() The laptop has a terrible keyboard. The Apple Wireless Keyboard I typically use with the iPad is much, much better.
() I hate trackpads. So when crammed into a middle seat in coach, I still dragged along a small travel mouse. No longer need to do so.
() Even with a separate keyboard, the iPad takes up less space on that little airline table than the 11" laptop. And while the laptop is light, the iPad and keyboard weigh even less. And if I don't need the keyboard, I simply don't pull it out of my bag.
() Battery for the laptop lasts about 3-4 hours max. I get twice that from the iPad. A BIG advantage on a cross-country trip or (I suspect) for a student who needs enough power to get through a day of classes.
() The 1366x768 screen on the laptop theoretically gave me more real estate than the iPad. But in fact, I couldn't really use it. The 11" screen was simply too small to handle multiple windows so I had to resort to using my larger laptop anyhow when I needed to do serious work.
In fact, I thought my small laptop was a rather good solution for airline travel. I've been surprised to find that the iPad/Apple Wireless Keyboard/Origami Workstation is actually a better solution. I suspect that a student (who has a more powerful laptop for other work) may find the same.