In the past, airline passengers were sometimes asked to not only take their laptops out of a bag when passing through airport security, but to turn them on to demonstrate that they were indeed working computers and not explosive devices.
This hasn’t been a problem for me recently since I now travel with an iPad which I can send through the x-ray machine while still inside of its neoprene case.
But the TSA has just announced that among the “enhanced security measures [being put in place] at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States,”
“all electronic devices [will be] screened by security officers. During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones.”
And if your device won’t turn on due to the battery being fully drained or any other problem, either put it in checked luggage or be prepared to hand it over when you pass through a security checkpoint, along with bottles of water, gels and liquids, or other items that can’t be carried aboard an aircraft, that you may have with you.
TSA says that “[p]owerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft.”
Since the agency has not disclosed which airports outside of the U.S. will be affected by the new security measures, travelers flying to the U.S. from any airport in another country would be wise to recharge all of their electronic devices, including laptops, tablets, phones, game devices, and digital cameras, the night before departure.
NBC News provided this coverage on screening of electronic devices, including an interview with Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson.
July 8, 2014 Update: The New York Times says that “It is not clear what will happen to the confiscated devices” and that “The new measures apply to some airports in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”
The BBC reports that passengers departing for the U.S. from London’s Heathrow airport may be advised to remove chargers from checked bags or go to an airport retailer in order to re-charge their powerless electronic devices, or use Bagport’s “MailandFly” service to ship or store them.
July 26, 2014 Update: An Ultrapak battery pack, reviewed in this story from The New York Times, may be just the ticket for quickly recharging your mobile device.