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Here are the restrictions you may face at airports and on planes when traveling with laptops, tablets and phones.
USA TODAY

With all the recent news tied to travel bans and on-again-off-again laptop restrictions, you might be confused about what’s allowed and what’s not.

Considering a busy Thanksgiving season is upon us, where you may be jet-setting around the country, here’s what you need to know.

Laptop rules

Quite simply, laptops are allowed on planes.

As always, you cannot use laptops at takeoff or landing, but you are free to use them mid-flight.

What’s more, many airlines today offer optional Wi-Fi to purchase, so you can be on the Internet, as well. But don’t forget you can now download movies and TV shows from Netflix to watch offline, or download music from Spotify ahead of time, to listen to without Internet access. Taking advantage of this feature could save you money.

Before you get on the plane, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says you must remove your laptop from your bag, backpack, or purse, and place it in a separate bin at the security checkpoint for scanning. Due to increased security measures, you may be asked to open your laptop after it passes through the X-ray belt, or in some cases, turn it on for the TSA officers to prove it’s really a laptop.

More: 3D scanners can ‘digitally unpack’ carry-ons and transform airport checkpoints with better, faster security

More: 10 ways to stay stress-free if you’re traveling with kids for Thanksgiving

Note: you might not need to take out your laptop if it’s in a “checkpoint friendly” bag. Specific criteria include: a designated laptop-only section that unfolds to lie flat on the X-ray belt; no metal snaps, zippers or buckles inside, underneath or on top of the laptop-only section; no pockets on the inside or outside of the laptop-only section; and nothing else in the laptop-only section other than the computer itself.

More info on these approved bags are at this TSA site.

Other electronics

Up until the summer of 2016, you only needed to take a laptop out of your bag at a TSA security checkpoint – and leave all other electronics inside of small luggage, a backpack, briefcase, or purse – but today you may be asked to take all gadgets out of your bag.

In fact, the TSA announced on Thursday new procedures for screening large electronics in…