Travelers on direct flights to the US should be prepared to turn on their smartphones and other devices for security clearance. The announcement was made on TSA’s website on Sunday, July 6, 2014:
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.
British Airlines took the precaution one step further. Passengers should be prepared to have their electronic devices (tablets, telephones, e-books, laptops) searched in addition to being functional. Devices purchased in the airport in original packaging must also have enough power. If denied boarding, British Airways will rebook the flight.
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.
If my electronic device doesn’t have any power, will I be allowed to rebook?
If your device doesn’t power up when you are requested to do so, you will not be allowed to fly to the US on your original service. Our customer services team will look after the rebooking of your travel arrangements.
Passengers going on long flights with transfers must be careful of running out of power as that can also limit their ability to board a flight headed to the US.