Ninety-six words that say too little

By | Category: Travel rumblings

swa_iphonesThis is the count of words in which the US Department of Homeland Security says that there will be extra security checks regarding electronic equipment.

Obviously I don’t expect them to tell me what they are looking for but some additional clarity for passengers would be helpful.

It appears that not every passenger will be asked to turn on their devices just because it will slow things down enormously but don’t rely on the fact that won’t be asked.

If you turn up at any (yes, I know the suggestion is just Heathrow but don’t risk it) airport that has direct flights to any US airport then expect to be asked to turn any electronic equipment on to show that it works. This will include laptops, mobile phones, kindles and similar kit, I-pads and any electronic game consoles. Does this include cameras because digital ones – which we all have these days – need charging? Play safe and assume it does.

If your device won’t turn on because it has no electronic charge then you can expect it to be confiscated so before you leave home, check and re-charge your device to be on the safe side. If you don’t the authorities could make a lot of money selling “pre-loved” electronic devices! You may also undergo additional screening says the news release but this could mean anything from a chat, a pat-down or a luggage search.

Again, the suggestion is that the rules affect only hand luggage but it doesn’t actually say so. Does this affect hold luggage? Probably not, but a device that explodes in the hold can still do a lot of damage so it should be covered. But I can’t see those who check kit opening every single hold luggage bag to test the contents. Homeland Security people have yet to reply to an e-mail I sent them asking for clarification.

To remind you, this affects – at the moment – only direct flights into the US and no others so the majority of holidaymakers and travellers shouldn’t have any delays. Well, delays due to this new ruling at least.

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