I am traveling from Australia to Canada through Los Angeles airport

I am carrying 2 laptops and many external hard disks, cables, etc.

I am going to put my external hard disks (5 of them) in my luggage, but the 2 laptops are going to be in my carry on bag in the airplane.

is there a problem with that?

  • As long as it fits in your hand luggage and your hand luggage fits the limits of your airline, no, it shouldn’t be an issue, I’ve done that quite often. This is provided those are two “used” laptops you are going to bring back home, no new laptops you will be leaving in either country, of course.
    – jcaron
    Jan 2 '20 at 23:42
  • Thanks, they are a laptop and more of a tablet laptop, they both going to be in the same bag
    – asmgx
    Jan 2 '20 at 23:47
  • Putting electronics in checked luggage is a sure way to get them stolen. The airline will reimburse you at max 20$/pound - if anything - so consider this again.
    – Aganju
    Jan 3 '20 at 5:21
  • @Aganju is it ok to bring wires and hard disks to the airplane?! especially that i am stopping in LAX
    – asmgx
    Jan 3 '20 at 6:39
  • Sure. Only size & weight is the limit for that.
    – Aganju
    Jan 3 '20 at 11:09

Yes it's fine to carry laptops in your carry-on bag. You can carry the external hard drives too, if you want.

Just be aware that your bag might still be gate checked. This happened to me back in October: Just as I was getting to the jetway they announced they were gate checking everyone else's bags because the plane was full, so I ended up pulling both of the laptops I was carrying out of the bag and carrying them onboard while the carry-on went under the plane (and on an unrelated note, actually ended up on a different flight but fortunately arrived at my destination before me). You could avoid this by carrying the laptops in a 'personal item' such as a small laptop bag or backpack that fits under the seat in front of you, but I wasn't expecting to need one of those on that flight so I didn't have one...

With respect to clearing customs in the US, it doesn't matter which bag they are in, as you will be briefly reunited with your checked bag between immigration and customs, and drop the checked bag off again after customs.

  • ... And next time I'll be bringing them in such a bag whether I think I need it or not, because I ended up spilling my drink all over them while trying to get a bite to eat between my flights. Hooray for spill resistant ThinkPads... Jan 3 '20 at 3:42

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