Passengers flying to the US will need to check their phones and other devices are charged before travelling. New security rules mean devices that won’t switch on will not be allowed on the plane.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the changes are part of “enhanced security measures” which are “informed by an evolving environment.” Media reports suggest the changes stem from a specific threat believed to be posed by Middle Eastern terrorists working on ways to build bombs that evade current automated screening. Reuters noted last week that the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy were of particular interest to security staff.
The Transport Security Agency has now clarified that:
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.
The TSA gave no details on what happens if a device isn’t allowed on board, for example if and how the passenger is able to retrieve it after taking the flight.
Though the changes affect airports outside the US, security staff there must carry out the TSA demands in order for direct flights from specific airports to the US to continue. It’s not been publicly revealed which countries or airports are affected, though the BBC notes that France, Germany and the UK have all said they will introduce the measures.
The rules on what electronic devices passengers can take on flights and when they can use them remain unchanged.