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If you’re headed to the U.S. on a transatlantic flight, make sure your cell phones, laptops, tablets and more are charged by the time you get to the airport, or you might not be allowed to board with them. As part of the Enhanced Security Measures announced by the Secretary of Homeland Security last week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has instructed security officers in “certain overseas airports” (publicly undisclosed at this time) to test passengers’ electronics; if these gadgets don’t have enough power to turn on, passengers may be asked to charge them before boarding or be required to place them in checked baggage. This directive is thought to be targeted at European and UK airports, but may apply elsewhere.
The TSA isn’t warming any hearts right now, with this announcement coming alongside the plan to increase security fees on July 21, 2014. However, it seems that at least this is in direct response to recent and credible terrorist threats against transatlantic flights to the U.S. involving dead electronic devices being used to conceal bombs. The TSA doesn’t officially have the authority to implement its rules abroad, but UK and European airports might be forced to comply with this powerless gadget ban if the TSA chooses to forbid non-compliant flights to land at US airports.
Security screening may start as early as online check-in, when some passengers may find themselves instructed to complete check-in at the airport and possibly be subjected to an intensive search. I suggest charging your gadgets before you head to the airport in order to avoid being inconvenienced, delayed, or even forced to miss your flight.