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Calliope
Premium
join:2005-09-19
Madison, WI

Flying - external HD and laptop?

Curious to know if it is safe to put my external HD and laptop in checked baggage rather than carry-on. Airline allows both, but are there any risks to the components (other than obvious banging around by handlers), such as magnets in the baggage handling system or x-rays that can harm data?



craig70130
Premium
join:2004-04-27
New Orleans, LA

1 recommendation

The only danger would come from them losing it or banging it around.



HardwareGeek

join:2003-11-15
Brooklyn, NY

1 edit

AIrlines do not allow laptops or any electronics in checked baggage. If you put it in there they are not responsible for damage or theft.
--
Email/MSN: Michael at hardwaregeeks.com
AIM: MikeR35292



craig70130
Premium
join:2004-04-27
New Orleans, LA

1 recommendation

It is most certainly allowed. However, the airline won't be responsible for any loss.


public

join:2002-01-19
Santa Clara, CA

1 recommendation

reply to Calliope

said by Calliope:

are there any risks to the components (other than obvious banging around by handlers), such as magnets in the baggage handling system or x-rays that can harm data?
The most likely hazard is a TSA monkey opening a bag and keeping your items for permanent personal inspection.


Calliope
Premium
join:2005-09-19
Madison, WI
reply to HardwareGeek

said by HardwareGeek:

AIrlines do not allow laptops or any electronics in checked baggage. If you put it in there they are not responsible for damage or theft.
Austrian Air does indeed allow laptops and certain electronics in checked baggage - checked and double-checked with Austrian.

As for possible "collateral damage" during the flight, not in the mood to lug these things around with me in a carry on and will risk the not-so-nice possibilities.

External will be in it's original packaging and laptop well padded and protected. Can also shrink-wrap suitcase to avoid sticky-fingers.


thegeek
Premium
join:2008-02-21
right here
kudos:2

1 recommendation

reply to Calliope

I've checked a laptop before because I was traveling with my personal laptop and work laptop. I didn't want to have to go through security with 2. This was back in the day when you had to turn them on and show security it was a real laptop. I didn't have any problems but it is definitely a do at your own risk sort of thing.



CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to Calliope

I would ONLY do carry on with a laptop - last person at my work who checked their laptop - it came out bent at a VERY nice angle and was 100% useless.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain


HarryH3
Premium
join:2005-02-21
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Suddenlink
reply to Calliope

Put it in an indestructible, well padded case and it will probably be OK. I've replaced broken screens for people that sent their laptop via baggage check. Many years ago I replaced a broken plasma screen TWICE for the same guy within a couple of months. His boss was pretty unhappy with him since the cost for just the screen was over $1,500. Today you can get replacement LCD's for about a tenth of that (or less).



runnoft
Premium
join:2003-10-14
Nags Head, NC
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to Calliope

Magnets and x-rays in security and checked baggage handling procedures are not known to cause data loss or otherwise damage laptops or hard drives.

That said, I personally would NEVER check an electronic item like this in baggage. I see you think you have it covered, but items like laptops and external hard drives disappear from checked baggage at the Chicago airports routinely.

I ditched the heavy laptop for a $300 netbook that can handle e-mail, surf the web, and do word processing and spreadsheets for travel. It's an easy carry-on item.



Jahntassa
What, I can have feathers
Premium
join:2006-04-14
Conway, SC
kudos:4
reply to Calliope

Agree with the general consensus.

The airlines won't take responsibility if something comes out broken on the other end, and good luck getting reimbursement if something gets lost.

I'd never check a laptop, unless it was in a strong case (such as a Pelican), but even then, i'd be hesitant as i've seen stuff disappear firsthand.

I -have- checked expensive electronics in with my bags before, that being said, but nothing that I couldn't risk losing. If you have data on the drive that doesn't exist anywhere else i'd be cautious, otherwise you should come out fine.

Physically, other than your bag being run over, the drive should survive just fine. I'd still wrap it in some t-shirts or something, but you get the idea.



The Pig
I know you want to be me
Premium
join:2009-09-11
reply to Calliope

You'd be better off leaving it at home and buy a new one when you get where you're going, then to let the airlines handle your laptop!



Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2
reply to Calliope

You have to be rich and willing to lose your possessions, to entrust anything to the airlines. My suggestion is ship it to your destination via Fedex or UPS prior to your trip. You can insure it for a nominal charge. Your choice whether it goes ground, 2nd day or next day. I know people that ship their bags now. It might cost a little more than the airlines, but at least you know your possessions will be there when you arrive.


Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04
reply to Calliope

Note that spare lithium batteries are not allowed in your checked luggage. Only batteries which are installed in a device like a laptop are allowed.


Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04

1 edit
reply to Jahntassa

said by Jahntassa:

other than your bag being run over,
Had that happen once. It happened on the outbound trip of an international flight. Returning through US Customs, the officer asked, "What happened to your bag?" The answer was, "I don't know, ask Continental Airlines!"


exocet_cm
Free at last, free at last
Premium
join:2003-03-23
New Orleans, LA
kudos:3

1 recommendation

reply to Calliope

I carry my laptop and accessories in a Pelican case. No worries about it banging around.

»www.pelican.com/cases_detail.php?Case=1550

They also make laptop-specific cases.



Calliope
Premium
join:2005-09-19
Madison, WI
reply to Bobcat79

said by Bobcat79:

Note that spare lithium batteries are not allowed in your checked luggage. Only batteries which are installed in a device like a laptop are allowed.
Yes, I understand that. Austrian has a .pdf »mobile.austrian.com/en/http%3Aww···ods.ashx with a very thorough list.

Also traveling with a pet, so I just can not handle any excess carry-on baggage. As mentioned, the external goes in its original packaging and will just have to take my chances with the laptop. I do have all important documentation backed up on several thumb drives and DVDs that are being shipped separately. Would have loved to have gotten a netbook, but impossible at this point.

Guess I'll post back in a few weeks and let you all know how it went.

Thank you for all the responses. This is a 12 hour transatlantic flight and the luggage with the laptop can be shrink-wrapped and locked, so not too worried about theft, unless someone takes the entire suitcase.

Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04

1 edit

1 recommendation

nm (Just saw it was an international flight)


davl

join:2006-01-28
Furlong, PA
reply to Calliope

According to this TSA link »www.tsa.gov/travelers/customer/c···ack.shtm they say that you should not pack the laptop in your luggage but they don't say that it is prohibited.

Shrink-wrap will not help. They (TSA) will cut it open and leave a form in your luggage notifying you that they have inspected it. Of course if your laptop is missing they won't know anything about that.



runnoft
Premium
join:2003-10-14
Nags Head, NC
kudos:1
reply to Calliope

said by Calliope:

...Also traveling with a pet, so I just can not handle any excess carry-on baggage. As mentioned, the external goes in its original packaging and will just have to take my chances with the laptop. I do have all important documentation backed up on several thumb drives and DVDs that are being shipped separately. Would have loved to have gotten a netbook, but impossible at this point...

Traveling with a pet definitely limits what you can do with carry-ons, because it counts as your main carry-on, as you know. The only other thing they let you bring is a "small personal item," usually limited to small backpack size or smaller, that will go overhead. I might have to make an exception, myself, to my personal rule about not checking electronics, in that situation.

I think you're doing the best you can with what you've got. Your stuff will probably be fine. Have a great trip!

TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:2
Reviews:
·NorthWest Tel
reply to Calliope

Hard drives and laptops are the two things I never put in checked baggage, unless they are in a robust plastic or metal case with good padding on the inside. Hard drives and laptops don't really like being banged around too much.

I've always carried my laptop along with my external hard drive in carry-on baggage. Never been a problem.

I do put most of the accessories (aka cables, adapters, mouse, various USB gadgets) in checked baggage. It does arise a bit of suspicion since in total I probably have about 100 feet of cables in there, but never been much of a problem. They do seem to manually inspect my checked baggage without fail.



Technogeez
Agape in amazement.
Premium
join:2007-01-20
reply to runnoft

said by runnoft:

Traveling with a pet definitely limits what you can do with carry-ons, because it counts as your main carry-on, as you know.
Yeah, you definitely should not put a pet in your checked baggage with your laptop. They'll scratch up your laptop screen and surf pr0n while you're sipping diet Coke and munching peanuts up in the cabin.
--
The farther one travels, the less one knows.

raster44

join:2003-09-07
Niagara Falls, NY
Reviews:
·Verizon Online DSL
reply to Calliope

Reading over this thread....Do Airlines have any security in place to protect the passengers personal luggage? They have all this security to protect the plane and passengers from terrorists and crazies but none to protect the passengers from the airline employees theft or damage. Only in America!



Devanchya
Smile
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Ajax, ON
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
reply to Calliope

I broke my laptop going through security last year. I dropped it when I was pushed at the Security Line. Long story short, it was Christmas, and this large lady hip checked me and it fell.

It was "Working" when I checked it at the airport. A Day later it died.

I needed a laptop since I was "working remotely" at the time during Christmas break... so bought a very nice new one.

Put my old one in my laptop. Security saw it, and despite it having a note that it was "Broken" wanted me to carry it since they didn't want to be blamed.

Tapped a bit note to it for the TSA on it (apparently the other note wasn't good enough) and they bomb checked it... and it shipped.

The screen was cracked when I got home. It wasn't when I put it in as a broken laptop.
--
»www.codecipher.com - Marking the way to tomorrow's solutions -- Did you know that Perl is not Dead? »perlisalive.org/



Hayward
K A R - 1 2 0 C
Premium
join:2000-07-13
Key West, FL
kudos:1

1 edit

1 recommendation

reply to Calliope

said by Calliope:

Curious to know if it is safe to put my external HD and laptop in checked baggage rather than carry-on. Airline allows both, but are there any risks to the components (other than obvious banging around by handlers), such as magnets in the baggage handling system or x-rays that can harm data?
Magnetic field and xrays should not be a problem... Most HD's are rated only to 10K ft before pressure problems. But even cargo area (as there are often animals down there) are pressurized, while no to sea level, less than 10K ft. Usually to about 5K ft.
--
»haywardm.com (Hayward's Key West)

public

join:2002-01-19
Santa Clara, CA
reply to raster44

said by raster44:

Reading over this thread....Do Airlines have any security in place to protect the passengers personal luggage? They have all this security to protect the plane and passengers from terrorists and crazies but none to protect the passengers from the airline employees theft or damage.
There is no security to protect planes. Anybody wanting to damage one has little trouble doing so.
A bunch of Stalinist welfare queens and perverts performing bizarre rituals at airport may amuse, but not impede potential terrorist.
The airline charges extra for the privilege of having bags vandalized.


Calliope
Premium
join:2005-09-19
Madison, WI
reply to Technogeez

said by Technogeez:

said by runnoft:

Traveling with a pet definitely limits what you can do with carry-ons, because it counts as your main carry-on, as you know.
Yeah, you definitely should not put a pet in your checked baggage with your laptop. They'll scratch up your laptop screen and surf pr0n while you're sipping diet Coke and munching peanuts up in the cabin.
Thank you for the humor! I needed that at this point!

UNFORTUNATELY, the kitty has to go in checked baggage as well, because he's a BIG kitty and will not fit in a cramped 8" high, under-the-seat carrier. So, the possibility of him scratching my laptop and surfing those not-so-nice places, does exist!

This is an International flight from Europe to the USA. I am not dealing with TSA on this end, thank heavens. European baggage handlers seem to be a bit more careful than thier American counterparts and all rules and regulations are under EU standards, not American.

The airport I am leaving from advises to lock suitcases and even offers shrink-wrapping at the airport itself.


dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4
reply to craig70130

said by craig70130:

The only danger would come from them losing it or banging it around.
or stealing it!
--
The shortest distance between 2 points adds 1.5 stars to T. want $25? solve »coord.info/GC20A37 for me

Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04
reply to Calliope

said by Calliope:

European baggage handlers seem to be a bit more careful than thier American counterparts
When I flew to Paris in July, they misplaced 25% of our plane's checked baggage for an hour. Only after a bunch of people started complaining did they "find" the missing baggage.


Quaoar

join:2004-08-11
Fort Collins, CO
reply to Kramer

Absolutely! Anything in checked baggage is subject to damage and theft. In the US, baggage theft is rampant, and baggage loss is rampant. Airlines are forwarding "lost" baggage directly to their auction and sales sites these days.

If one cannot carry the important electronics, either use a courier service - FedEx, UPS, etc. - or leave the stuff at home.

...and, if one does transport the device, be certain to mirror the hard drives, and then copy the entire drive contents to a portable drive prior to the trip. This will provide you with the ability to at least replace the documents, etc., and likely recover the entire drive to a new drive to replace the one that was lost, stolen, or damaged.

I cannot believe the number of news, forums, and blogs posts that describe how the airlines lost thousands of dollars of jewelry and other valuables from luggage. These were not lost, but more likely stolen. Check every transit of valuables - hotel transit from room to bag check; bag check to taxi or bus; taxi or bus to airport cartage..... You get the idea. At every stage, there is an opportunity for theft.