Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New Rules For Flying With Electronic Devices

Before leaving on a trip—especially one that includes air travel—one of the final tasks on my ‘to-do’ list is to charge laptops and other electronic devices. I don’t want the battery on my music player or tablet to run down mid-flight when I’m reading and listening to music. Not all planes are equipped with outlets to plug in chargers and now there’s an even more urgent reason to be sure electronics are charged before arriving at foreign airports.

Earlier this month the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security issued the following statement due to concerns over the possibility of explosives hidden within electronic devices being taken on airplanes:
DHS continually assesses the global threat environment and reevaluates the measures we take to promote aviation security. As part of this ongoing process, I have directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible. We are sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies and are consulting the aviation industry. These communications are an important part of our commitment to providing our security partners with situational awareness about the current environment and protecting the traveling public. Aviation security includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by an evolving environment. As always, we will continue to adjust security measures to promote aviation security without unnecessary disruptions to the traveling public.
In a follow-up, the TSA released this clarifying statement:
Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. As the traveling public knows, all electronic devices are screened by security officers. During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted on board the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening. TSA will continue to adjust security measures to ensure that travelers are guaranteed the highest levels of aviation security conducted as conveniently as possible.
It’s been some time since passengers were routinely asked to boot up laptops during the security screening process and in recent years it has only been necessary to remove them from cases to be sent through the x-ray machine separately. However, in addition to laptops this new ‘power-it-up’ rule covers all electronics such as cell phones, tablets, music players, electronic reading devices, and mobile phones. For international travelers, this could cause delays during airport screenings and if their batteries are dead, the devices won’t be allowed on the airplane.

No one wants to have expensive electronics confiscated, so heed this warning to make sure they are fully charged prior to arriving at the airport.

No comments: