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Following recent security concerns, airports in the UK have advised US-bound passengers – passengers connecting to flights to the USA and, most recently, passengers flying into and out of the UK – to charge their mobile phones and devices before travelling.

The move follows an advisory by the US Transportation Security Administration that states that passengers taking flights to the USA may be asked to switch on their mobile phones and devices.

In a post on its website, the TSA said: “As the travelling 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 onboard the aircraft. The traveller may also undergo additional screening.”

The UK Government has also updated its Hand luggage restrictions at UK airports to state that if a “device doesn’t switch on, you won’t be allowed to bring it on to the aircraft”.  Devices include mobile phones, laptops, tablets and MP3 players and hairdryers / straighteners, travel irons and electric shavers.

British Airways notes that if passengers are “unable to demonstrate” that their device has power, the device will not be allowed to travel with them.  

Virgin Atlantic takes a similar stance: “Customers may be asked to turn on personal electronic or battery powered devices in order to demonstrate how they work.

“If, when requested, you are unable to turn your device on, you will not be able to travel with your device.”

Delta says passengers travelling to the US from select airports in Europe, the Middle East and Africa should expect additional security measures and to allow an additional 30-45 minutes at the airport.

Air France has issued this advice: “All your electronic devices (telephones, tablets, laptops, e-books, game consoles, cameras, camcorders…), kept in cabin baggage, must be battery powered and functioning during your boarding at the airport of Roissy Charles de Gaulle.

“If your device is discharged or defective, you will not be allowed to board on the flight with this equipment.

“We also recommend that you keep your battery chargers in your cabin baggage. The charging of your equipment is possible in the boarding lounge. This must be done no later than the end of the boarding of your flight.”

How to clear security quickly and easily

  • Arrive at the airport in plenty of time as security lines may be longer than usual. For long-haul flights departing from Heathrow,  for example, passengers should allow three hours at the airport. If you’re running late and not sure your phone is “alive”, pack your device into your checked luggage.
  • Get as much help as you need. Don’t be afraid to ask airport staff for help if you’re travelling as a family or with an older relative.
  • Pack smart with devices – and chargers – ready to hand.
  • If you’re travelling with children ensure their devices (iPads, Kindles) charge up too. Remember that items such as electrical shavers, hair-straighteners and cameras are on the list too.
  • You may be asked to remove your shoes. Make sure they’re easy to slip in and out of.
  • If your phone or device needs juice, find a charging station. At Heathrow Airport, for example, Free Power Pole charging stations are available in all terminals (before and after security). They are compatible with UK and European plugs as well as USB cables. At Glasgow Airport mobile-phone charging machines with adapters for most phones can be found at domestic arrivals outside Starbucks. The cost is £1 for 30 minutes, £1.50 for 60 minutes or £2 for 90 minutes.
  • Remember that if you’ve just bought a device at an airport shop, you’ll need to be able to power it up too.
  • If you’re heading into a summer of travel and need a new phone check out the best battery life phones (GSMArena uses a primary endurance score which looks at how long your phone would last between charges if you were using it for one hour for calls, one hour on the internet and one hour streaming video every day).

NBC News is reporting that iPhones and Galaxy phones (made by Samsung Electronics) have been singled out by officials for extra security checks at airports in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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(Feature image: KittyKaht)

About the author

Oonagh ShielContent Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!

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