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TSA clears Apple's 11-inch MacBook Air to stay in carry-on at airports

Owners of Apple's new 11-inch MacBook Air will not have to remove the thin-and-light notebook from their bag at security checkpoints in U.S. airports, the Transportation Security Administration has announced.

TSA spokesperson Nicholas Kimball told CNN that the new 11-inch MacBook Air is small enough that it doesn't need to be removed from a bag when going through an X-ray machine at airport security. Larger devices, including the MacBook Pro, must be removed from a bag when being scanned so that TSA officials can get a closer look at the internal components.

"If someone has a lot of stuff in their bag, it's sometimes difficult to get a clear view of it," Kimball reportedly said. "It might need some additional screening."

TSA has not yet made a decision on the larger, 13-inch MacBook Air, which means travelers will likely have to take the notebook out of their bag for the time being. But the larger MacBook Air could be exempt in the future, because it also lacks an optical disc drive, as well as a traditional hard drive.

Apple's new 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch MacBook Airs were unveiled earlier this month, and the larger model weighs just 2.9 pounds. Both devices rely on flash memory for storage, making the hardware smaller and faster than a traditional laptop.

Earlier this year, when the iPad launched, TSA announced that fliers could leave their iPad in a carry-on bag when going through security. The minimal amount of components inside the iPad makes it easier for security officials to analyze in an X-ray machine.

Officials can, however, ask a traveler to remove their iPad, MacBook Air or any other electronic device if they cannot get a clear image of it in an X-ray scanner.