Thursday, May 26, 2016

The TSA In Action: They Gave My $2,800 Macbook to Another Passenger

By Eric Cheng

On Friday, I lost my $2,800 Apple MacBook Pro by following standard TSA security protocols at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

I look back on the series of events that led to the lost computer with incredulity, and although all of the TSA staff and LAX airport police were courteous, I am still without my computer and am unsure whether or not I will be reimbursed for my loss.

Here’s what happened:

At 4:00pm on Friday, May 20, I was at the TSA security station at Delta Terminal 5, Lane 3. Per the standard (non-Pre) TSA process, I removed my 15.4” Apple MacBook Pro from my backpack and placed it in a bin. I removed my shoes and incidentals and placed them in a second bin. Behind me, I could hear a woman making a big scene because her “flight [was] at 4:15,” and her gigantic bag was clearly never going to fit on the airplane. She claimed multiple times that “the lady” told her she could bring it through security. At least 3 TSA agents were dealing with her as we moved closer to the X-Ray machine, and most of the people in the area were watching the altercation.

I arrived at the entrance to the X-Ray machine, pushed my 2 bags and 2 bins through, and stepped into the body scanner. When I stepped in, I realized that I had left my belt on, and went back to put it through the X-Ray machine. I almost always fly using TSA Precheck so I’m accustomed to not removing my belt (and computer), but this particular airplane ticket was booked by a conference, so I was in the normal line

The body scanner line wasn’t long, so this put me 2-3 people between me and my original position. I emerged from the scanner without any problems, collected my 2 bags and incidentals, and proceeded into Terminal 5. After awhile, I looked into my backpack and realized that I didn’t have my computer. My heart skipped a beat! I turned around and rushed to the security area. During the walk back, I was thinking that I didn’t even remember seeing my computer on the belt when I collected my things, but I always assume that human memory is terrible, so I couldn’t be positive.

I arrived at the security area, flagged down a TSA agent, and told her that I must have left my computer there, but that I didn’t remember seeing it on the belt. She left to look around; I wanted for about 5 minutes and never saw her again. I flagged down a second agent,

Reda the rest here.

(ht Dale Fitzgerald)


  1. As a follow up, the woman who got his Mac contacted him, no help from the cops or TSA thugs.

  2. Doesn't Apple tell you where your laptop is when someone powers it on?

    Isn't that why the TSA doesn't steal Macs anymore because Apple can locate the laptop inside the TSA employees house. Awkward!