New Rule for TSA Check-In

“Yesterday a woman wore a bikini to LAX airport hoping
to avoid the patdown. She is still being patted down.”
–Conan O’Brien

Especially if you are flying TO the United States from the United Kingdom you might well need to meet a new requirement to pass through TSA checkpoints when you arrive for your flight. Effective immediately, security agents will randomly be checking your electronic devices by requiring you to turn them on and prove they are functional devices.

Don't make your cellphone a target of scrutiny.

Don’t make your cellphone a target of scrutiny.

If travelers are not able to demonstrate that their device has power they will not be allowed to fly on their planned flight. It will not be possible for travelers to proceed with the electronic item in baggage, either carry-on or checked. They will have to leave the item behind or book an alternate flight later (with the device re-charged).

Travelers should arrive with plenty of advance time for check-in at the main security gate and at the boarding gate. Airlines will be checking devices at different points before boarding.

This screening will apply to mobile telephones, tablets, e-readers, laptops – any electronic or battery powered device.

We all know that the TSA (or their international equivalent) holds the upper hand in any dispute at security checkpoints. How can you be prepared and avoid a very distressing situation?

The best and most appropriate way to be ready for the test is to be sure your devices are fully charged when you approach the security checkpoint. That way you can summon them to life immediately and you will be sent on your way with no problems.

A little planning goes a long way toward an easy security check. Photo by Noblige

A little planning goes a long way toward an easy security check. Photo by Noblige

How can you be prepared?

Charge everything before you go to the airport.

Arrive at the airport in plenty of time.

Revise any settings which would consume power at a fast rate. I am not a techno wizard but I know there are apps which routinely go looking for hot new messages to alert you. These eat up power, especially when they have to seek a connection. Consult a techno wizard or your user handbook and learn how to turn those off those apps before you fly.

Carry a small charging cable for last minute power if you do this trip often. Read about those here or consult your preferred technology source.

At this point this rule is being invoked for flights from the UK to the US. I have no idea whether it will be expanded to other flights.  My inclination will be to prepare for such a test before any flight in the coming months until we see whether the rule is expanded. Better to be prepared and get on the plane than to hope no one asks and miss the flight.

Boundaries divide. Travel unites.

10 July 2014

About Travel Unites

A travel agent since 1994, I want people to get together for greater understanding across boundaries.
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2 Responses to New Rule for TSA Check-In

  1. Beachbums1 says:

    Thanks for the tips. I’ve been following the new regulations and, since I’ll be flying from London to the US in two weeks, I’ll make sure everything is charged! Just hoping check-in doesn’t take forever.

    • I will be making the trip in late August myself. Hopefully by the time you go the process will have become the “new normal.” Time will tell! Thanks for writing.

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