If you’re gearing up for holiday — or business — air travel, you must be dreading the airport chaos of going through security screening lines. There are a couple of new products that I recommend for their clever designs and wallet-friendly prices. One is a (relatively) affordable Tumi design from its just-launched T-Pass line. It’s streamlined and sturdy, with stiff sides to protect your PC, and it zips open quickly so screeners can see what’s inside fast. A slim laptop fits, along with power chords. (FYI, a MacBook Air and seperate disk drive fit extremely well. But a standard-issue enterprise Dell laptop from a couple of years ago wouldn’t fit into the case.) At $175, the T-Pass slim laptop case isn’t cheap but is a bargain for Tumi’s high-end offerings. (An expandable version for less-than-skinny laptops is $375.)
I’ve also been trying out an unbelievably sleek suede sleeve from a San Francisco company called WaterField Design. The impossibly slim case is only $29 and fits a MacBook Air like a glove (there’s also one for MacBook Pros). The sleeve’s actually softer than the cleaning cloth that comes with the Air and can be scrunched up into a little ball, to give you an idea of its texture and how gentle it is on your laptop. You can buy a carrying strap from WaterField to attach to the sleeve for as little as $5. It’s about the most minimalist laptop-carrying option I’ve seen, and really lessens the load on your shoulders when you’re traveling for the holidays…or work.