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Multiple Laptops in Carry-on

Arusha, Tanzania
Level Contributor
3 posts
13 reviews
5 helpful votes
Multiple Laptops in Carry-on

I am finishing up a semester abroad and will be backpacking over my winter break. This means that I need to ship home everything that won't fit in my backpack. The shipping company won't take my laptop, so I'd like to send it home with a friend who is flying back (London > New York on United). Is she allowed to carry both her laptop and my laptop in her carryon bag? I have heard that you can't have two computers but can't confirm anywhere.


Level Contributor
49,560 posts
91 reviews
204 helpful votes
1. Re: Multiple Laptops in Carry-on

I have heard that you can't have two computers but can't confirm anywhere.


Of course she can take two computers. Why would you not be able to? For what possible reason?

Now, the main problem is going to be, one of them isn't hers. When she says "I am taking a colleagues laptop" I see lots of security personal having a detailed look at your laptop. They will at least want to start it up and no doubt will run all those little pads of paper over it looking for bombs and drugs etc. And will xray it several times. Probably it will be OK after that but I'd make 100% you are contactable by phone, that she has your logon and password, and the battery is fully charged.

Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
43,863 posts
42 reviews
44 helpful votes
2. Re: Multiple Laptops in Carry-on

Agreeing with the above. Also, I would NOT tell her to lie and say they are both hers. Many security people are trained in non-verbal behaviors and may very well be able to tell she is lying. --AND THAT will open a huge can of worms.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
290 posts
104 reviews
64 helpful votes
3. Re: Multiple Laptops in Carry-on

Not a big issue. I have flown with two laptops many times, including departing from London and other major American/European airports and no one ever questioned it.

Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
Level Contributor
45,458 posts
108 reviews
180 helpful votes
4. Re: Multiple Laptops in Carry-on

Agree it "shouldn't" be an issue if they are both yours but agree with others that it could be an issue if asked to confirm that.

Dubai, United Arab...
Level Contributor
12,387 posts
34 reviews
30 helpful votes
5. Re: Multiple Laptops in Carry-on

In any casa, now is the time for a full backup on an external hard drive to make sure you will not lose any data.

Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
7,998 posts
17 reviews
26 helpful votes
6. Re: Multiple Laptops in Carry-on

I was on a domestic US flight a couple of years ago, and going through security I got stuck behind a guy who was carrying no fewer than a dozen laptops. I watched in astonishment as he pulled them out of his cabin baggage one by one, like it was some kind of laptop "clown car" - have no idea how he got them all in there (and they must have weighed a ton!).

Unfortunately he did not understand that laptops had to each go in their own plastic container, so stacked them 3-4 per bin. And of course the security people had to direct him to redistribute them into individuals bins. Outside of that they did not bat an eye (wish the same could be said for people immediately behind him in line, who were visibly irritated at the delay).

Of course I understand that the situation in the UK is a bit different now with having to turn on electronics, but I can't imagine anyone having an issue with more than one laptop.


London, United...
Level Contributor
27,179 posts
29 reviews
55 helpful votes
7. Re: Multiple Laptops in Carry-on

I've travelled with two lap tops and two iPads before, never once have I been questioned as to who owns them.

Level Contributor
1,441 posts
123 reviews
93 helpful votes
8. Re: Multiple Laptops in Carry-on

Exactly - why would security ask who owns something you are travelling with? If you have put it in the tray, it's goes through the scanner and then they ask "whose is this?" the correct answer would be "mine" - as you are travelling with it. "I'm transporting it for a friend" might lead to further questioning.

London, United...
Level Contributor
27,179 posts
29 reviews
55 helpful votes
9. Re: Multiple Laptops in Carry-on

Exactly. The question whose it is is about who is transporting it. I've never heard of anyone say, " well I'm transporting it but it belongs to my mate" . Who cares. As long as you can power it up, the answer is no one.

Level Contributor
4,247 posts
21 reviews
8 helpful votes
10. Re: Multiple Laptops in Carry-on

Carrying them on the plane should not be a problem. What you both need to be aware of is that (unless things have changed), the computers are subject to search & possible seizure at U.S. Customs. You need to be sure that she is able to start up and log on to the computer. AND that there is nothing comprising that either of you would need to be concerned about.

You can find a link to the relevant document here: cbp.gov/document/directives/cbp-policy-regar… Perhaps someone with more recent experience with this issue could comment?