That's the question many travelers were asking themselves after the TSA posted a notice, on Sunday night, that those entering the United States would be asked to turn on cellphones, computers and other electronics when they went through security. This is apparently in response to new intelligence about a possible threat to inbound airplanes. The T.S.A. notice states that those devices that do not turn on could be confiscated, and their owners subjected to extra security checks. So far, there have not been any reports in the press of electronics being taken from their owners.
So what's the advice for travelers?
- Consider having your devices on before you hit the security line. That way you can show, instantaeneously, that your electronics work (and aren't hidden bombs).
- Be sure to bring your charger in your carry-on bag. I say this on the assumption that security officers will allow those with "dead" devices a chance to charge up should their phones, computers or tablets not turn on.
- Make sure your cellphones, computers and Ipads are fully juiced before you reach the security line. You don't want to hold up those behind you, nor do you want to excite any suspicion.
- Be patient if you're flying back into the U.S.A. This additional layer of security will undoubtedly cause delays at security.
I have to believe the T.S.A. has good reason for taking these steps And while I'd hate to have my phone confiscated, if it's between that and a plane being attacked, well, they can take my darn electronics.
UPDATE: The TSA recently expanded this program to airports in the United States. According to their press release, not all passengers will be asked to turn on thier devices, only those pulled aside for additional screening.
(Photo by J.D. Hancock/flickr)