The Checks may now being applied to ANY UK INBOUND/OUTBOUND FLIGHT.

Airport Security checks your mobile cell phone power

TSA logoNew Security check in force from July 6th 2014 for US bound flights.
This latest security enhancement stems from heightened security measures announced by US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on July 2nd 2014.
Passengers headed to the USA can expect to experience increased ‘pat downs’, shoe examinations, explosive ‘swab checks’ and more extensive bag checks.  Delays are to be expected and passengers are advised to allow for that.

300x200 total_ad1As part of the ongoing changes introduced over the July 4th 2014 weekend, the Transport Security Administration has announced that it will enforce a new check to ‘power up’ your electronic device check prior to boarding flights to the USA.
It is believed that the move helps screen out the risk of portable devices being used as components for improvised explosive devices aboard US bound flights.

We understand that the check affects ‘carry on’ electronic devices and that passengers may be requested to power up the following items;

  • cell phones
  • portable games consoles
  • kindles and other e-readers
  • iPads and other tablets.
  • laptops
  • any portable electronic device

Any devices that do not power up, will be confiscated, and Passengers affected, may also undergo ‘additional screening’.

We have heard feedback from travellers that the new checks do appear to be focussed on battery operated devices that have some form of wireless/bluetooth or cellular capability.  We do however note that any electronic device in theory must be proven to operate as intended at any checkpoint.


Our opinion about the additional security checks

No matter how inconvenient, or infuriating it must be to lose a treasured cell phone or almost invaluable electronic device, passenger safety comes first and we welcome any step that keeps our skies free from terrorism.

The new measures will help that process.

It is highly unlikely that authorities will offer any leeway, should any items with ‘flat batteries’ are presented for screening).
Unless an airport offers a specific service, confiscated items can not be reclaimed from airport security, so we do advise that travellers ensure that a full charge is given to any device before heading to the airport.

If passengers head to airports unaware of the new checks, there is a real possibility of confiscation, so heightened communication between travellers and the travel industry is crucial to help minimize the inconvenience of the latest new security measures.

For guests that plan ahead, this is just another security upgrade to keep us all safe, but spare a thought for those unfortunate guests facing a choice between missing the flight or saying goodbye to their trusty cell phone or even a business laptop!
Expect some fun at the security points this summer!


TIPS How to avoid Confiscation if your electronic device isn’t charged up

The last opportunity that travellers have to avoid having their precious, but ‘un charged’ electronic devices confiscated, is at the main check in desk.

  • Travellers should ensure that they check through their own ‘carry on bags’ for devices that are ‘dead or low on charge’.  
  • Some travellers appear to have already chosen to place electronic devices into the hold luggage to avoid risks of confiscation, but the latest guidance from British Airways suggests that unpowered devices should must be placed into checked hold luggage.
  • If you have limited power left in your device, but want to keep it with you, heading immediately through the security area before your device runs out of charge may not be the answer as certain airlines are also checking devices as passengers board the aircraft at the gate.
  • Consider travelling with a portable battery charger if you are a heavy user of your mobile devices.
  • Place your charger leads inside your carry on luggage.
    Security ‘might’ allow you to place your device on charge and rejoin the check area if you can power up your device.
    (NOTE: We have not confirmed this!)
  • If an item is confiscated, ask if the airport offers a ‘Mail service’ such as Mailandfly, which can forward an item for a fee to your home address.
  • Note that Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are offering to store confiscated items for collection at a later date.
  • Passengers who are flying with carriers that have not made provisions to store confiscated items may risk losing the item permanently.  Telegraph article.
  • Consider that any newly purchased electrical items from Duty Free or other airport shops are most likely supplied with zero charge.  Do not buy the goods unless they offer to charge the device before your departure.
  • We have heard feedback from travellers that the new checks do appear to be focussed on battery operated devices that have some form of wireless/bluetooth or cellular capability.  We do however note that any electronic device in theory must be proven to operate as intended at any checkpoint.

Note to US Citizens about the new battery checks at airports

The checks do not affect US domestic flights (at the time of writing).
But travellers heading out of the US, should remember that their return inbound flights into the USA will still be subjected to these new stringent checks, regardless of your US Passport.


Travel Industry Updates:

  • Some initial reports suggest that Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices are most closely scrutinised, but passengers should expect any devices to be checked to ensure that they power up.
  • The UK Government issues an updated guide to hand luggage for travellers.
    Interestingly, the article notes that “If your device doesn’t switch on, you won’t be allowed to bring it onto the aircraft.”  In that case, hold luggage is not an option either.

Virgin Atlantic’s Advice

  • Virgin Atlantic tweeted to us that passengers are not advised to place electronic items in their main checked in cases.  This suggests that passengers can’t simply place any electronic devices without charge into their hold luggage prior to check in.
  • Virgin Atlantic confirm that only flights into the USA are affected.  Passengers on Virgin Atlantic flights leaving the USA will not be required to power up devices!

British Airways Advice

“What happens if I don’t have any power left in my electronic device?
If you are unable to power up your electronic device you will not be allowed to fly. If it does not power up then it cannot be placed in your hand or hold luggage. Please do all you can to ensure that any electronic device you have is fully powered before you arrive at the airport. There will be very limited facilities at airports to charge electronic items.”

Articles from the BBC

    • The BBC reports that travellers may be offered the chance to recharge devices in the airport and that check in staff may be advising passengers to remove any chargers from their main baggage should they feel the need to recharge mobile phones etc.
    • Update from the BBC that announces that any UK inbound or outbound flight may be subjected to the additional checks on electronic devices.


NBC News Coverage about the heightened threat and security measures.