Last week, the implementation of new airport security measures were announced. Unsurprisingly, this was greeted with a huge collective groan from tens of thousands of people who are due to fly out on holiday this summer. After all, getting through security screening is already a hassle, without new airport security enhancements such as this being added. So, how are these new rules likely to affect you?
Who announced the New Airport Security Measures ?
The new measures were first announced by Secretary Johnson of the United States Department of Homeland Defence on the 2nd of July. In a brief statement, he wrote that enhanced security measures would be introduced at certain (he didn't name which) overseas airports that had direct flights with the United States. On July 6th, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration of the United States), issued a further statement, clarifying what those measures were. At this stage, the phrase was still “certain overseas airports”.
As of writing this, no definitive list of airports has been produced, although the UK, France and Germany have all said that they will comply. It's safe to say that most international hubs will also follow suit, meaning that we might as well all get used to it.
What are the New Airport Security Measures ?
The TSA's statement reads as follows – “As the traveling public knows, all electronic devices are screened by security officers. During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveller may also undergo additional screening.”
I don't know about you, but at the end of a holiday, or a weekend abroad, my phone battery is as dead as a dodo! The possibility of having it taken off me is a bit irritating to say the least!
How Will the New Airport Security Measures Affect You ?
It's all in the wording. Because the statement mentioned that airports with direct flights to the USA would have to implement these new airport security measures, it pretty much means most major international airports. So, for example, if you are flying out from England to Spain for your holiday, but using an airport that also has flights to the US, you will still be affected. Theoretically, if you are using a provincial airport that is home to only budget airlines that dart around Europe and never fly to the US, you won't be affected. I wouldn't bank on it though. Forewarned is forearmed, and you know what you might expect.
Now, as I write this, there are thousands of passengers saying that they have not been asked to switch on any devices at all. That may very well be the case, but the new measures say they don't want everyone to switch on their devices. They only say that the devices must power up if you are asked to do so. Keep that in mind.
How to Prepare for the New Airport Security Measures
Common sense would suggest that you might need to get to the airport a little bit earlier than normal. If security decide that they want to switch on everyone's devices, substantial delays could occur. Taking myself as an example, I travel with a phone, Kindle, MP3 player and tablet computer. That's a good five minutes there switching all that on to show that they have power. Multiply that by everyone else in the queue, and that's not good news!
The other thing that I would suggest, is to make sure you take a travel charger and power adapter for your devices. This might not be something that you normally do, but is a habit to start getting into. It might also be an idea to take a power bank such as the TeckNet® POWER BANK 15000mAh USB External Battery Backup Pack Black. This way, you can always power up your devices, even in an emergency.
It does make you wonder where security measures like these will lead to. Devices such as smartphones have become so commonplace, that it seems almost unimaginable that we will not be allowed to travel with them at all on a plane. This may very well be the first step in that direction though. We must wait and see what the future will hold.