In news that will affect millions, the Homeland Security Department has announced it will not allow uncharged mobile phones and laptops onto planes headed to the United States .
In an official statement the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agency, part of the US Department of Homeland announced:
“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 onboard the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening.”
Terrorist Bomb Threat
The news follows a recent report from Reuters that Apple AAPL +1.14% iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices in particular would face additional attention. Reuters claimed this would apply to passengers flying to the US from Africa, Europe and the Middle East, but the TSA makes no mention of these brands or countries in its official statement.
The reason for the changes has been put down to concerns that terrorists are looking at ways to create bombs within dummy electronic devices .
Speaking last week US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warned additional security measures were imminent for “certain overseas airports with direct flights into the United States”. He said “We are sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies and are consulting the aviation industry. We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible.”
But the ruling suggests extra disruption is inevitable.
Many passengers charge their electronic devices specifically for long flights, but the change will play havoc with less well-prepared passengers. It will also pose a problem for passengers who have bought electronic devices abroad as gifts and will need to open and charge them before they are given and those on connecting flights who may have deadened batteries using devices on the previous flight.