While the FAA made it much easier for flyers to use their electronic devices during take-off and landing, the TSA has just announced a new policy that is going to make life difficult for some flyers. In an effort to increase security, the TSA has announced for flights that are bound for the US from foreign airports. In essence, when you attempt to board a plane, security personnel at the airport can request that you turn a device on. If it fails to properly turn on, the flyer will be requested to leave the item behind or submit to additional screening. It is important to note that this policy is only in place at select airports outside the US for flights that will be heading to the US. Domestic travelers will not have to deal with this, yet.
This is a major hassle for several reasons. First, travelers that are overseas and returning the to US right now may not be aware of the new measures. Secondly, they may not have brought the necessary chargers for their devices meaning that they will be powerless when they arrive at the airport. Fliers are most certainly not going to want to leave behind a several hundred to thousand dollar smartphone, tablet or laptop just because it won’t power up. There is also no mention of what the additional security screening will entail.
The emphasis seems to be on smartphones right now from all reports of the new measure because of supposedly new undetectable bombs. It also only applies to devices that are carried onto the plane. So one way around the problem is to pack it into a checked bag. So, if your device has no power, you can check it but this puts an expensive item at risk of damage or theft. Another option is to carry a compact portable battery pack that can power up your device sufficiently as required to allow it to power on. There are many inexpensive options such as the Anker Astro3 that can be very useful for anyone that is traveling especially if they will be away from a power source.