
in your Archetype or Soft Cell while it goes through the x-ray machine,
protecting your laptop from scratches and bumps. (Note: these bags will
meet the new TSA requirement as long as you put *only* your laptop in
the case, no accessories.)
Our experiences testing Tom’s prototype “checkpoint friendly” briefcase
revealed the potential this program offers that will save you, the
traveler, both time and hassle as well as protect your laptop.
“After tons of research I settled on the Tom Bihn Aeronaut bag.”
“I was stunned to discover that even with 2 pairs of shoes, 2 skirts, 2 dresses, 2 pairs of pants, 4 shirts, 10 pairs of underwear, 4 pairs of socks, pajamas, my toiletries (not insubstantial), an iGo charger, 3 guidebooks, and all of my other stuff placed in it, I had room to spare. Before succumbing to temptation and packing some of the items I had taken out of my pile as unnecessary (bathing suit, etc.), I decided to weigh the bag. First I stepped on the scale (that’s another post by itself), then I put on the bag as a backpack. I was amazed that it weighed 20 lbs and still felt comfortable enough to walk around the airport for a few hours, race to catch a metro or wander the streets before check-in time at our hotel.”
We’ve retired Canyon 210d ballistic nylon and Carbon Aether. See a list of bags still available in these two colors and fabrics here.
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