UK airports ban uncharged phones from US-bound flights: Here's why

Forgetting to charge your phone before boarding a flight to the US could see your handset confiscated under new rules imposed by the Transportation Security Administration.

UPDATE: To clarify the new security measures, Heathrow Airport said on its website and Facebook page: "If you are flying to the US please make sure any of your electronic devices are charged before you travel. If your device does not switch on you may not be allowed to bring it onto the aircraft."

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that passengers flying to the US will be advised to remove chargers from their suitcases and put them in their hand luggage at check-in, so gadgets can be topped-up.

If passengers attempt to go through security with a smartphone or tablet with no charge, they will be directed to an electronics retailer to buy a charger, and be told where airport plug sockets are located.

Finally, if the passenger refuses to use a charger or cannot power on their device, it will be suggested they make use of MailandFly, a postal service located at Heathrow airport. Items can either be stored there for up to 42 days, or posted to the passenger's destination.

The TSA believes al-Qaeda are developing new ways of smuggling bombs onto planes undetected. The BBC reports that the extra security: "could be a response to efforts by Islamic militants in Syria and Yemen to build bombs that evade airport security checks."

While the TSA has not provided a full list of airports affected by the new security measures, the UK Department for Transport said: "We have taken the decision to step up some of our aviation security measures." and links to a statement published by the TSA explaining the new rules.

The lesson then is simple - if you’re flying to the US, ensure your smartphone, tablet and other electronic devices carried in the cabin are charged and have enough power to be switched on; ideally you should pack the charger in your hand luggage. If they won’t boot up, you may not be able to travel with them.

Source: AP

Image: Wiki Commons

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