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I flew a long range flight carrying my laptop, a quite heavy one, inside a neoprene briefcase in the passenger cabin. The recommendation by the aircrew was to place it in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of me. However, during take-off and landing, the vibrations on the plane are quite strong and, as a result, it received minor damage.

Placing them in the overhead compartment might be equivalent to placing it on the floor under the seat, with the added issue of additional luggage in the compartment shifting.

I considered the alternative of holding the laptop 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.
Another option I considered is to wrap it with completely with bubble wrap before boarding the plane.

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

migrated from aviation.stackexchange.com Dec 19 '14 at 17:00

This question came from our site for aircraft pilots, mechanics, and enthusiasts.

  • I followed your advice, for which I'm thanful. I´ll keep this question here for the time being, as it might get more technical answers. – Calculus Knight Dec 18 '14 at 7:26
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    @Antzi Please recommend migrating rather than re-asking (people can ask for migration by clicking the "flag" link below their question). Having copies of the same question on multiple Stack Exchange sites is bad because it fragments answers and wastes people's time when they put effort into solving an already-solved problem. – David Richerby Dec 18 '14 at 9:37
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    I posted here originally, then on 'travel' as suggested. Is there a way for merging both questions without loss of the current information already displayed? Thanks in advance and my apologies to the moderators for the inconvenience. – Calculus Knight Dec 18 '14 at 14:59
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Sorry if this seems harsh, but the cabin crew really doesn't care if your laptop gets damaged - that's not their primary concern. What they care about is the overall safety of the flight, which means ensuring your laptop (and every other piece of carry-on luggage) is stowed securely so that in the event of an emergency – turbulence, crash, etc. – it does not become a projectile flying around the cabin with the potential to injure someone.

To that end, the safest way to carry your laptop from an aviation perspective is exactly the way the cabin crew instructed you to: Either secure it in the overhead compartment, or place it under the seat in front of you.

Holding the device in your lap is generally not an option because in an emergency you may not be able to hold on to it, nor would you want to be sitting at an awkward angle "holding it by the handle" to keep it off the floor if the plane suddenly encountered turbulence, as your head would very quickly meet the back of the seat in front of you - likely in the vicinity of the tray-table.


Typically neoprene laptop sleeves should provide adequate protection for flying with your laptop, but clearly you are not the typical situation (either your flight was unusually rough or your laptop is unusually sensitive). If you are concerned about damage I would suggest purchasing a laptop bag with more substantial padding - these are bulkier than the neoprene "sleeve" style cases, but provide substantially more protection and are better suited to flying. In addition they're usually big enough to hold travel essentials (at the very least a change of underwear/socks and any personal medications) as well.

If you can't get a more substantial bag before your next flight the bubble wrap idea is a good one, but make sure you can unwrap the laptop quickly when going through airport security - a wad of bubble wrap with some electronic bits inside may attract some extra attention.

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    Here's what I did. I acquired a lot of bubble wrap, some kind of foam and those short rubber-like cylinders. I cut two layers of the foam and fit them in the bottom of the neoprene suitcase/sleeve. Then made holes for the rubber cylinders and fit them in. After that I simply wrapped the laptop in bubble wrap and went to the airport. Everything went fine. – Calculus Knight Jan 28 '15 at 17:30
  • As suggested in the duplicate, this store has what I was looking for, even if the bubblewrap and padding worked out in a pinch I can't imagine myself doing it again. – Calculus Knight May 7 '15 at 7:52

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