It’s Friday, December 9th 2011 and I’m in the TSA security line at San Francisco International Airport. Shoes off. Belt off. Watch off. Laptop, iPad and Kindle out of my bag and into the trays.

TSA guard: “New rules. You don’t need to take your Kindle out anymore. It’s small enough for us to see it on the X-Ray machine in your bag

Me: “That’s good; one less thing to have to take out of my bag

It’s Thursday, March 1st 2012 and I’m in the same TSA security line at SFO. Shoes off. Belt off. Watch off. Laptop and iPad out of my bag and into the trays. Kindle in my bag. My bag goes through the X-Ray machine and I manage to avoid getting the full body scanner treatment.

TSA guard: “Is there something electronic in your bag?

Me: “Yes, my Kindle

TSA guard (forcefully): “You know the rules. All electronic equipment needs to be out of your bag and in a tray

Me: “I was told that there was the new rule that Kindle’s didn’t have to be in a tray

TSA guard: “Who told you that

Me: “You did, in December

TSA guard: “I would never have told you that


Photo Credits: Niels Heidenreich on Flickr.
Written and posted from home (51.427051, -0.333344)

Written by Gary

A self-professed map addict, Gary has worked in the mapping and location space for over 20 years through a combination of luck and occasional good judgement. Gary is co-founder of Malstow Geospatial, which provides handmade, professional geospatial consulting. A Fellow of the RGS, he tweets about maps, writes about them...
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Shaun McDonald

When I was through Las Vegas/Portland, OR in Jan/Feb they didn’t need the Kindle out. With laptops it’s completely random as whether you can have one on top of the other in the tray, and whether you can leave them in their protective sleeve.


At SFO it’s always been, for me at least, laptop out of bag and out of sleeve and in a tray on their own.

Mark Iliffe

I was at Washington Reagan, asked them if I needed to take my iPad and Camera (a hefty 5D) out. “No sir” was the reply. 5 minutes later, guess what happened!


Ha ha – the joke’s on the flying public.

TSA makes up the rules as they go along! And even funnier – sometimes they IGNORE what’s on their OWN website.

I feel sorry for people who still have to fly because of their jobs. As for the rest of those who fly, they are either among the elite politicians and their friends who don’t have to live by the rules they make for the rest of us – or, they enjoy getting pushed around and manhandled by sadistic bullies.

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