A good travel bag is one that you don’t notice. It slides easily under a seat or into the overhead compartment. It doesn’t set off red alerts in the security checkpoint line. The Skooba Checkthrough Messenger bag does all of these things and does it with simple, quiet style.
- Overall Size: 17″L x 13″H x 5.5″D
- Laptop section interior: 16″ x 11″ x 1.5″
- Material: 1680 Denier Ballistic exterior, nylon interior.
- Hardware and trim: Brushed nickel-finished metal hardware throughout, rubber bottom treads.
- Weight: 40 oz.
- MSRP: $129.95
Build and Design
The Checkthrough bag is sturdy. The ballistic nylon exterior definitely inspires confidence that everything inside of the bag is well-protected. The brushed metal hardware is solid and contributes to an overall industrial-chic look.
The Skooba Checkthrough bag is designed to meet the TSA guidelines for a checkpoint friendly bag, meaning that a laptop can remain inside the bag all the way through the security checkpoint. A dedicated laptop compartment offers security officials a clear x-ray image of the computer inside of the bag. The Skooba bag unzips from both sides of the handle, making it easy to pick up and carry once it’s been through an X-ray machine.
A large interior compartment and smaller exterior compartment make up the rest of this bag’s considerable bulk. You’ll find the usual pockets for gadgets, pens and business cards in the exterior compartment, as well as a clear plastic pouch for regulation-sized liquids.
As good as a bag may look, the real moment of truth is at the TSA security checkpoint, and the Skooba Checkthrough bag stood up to the test. I was never asked to take my laptop out of the bag on three trips through three different security lines. On paper, it doesn’t seem like much of time-saver. Taking a computer out of a bag isn’t a difficult task, but there’s something wonderful about removing one extra step from the process that stands between you and your gate.
After the trial by X-ray machine, the Checkthrough Messenger bag continued to perform well. It slides easily into that all-important space underneath an airplane seat. The padded shoulder strap is comfortable, and so is the handle. Even the zippers are designed in an S-shape, giving them a nice feel between the forefinger and thumb. (I liked them so much, they’ve been affectionately termed “zipper dimples” and I want them on every bag I own.) Anything that makes a trip a little more comfortable and a little more worry-free is a good investment in my book.
My only gripe with the Checkthrough Messenger is the plastic buckle that keeps the front flap secure over the bag’s exterior pocket. It fits just a bit tight, and I needed two hands to squeeze it open and close it. It’s a rare occasion when a traveler has two hands free to finagle a bag closure. Of course, this is a small complaint, and it won’t hurt to leave the flap unbuckled for easier access to the front compartment.
Almost everything about the Skooba Checkthrough bag seems to have been well thought out and designed. From the ballistic nylon exterior down to the brushed-nickel hardware, this is a reliable bag that’s easy to forget about on a long trip.
- Solid hardware and sturdy overall build
- Comfortable shoulder strap and handle
- Checkpoint friendly bag design
- Plastic buckle is tricky
- Slightly bulkier than bags that aren’t TSA compliant
- TSA still reserves right to have laptop removed from bag