I flew a long range flight carrying my laptop, a quite heavy one, inside a neoprene briefcase on the passenger cabin. The recommendation by the aircrew is to place them in the compartments above or below the front seat. However, during take-off and landing, the vibrations on the plane are quite strong and, as a result, it received minor damages.

Placing them in the above compartments might be equivalent as placing it in the floor, underneath the front seat, with the added hindrance of additional luggage.

I considered the alternative of holding it vertical by the handle while sitting, so it won't be any contact with the aircraft's floor. This is impracticable during cruise, but I thought it could be better during the take-off and landing segments.

Other option I considered is to wrap it with completely with bubble wrap before boarding the plane.

The damage the laptop sustained was not great, but I am afraid of further damage as the date of my return flight approaches.

The question is:

Which is the safest way to transport a laptop during flight?

I don't think it's an inappropiate question, as the requirements are clearly defined and surely must be an optimal way to transport heavy tech while travelling. Even if, for some reason, it's deemed unsuitable or off-topic, I truly believe that it's an important subject, and I would be most pleased to receive your input.

  • 1
    Note that this question also exists on Aviation SE.
    – user
    Dec 18, 2014 at 10:58
  • 2
    The recommendation by the aircrew is to place them in the compartments above or below the front seat -- This is the only correct, and legal, answer. If your laptop received damage it means you packed it poorly.
    – Flimzy
    Dec 18, 2014 at 12:28
  • 1
    @pnuts: He was advised by Aviation to post here. I don't think he's close to a ban for this particular question.
    – Flimzy
    Dec 18, 2014 at 12:29
  • 1
    To be honest with you, I traveled for 5 years with a heavy "workstation" class laptop. This was before the days of SSD and ultrabooks and I never had my laptop damaged during flight; and I packed it in every possible way (without anything surrounded by a bunch of clothes; in a sleeve inside my carryon, in a "cheap" laptop bag; etc.) I am wondering what happened to your laptop. Dec 18, 2014 at 12:39
  • 1
    yes, Aviation.SE suggested he re-ask here. Please don't ding him for it.
    – rbp
    Dec 18, 2014 at 15:55

1 Answer 1


The following issues are to consider:

1) Heavy objects in your hand become a mortal projectile in case of emergency braking and other sudden movements. So you must keep the object in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you. Otherwise, it could break your neck, or somebody else's.

2) There is more room for movement in the overhead compartment, specially when empty. An unprotected heavy object might slide back and forward and bang against the walls of the compartment and get damaged. So the floor under the seat is the better place, provided it fits.

3) You should consider appropriate packaging for your laptop. While there are standard bags for laptops, some heavy movement might not offer appropriate protection. So generally it's recommended to add your own protection/padding, depending on the weight of the laptop. Bubble wrap is surely a good start, maybe not really practical for repeated packing and unpacking. There are special hard suitcases for heavy duty protection such as pelican or other.

Generally, the more you pack the object among other things (clothing etc), the better it is since it dampens any impact. Having the laptop without any padding inside a bag is definitely not recommended.

  • 1
    Despite being a duplicate, due to being posted first on SE.Aviation and later migrated here, I think an upvote and acceptance is long due. As in the other question, I solved the problem with some handicraft and my old laptop neoprene suitcase, but your link seems to be only sensible answer in the long run. Many thanks! May 7, 2015 at 7:49

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .