Guest Author - Carol Margolis
“Will the person who left their laptop at Security in Terminal C please return to claim it” said the loudspeaker as I walked through the airport terminal. I thought to myself “How could anyone forget their laptop?”
But this person wasn’t the only one.
According to a study commissioned by Dell, it was found that 12,000 laptops are lost each week at U.S. airports. Los Angeles leads the pack with 1,200 laptops reported lost or stolen at LAX weekly. Incredibly, most laptops are left behind at security checkpoints, with only 33 percent ever being recovered (17 percent before the flight, 16 percent after). Doesn’t this sound impossible?
With the weight of laptops becoming less and less, I can understand not realizing that the heftiness of your laptop bag or backpack has gone done. Maybe with the rush of getting your shoes back on, your belt back in place, and your liquids back in your suitcase, I suppose it is possible to not realize your laptop is still in a bin (or lifted by some quick sticky-fingers).
Whether the study’s results of 12,000 lost laptops each week is accurate, it is a fact that some laptops get forgotten at the security belt, are picked up innocently by someone with a similar laptop, or outright stolen. So what are some ideas for keeping your laptop safe and to ensure it gets back in your laptop tote once through airport security?
• Attach your business card to the bottom of your laptop and include your mobile number. If you are traveling through an international airport, you may also want to your international dialing code along with any translations of your name and/or phone number (such as into the Chinese character set).
• Attach a bright label to the top of your laptop so it is easier to see once it’s inside the dull gray bin – a piece of pink duct tape works well and does not rip off easily. Many people put bright colored tags on luggage so it can be spotted coming around the luggage belt, so think of doing something similar for your laptop.
• When placing your laptop through the security machine, put your shoes on the belt immediately after the laptop. You may be challenged to always remember your laptop, but you will most likely never forget your shoes!
• To keep your laptop within your sight (as well as your purse), walk through the security machine yourself only after your bins are going through the machine. If you are delayed in getting through the security machine, then keep an eye on your bins as they come out the belt and watch for anyone who might be lingering around the out-coming bins.
• Create a little ditty to remember your valuables. Here’s something silly I created:
Remember to collect my purse, laptop, liquids and shoes,
Or else I’ll be letting out a curse and be feeling the blues.
Or remember the first letter of each item: PLLS = purse, laptop, liquids, shoes
• If you do realize you forgot your laptop or any other item while you’re still at the airport, head back to TSA as fast as you can (assuming you have time before your flight leaves). Or call the TSA Lost and Found office for the airport that you are at. See TSA Lost and Found by State or Territories Served by TSA: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/customer/editorial_1693.shtm
• As a preventative measure, consider investing in LoJack for your laptop or other recovery-type of software. But do this now. It will be too late once your laptop has already disappeared.
Hopefully these tips on keeping tabs on your laptop will help reduce the number of missing laptops from airports each week.
I’d love to hear your tips on protecting your laptop. And if you’ve been unfortunate in losing your laptop or having it stolen, share what happened. Lessons learned, along with best tips, help all of us traveling women in protecting our valuables.
Carol Margolis of Smart Women Travelers
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