Airport security loves MacBook Air

October 29, 2010, 12:10 PM UTC

The 11-inch model can stay in your bag and sail through checkpoints (but not the 13-inch)

Photo: Ian Smith, PNG. Inset: Apple Inc.

Here’s another reason to like Apple’s (AAPL) new entry-level 11.6-inch MacBook Air — besides the 5-hour battery life (30-days standby), relatively cool operating temperature, nearly instant-on flash memory, 2.3-pound avoirdupois and $999 price tag:

You can take it through U.S. airport security checkpoints without removing it from your bag.

Based solely on its diminutive dimensions, the Transportation Security Administration, in its wisdom, has told CNN that it classifies the 11.6-inch model as a “small gadget” — along with the iPad, Amazon’s (AMZN) Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s (BKS) Nook, Sony’s (SNE) Reader and most netbooks.

The 13.3-inch MacBook Air, however, is too big to pass,

“Only electronics the size of a standard laptop or larger (for example Playstation®, Xbox™, or Nintendo®), full-size DVD players, and video cameras that use video cassettes must be removed from their carrying cases and submitted separately for x-ray screening,” the grim-faced agency explains in its incongruously folksy blog.

“So, kick back and enjoy your gadgets and all they have to offer. We’ve come a long way since the classic time killers such as Mad Libs and Wooly Willy.”

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]