Can You Use a Laptop On a Plane?

Whether you are planning to stay entertained or getting work done while you are 33.000 above the ground then you must be wondering if you can travel and use your laptop on a plane.

Well the answer is a resounding yes, you can use your laptop on a plane, but not during the airplane take off and landing. 

In this post, we will dive into the topic of using laptops on planes, some tips and tricks, as well as some of the best laptops for travel that I’ve personally tried and tested. 

Let’s kick things off

Using a laptop on a plane
Using and traveling a laptop on a plane is not complicated.

TSA Guidelines

Do You Have To Take Your Laptop Out For The TSA?

Before you go ahead and pack your laptop, it is a good idea to first have knowledge about what to expect at the security checkpoint.

The FAA and the TSA recommend taking laptops with installed lithium batteries on board the airplane, instead of sending them in the airplane hold.

But unless you have a TSA PreCheck you will need to remove your laptop along with any electronics larger than a cell phone from your bag and place it in a separate bin for additional screening.

Laptops TSA rules
Screenshot from the TSA website

The TSA have no packing requirements or limits for the number of laptops you can bring on a plane.

If possible, pack your laptop in a separate bag so you can easily take it out at the security checkpoint and put back in after you clear the security.

To make sure your laptop is safe during security checks, remember when you put it in a separate bin to send it last. If you send it through the scanner first while you’re still waiting, someone might be able to take it and leave before you go through security. So, be careful and keep an eye on your stuff!

Pro Tip

You don’t need to worry about the weight of your laptops as most of the US airline companies do not have weight restrictions for carry-on bags.

Can You Use a Laptop On a Plane?

You can use your laptop on a plane, but you can’t use it when the plane is taking off or landing.

This is because during those times, it’s important to pay close attention to the instructions from the flight crew and be ready for any emergencies.

The FAA and airlines do recommends also to avoid using laptops during take off and landing to ensure a quick and unobstructed evacuation in the event of an emergency.

In case of a turbulence, a laptop can turn into a bludgeon and injure someone if not stowed properly.

Once the plane is in the air and the seatbelt sign is turned off, you are free to use your laptop to work, watch Netflix, play games, or do other things to pass the time.

Other Things To remember Before Using a Laptop

Internet Connection And Charging

The only connection you can use on a plane is the inflight WiFi and it is usually with applicable charges.

You can’t use cellular data if your computer has a SIM card, you need to turn on the airplane mode.

If you are flying with an airline that is charging an arm and a leg for inflight WiFi, you can consider downloading some entertainment on your laptop, like music and games beforehand.

Some airplanes may have a different plug or not have charging ports so ensure that you fully charge your laptop before heading to the airport.

Power banks under 100HW are allowed on planes or you can just pack an extra battery if your laptop has a removable battery.

If you want to watch or listen to something on your laptop, make sure you use headphones or earbuds so you don’t disturb your fellow passengers.

You should also keep the volume at a reasonable level and avoid any content that might be offensive or inappropriate for other passengers to see or hear.

Packing Laptops For a Flight 

a laptop and a backpack
Use a good bag for your laptop

Always remember to place your laptop in a sturdy and durable personal item instead of a carry-on bag.

Carry-on bags need to be stowed in the overhead compartment all the time, additionally; carry-on bags are more prone to be gate checked if the overhead space runs out or your carry-on is above the size limit.

But you don’t want your laptop to go in the airplane cargo, checked bags are not handled gently and may get lost, damaged, and often items can be stolen from checked bags.

If you want to learn more about the pros and cons of traveling with laptops, you can check out this post on Love And Road.

Laptop Recommendations To Use While Traveling

I’ve searched out some laptops for travel, and here are the ones I think are the best.

LaptopSizeWeightBattery LifePerformanceDurabilityPrice
Apple MacBook Air M1 (my favorite)13.3 inches2.8 lbsUp to 18 hoursExcellentHigh$999
Acer Swift 514 inches2.3 lbsUp to 15 hoursVery goodMedium$999
ASUS Zenbook 14 Flip OLED14 inches2.9 lbsUp to 16 hoursVery goodMedium$799
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Chromebook11.6 inches2.4 lbsUp to 10 hoursGoodLow$229
Microsoft Surface Go 310.5 inches1.2 lbsUp to 11 hoursGoodMedium$399
This table is a comparison of different laptops criteria like performance, battery life and durability

Final Thoughts On Using Laptops On a Plane.

Taking and using a laptop on a plane is a great way to have fun or send some business emails during a flight.

In fact if you’re a blogger or you work while traveling, then the time you spend on a plane can be a great chance to get some work done.

A smart phone can’t do that.

But there are some important rules to remember:

  • You will need to remove your laptop at the security checkpoint and place it in a separate bag for additional screening.
  • Do not use your laptop when the plane is on the runway, taking off or landing, this is because it might block the way in case of an emergency.

I hope this helps 

Happy travels 

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Using a laptop on a plane