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Travel question: Do you use a laptop privacy screen? Why or why not?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


3m privacy filterBeing a travel blogger is interesting at times. Some of us, well those of us who fly United that is, have gotten in real trouble for taking photos on-board aircraft. I mean REAL trouble.

Thankfully Delta is not nearly as stupid as United when it comes to cabin photos. Personally I try to be aware of people and leave them out of shots as much as I can, but at the same time if someone is out in “public” and they don’t want their photo taken then just don’t go out in public. That is my feeling on the matter anyway.

I do employ one of these 3M GOLD filters and it does work very well. Unless you are looking straight at my screen it is just about impossible to see anything even under dark conditions like a night flight. The thing just works.

rene with kid on mileage run

What prompted me personally to start using one was the above shot that ended up in the Business Insiders piece about the world’s greatest mileage runners. The back story behind this was that I had “enjoyed” these two little ones making a BUNCH of noise in the gate area and I was never more happy to score a gate upgrade. It was the last row of 1st but at least I would have some peace and quiet on my transcon flight. But then suddenly one of the bundles of joy gets plopped down next to me. Ruh Roh 🙂

Soooooh, I decide to take a selfie of the moment and later on in the flight began to edit the photo and work on a post. The parent of the lap child looks over and just freaks out. Now I did not want to cause an incident up in the air and I do try to be careful with kids in my shots, but as mentioned I feel if you don’t ever want to be in a photo don’t go out in public. I diffused the moment and blurred out the little one’s face before posting (as I often do).

But this did prompt me when I fly to get a 3M filter. The thing is this. It is a bit of a pain to use. It is not permanently attached to my screen and is just held in place with little plastic tabs. The result is it does tend to move around and must be put back in place each time I use it. It does darken my screen a bit so I use more battery power to brighten up my screen. It also gets dirty easy with finger smudges. I find myself removing it when at home and put it back when I fly. All of this is a bit of work.

I guess that gets to my opening question. Are these things worth all the hassle. I mean I know for some whatever is being worked on needs to be secured so the data must be protected from prying eyes. For me, really not so much, but it is nice to keep passwords and other things private so maybe it is – I just don’t know. Do you use one? Must you use one for work. Are they worth the hassle vs. benefits? – René
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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

15 Comments

  1. The infant doesn’t have a choice about going out into public; he/she needs to go with their parent. Does that mean that the child doesn’t deserve any privacy?

    Besides that, going out into public is an absolutely REQUIRED part of most people’s lives. It’s not a choice when they have to walk to school/work/home/etc. And you say that if they want to maintain their privacy, they should just not go out into public? How the heck is that any kind of real choice? The alternative for them is staying in private and being forced to not be able to go to work, and that would almost certainly mean something like death.

    • @Vanderbilt U reader – Please do note, as stated in the post, I blur out kids faces most times (had not had a chance to do so before parent looked at my laptop and freaked out). However, say I take a group shot of a boarding area – I would not in that case, unless clearly obvious, look at 100 faces to find a kid in the shot.
      .
      But back to the question of the post – do you use a screen filter?

  2. I don’t use a screen filter as presently I do not use a laptop in flight much. It could be useful in the lounge. I must admit that I can’t help stealing a glance or two when a seatmate is working dilligently next to me especially if there are charts, graphs or pictures. A few months back I sat next to a doctor who was reviewing a presentation on some horrible skin diseases or conditions. The pictures were revolting, and it was impossible to miss seeing them. I wish he had a filter.

  3. I started using one a couple of years ago and enjoy the privacy. I think it’s human nature to want to see what’s going on around you and this just provides a little more privacy.

  4. Use an iPad, grandpa. Leave that overweight 90s style Windows work laptop at home and save us all a lot of space.

    • @Joe – LOL well there are many who use a MAC book AIR too. They can use one as well. Plus I have never used any tablet that can do all a laptop can.

  5. I don’t use one. I do, however, keep an eye out for nosy neighbors. When one is spotted, I open up notepad and start typing in a large font “how about you mind your own business and stop looking at my screen??”. Lol. Usually does the trick.

  6. I have one here on my desk for 6 months now and your post has caused me to take it out to install. I use a laptop and many times will watch a movie … it is really interesting to turn around and see how many people behind me are watching my PC. I now have to quick put the screen down if it looks as though a heavy romance scene is coming …

  7. I don’t use one. I prefer to use flight time as downtime and watch a movie or play a game.

    However on my last flight I really enjoyed watching the guy 1 row ahead across the isle access each of his bank accounts. I was able to read his balances and spending.

    You shoud be careful with the private stuff

  8. Rene’, from looking at that selfie you probably scared the CRAP out of that kid!

  9. When out in public, there can be no expectation of privacy. Generally, this is the law of our land. If you want privacy, stay home. If you are in a public place, your photo can be taken – like it or not. Often times we are all captured as incidental people at tourist locations. But photos cannot be used for inappropriate purposes like slander. Rene did a good and courteous thing by blurring out the child’s face, though it is debatable if this would have been required by law – context of the use of the photo would have some applicability, particularly if there is any commercial use. I am not an attorney, but I consult with one too frequently.

    I don’t usually use a screen guard on a computer – instead I watch movies on my iPhone or iPad. Movies make flights more enjoyable – or tolerable when confined to coach due to lack of upgrade.

  10. I use one for work all the time Rene and absolutely glad I do on the planes too. I remember you telling me about that incident on a shared flight a few months back, I thought that was hilarious!

    Get these instead of the plastic tabs Rene: https://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/3MScreens-Dell/Screens/Main/Replacement-Parts/

    They’re effectively double sided tape that tapes the filter directly onto the screen itself. Just make sure your fingers are clean and try not to touch the sticky tape part when installing it or you’ll have a fingerprint on a part of your screen forever.

  11. @Rene

    I should mention they’re free 😀 No skymiles redemption at the saver level necessary :).Just fill out your shipping info and 3M will send some out to you 🙂

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