It’s very rare that I take my eyes off my laptop but even more infrequently do I perch it on the side of the X-ray machine in airport security. A solid push from the tray table behind it and my 15-inch Macbook Pro fell a good 1.25 meters (4 feet) off the edge on to a hard floor. Aside from the slightest rub mark, my MBP survived in very good shape. Had my MBP been naked, I’m sure the physical damage would have been much more severe, even potentially life threatening. I avoided the repair shop (an even bigger hassle when you’re traveling) and can’t recommend the Incase highly enough. You never know when your laptop might take an unintended drop – surely a good case softens the impact.
They’re only $19.99, very durable (lasting years) and might help your laptop last just as long.