[author: Ronda A. Leduc]
This alert is provided to all clients intending to travel on international flights, particularly over the summer period. This warning applies to all business and personal related travel, effective immediately.
U.S. Security Measures
On Wednesday, July 2, 2014, Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson directed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to implement enhanced security measures at selected but undisclosed gateway airports with direct flights to the United States. The intensified screening measures apply to overseas passengers carrying electronic devices onto U.S.-bound flights. Passengers who wish to bring cell phones and other electronic devices onto aircraft will be asked to power on those devices, and uncharged devices will not be permitted onboard planes.
While the TSA has offered few specifics on the reasons behind the intensified screening, security analysts have suggested the new rules may be in response to a specific threat involving a cellphone, tablet or other electronic device being used to hide an explosive. At this time, the new security measures apply only to U.S.-bound international flights. However, Secretary Johnson has stated that he wouldn't rule out the possibility that the security procedure might be expanded to U.S. domestic flights as well.
UK Security Measures
The United Kingdom's Department for Transport (DfT) also stepped up its aviation security measures directed at electronic devices. Under the new procedures, airline passengers entering and leaving the UK on potentially any route – not just those to and from the U.S. – may now also be required to show that electronic devices in their carry-on luggage can be powered up or face not being allowed to bring the device onto the aircraft.
The additional security measures apply to anything with a battery, including mobile phones, laptops, MP3 players, e-readers, game consoles, electric shavers, travel irons, hairdryers, hair-straighteners and cameras or any other camera equipment.
Travelers carrying uncharged devices will not be allowed onto their flight, and will be forced to forfeit or rebook. Alternatively, they may be able to charge their device at the airport, mail their device or leave it at the airport.
Although no statements have been issued regarding increased time for the security checks, travelers should be prepared for potential delays and plan to arrive early to avoid missed flights. We strongly recommend that all businesses circulate this alert to their staff to ensure that business or personal travel is as seamless as possible.