UK officials follow US counterparts by banning electronics that have no charge from boarding flights


The UK government's Department of Transport has now joined with the U.S. in requiring that passengers on some international flights coming in and out of the country must show that their electronic devices can be powered up, in an effort to improve security.

The new notice from the department stated:

In line with the US advice, passengers on some routes into and out of the UK may now also be required to show that electronic devices in their hand luggage are powered up or face not being allowed to bring the device onto the aircraft. Passengers flying into or out of the UK are therefore advised to make sure electronic devices being carried in their hand luggage are charged before they travel.

The department won't be revealing publicly just which airline routes will be affected by this new rule. It added that it will be working with airlines to "to minimise disruption as far as possible." This addition comes after some concerns have been raised about a possible threat to blow up an airliner by terrorist groups.

What do you think of this new trend in airline security and will it make you charge up your cell phone or tablet before you board an international flight?

Source: UK Department for Transport


Reader comments

UK officials follow US counterparts by banning electronics that have no charge from boarding flights


2 Years ago it was a total no go to have a phone switched on now this. they are jokes and surely the UK is again knee deep up the arse of the US

They'll never get it. Ignorance is strength, freedom is slavery, war is peace. It's just something to make people feel like their safe.

Wake the @%#& up people. You will never be safe

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To prove you have a real device, instead of an empty shell used to smuggle something in through the gate.

How is this even showing that this isnt a dead device behind a turned on screen? please explain me. DO i also have to show them the camera is working and that it has a memory for pictures? And why do they xray it in the first place when they cant make out what they xray there

Except you have to go through X-Ray scanners and metal detectors before you get that far. Your pockets have to be empty, you can't wear any belts...heck, sometimes you can't even wear any shoes to go through those metal detectors.

Also, if you take a bag with you, your laptop/tablet have to be removed from the bag to be separately scanned already.

Except a small psp, phone, or camcorder can be xrayes and you still wouldn't be able to tell the difference of whthere those tubes inside are liquids or batteries, wires or ropes, a knife or just a metal housing....

Some shoes have metal strips in the soles, I have to wear composite lined and protected shoes for work.

The xray, if you've ever seen one of a bag is a total mash of things, the security agents go through a lot of training to operate the xray scanners so they don't wave through the wrong things, and anyway taking laptops out of luggage has been done for ages to make it easier to distinguish their insides, but now its total avoidance of doubt to have any large electrical items turned on.

As for belts, you can mask knives in the buckles, another security risk.

If you don't want to be safe that fine, but for my 325 passengers flying to Dalaman, Vegas, Calgary or Tenerife, they'll get there in one piece, not a light dusting over the Atlantic/Med/Red. I'd rather be safe than sorry.

All these efforts to protect flights while terrorists can just as well bomb a gas station and kill more people. Don't know why everybody is so damn paranoid about flying.

This rule is stupid. Yes it prevents a shell of a phone being packed with explosives, but you could put the same size or larger bomb in a laptop and still have it turn on. This implies to me that they can't detect the difference between C4 and battery material. Great!

C4 is PLASTIC explosive, what's in a Samesung or any other scamdroid or even half the Lumia's. The batteries are just a solid mass, as would be a block of C4.
Careless thoughts cost lives.

I never forgot that, nor the other numerous plane hijacks. But there are other terrorist attacks as well. Never saw anyone even checking my ID on a train while there were train bombings in Madrid and Mumbai. I was only questioning the asymmetry in security.

The train example is always fantastic! potententially 500 passangers or so moving at 200mph and I could happily walk on with a box full of fertilizer and nobody would question me.

Phone don't power up, but had battery and innards in it to look like a cell phone, but actually is a explosive device. What do you think would happen with a small charge placed on the inside of a fuselage of a pressurized plant flying say at 35,000 feet? It isn't pretty.

I still don't think it would be very hard to make a dummy phone look like a working device. If they are checking millions of passangers a day surely they will not be too thorough

My brother travelled to the US on Monday, he said that only a handful of people are selected to have checks. They are pulled out of the queue when they go to board and taken to a separate room. It delayed his flight by 20mins but i imagine this wont happen with practice etc

Nothing like Hollywood portrays. Aircraft are designed to withstand such things and allow for safe landings. If you don't believe me feel free to check the internet.

What's odd about this new requirement is that it isn't really new. I memember many flights years ago where I had to turn on my phone at the security checkpoint. To my surprise all they ever cared about was that the screen lit up, which I suspect is the same as now.

Same here, I remember doing this in Europe years ago, boot up the laptop to show it works. Seems sensible to me as they probably have intelligence to suggest this is a favored method.

Nobody has a Windows Phone so they gonna think it's a bomb anyway! I can just hear the announcement now "we got a code red in terminal 64b, male carrying telecommunications device that isn't running KitKat, iOS7 or L, fire at will"

the freedom of you deciding to have your phone charged or not. the freedom of you to decide if you want your phone to be switched on or off.. and that is just the stuff you you are sure about for this purpose. I bet they use this as a further step of mining everyones data. just like "accessing back accounts Europe of the inter european flight information the US are reading. .. just a little bit of extra security. in case we have those mass bombings again like all those other years in europe

Adrian: Don't be an idiot. If we had all the freedom you want likely we'd all be dead. Without tiles chaos ensues BC you can't trust your neighbor to care about you. Added precaution doesn't hurt you unless you're trying to smuggle something on a plane. Are you?

Well reading all your communication channels isnt going to hurt you unless you are trying to do something illegal.. it is just a little bit added precaution - right?

Just don't bitch when your phone is taken because it died. I've run my phone out due to cancelled flights.

Mobile emissions is a threat to fuel on airplanes not terrorism. Without network, I don't think there is room for connection between other devices.

Some airlines have their own network system for mobiles and they have security over it, that's sounds better to me.

You can always count on Britain to follow any moronic decisions taken by the US.

As if airports weren't a bad experience already since the 9/11, soon we'll have to go to the airport 3 hours earlier just to go through every single paranoid control.


Oh and after all these useless controls...don't forget to give me a steal fork and knife in the plane so I can have my meal. Or a glass bottle of champagne or perfume in the duty free.

proceeds to go on garbage tirade on airline security, neglects to inform himself what this procedure seeks to protect against

This procedure is just paranoid. Might as well prohibit people from bringing any luggage at all since everything can be used for terrorist purposes.

I don't give in to the US-induced paranoia used to justify every single violation of ones privacy or illegal invasion of sovereign nations. Sorry.

And stopping Steve and Laura bringing a suitcase for 2 weeks in Ibiza is really gonna make people happy.
The sad thing is if we all binned off the states then most other countries like the UK wouldn't be a target.
If we stuffed the American and gulf flights into one terminal and inconvenience those people then most people flying around Europe, Asia and domestically in the UK wouldn't notice anything.

I'm ashamed, not feeling foolish. The goal of terrorism in general is to cause people to change their way of living and live in fear. Which is exactly what's happening.

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Is a good idea, but they may say when you charge it now it could blow up :) and if the phone is charged and its turned on can it be setup to trigger it later... i have seen charging stations in airport in Asia not so much in USA..

 Also what happens to people carrying phones where the charge last long enough or carry a spare battery oh but new design is internal battery so now what ?


I'm going to need someone to explain to me why this is a problem. Who goes to the airport with a dead battery? I always make sure my phone is fully charged before I leave for the airport.

Especially when a lot of nicer flights across the world allow use on the airplane through wifi seems like if you have a phone it would be charged..... Seems pointless to be carrying one around

I don't get the concern expressed by people... How inconvenient is it to charge your phone before you go through security?? I don't believe it's asking too much to prove one's electronic device is a functioning electronic device and not a disguised bomb... Really people!!!

Does it matter what's next if it will make air travel safer? Honestly... You're asked to turn on your device to prove it's a functioning device and not a disguised bomb...you have to be pretty selfish to want to resist such a measure.

Exactly. And the UK/Europe has experienced some form of terrorism; unless you read a substantial amount of intelligence/defense information then this would seem absurd but the threat is real. I am no right wing hawk but given the realities of global terrorism. However. The TSA/UK security should team up with airports for free charger ports if this is required.

well doesnt make sense with the "which airlines they will check" ... they will check at will because the security procedures is not airline dependend. the tickets are checked earlier and no check is at the security checkpoint. just like saying we check people at will and pick out all the arabs for "quote" checking

Smartphone batteries are crap, if your on a long haul flight or connecting then wtf do you do if the battery dies on you?  Crazy - all to scare people and control people so that they dont complain when even more of thier privacy is stripped away.

Doesn't matter. You only have to pass through security one time...and that's at the beginning of your trip. You don't have to go through again unless you leave the airport.

Or, maybe not. As mentioned in a few places - it has been suggested that battery compartments could be packed with explosives and the 'passenger'/terrorist pleads ignorance that his device is just off/dead. By forcing devices to switch on then it reduces this risk. As a flight dispatcher for a number of airlines, minimising risk and making every flight safer is our target - be it reducing mis loading events (in the UK no bag can travel unattached - passenger not onboard then bag is offloaded), accounting weights more accurately or denying some beard(terrorist or hipster, who knows) the chance to ruin my departure then its worth it.
Come crying to me about privacy when its your arse blown off in Syria's latest plot.
And for clarity, I have to pass the same and sometime stronger checks than any passenger - lunches can get boring when soups, stews, curries and other sloppy dishes are banned.

I hear you, but you miss the point.  Security is nothing but an emotional blanket that wraps people up and gives the perception of 'safety'.  From a pshychological perspective this works, in reality though it does not.  Where are you right now?  how many people are around you? how many have a mobile, maybe someone leaves thier mobile packed full of explosives on thier desk at work, whats the solution to that?  MAybe someone leaves theri trainers packed in a gym locker, whats the solution to that? maybe someone posts something though your letterbox, whats the solution to that?  The authorities HAVE to be seen to be doing something to make people 'feel' secure, in the real world of reality, theres hardly no sucj thing.  Only love, respect and tolerance works.

I do love my 'emotional blanket' as I have to arrive at work 20 minutes before I start my shift. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that it doesnt serve a purpose but to psychologically stop me bringing real cutlery to have food with, a bottle of water to drink (that didn't cost £7) and crew from bringing Hummus to nibble on between trolley services. Security is real, its not perfect but god they are trying!

I'm at home, theres nobody around but I do have 3 mobiles. Someone trying to cause a nuisance in an office or gym isn't proving much, transport is key to a world stage. Its about managing the situation, Aviation and Shipping will always be big targets as they guarantee a voice. Hitting a gym might catch 30-40 people, an office/tower 10-200, but a plane can get almost 600 people with not much at all. Its a pressurised tube and the walls are fragile, Boeing's latest cockup the 787 is a testament to that - it can't be touched by airbridges or stairs as it will crack.

The easiest thing to say is if you don't like it, then don't fly - get the bus next time.

Funny thing though is that all this doesn't do anything in eliminating risk... I fly very often and to be frank, the best place to hit as many people as possible is not a plane, it is the airport security line...

Agree, yes it is compact and dangerous.  The only way to be safe 100% on a plane i think would be to have separate flights, one for people, one for luggage and for all passengers to be completely naked and to be xray themselves.  Slowly, little by little our freedoms and right to privacy is being eroded all under the name of 'security'. 

The NSA and thier ubiquitous surveilance has been proven to not stopped a single act of terrorism yet they have/are eating up our freedoms everywhere.   What has changed with this announcement other than making people 'eye up' other people carrying mobiles and judging them.  It in itself creates fear and they use that to grab yet more freedom and privacy.


If governements want to save lives then they need to invest in technology that stops road accidents, how many people in a year die from plane accidents due to terrorism?  Its still the safest way to travel.  Some argue its safe beacuse of these measures, Thats something i disagree with.

The is no 100% safe and there will never be... I also don't believe that flying is safe because of the increased security measures, because it was safe before. Looking at he history of commercial air travel and the amount of people transported. even 9/11 was only a "small" dent in the statistics... granted it was a massive event, but it is statistically insignificant in regards to air travel safety...

I also believe that after 9/11 we went collectively into a panic mode and have not recovered since. Everything we do is driven my fear and we accept far too many limits to our freedom. But it is what is is...

My grandfather always told me "scared to death is just another way of dying" and I guess he had a point...

The rate of terrorist acts could easily have gone up after 9/11 without increased security measures. Someone might think, "Hey, that's a good idea!"

"The NSA and thier ubiquitous surveilance has been proven to not stopped a single act of terrorism" citation please. You don't know what is being prevented. I've personally seen guns confiscated multiple times at security checkpoints. Who knows what those people planned to do with them.

This was actually the conclusion of a congressional report on the NSA... they harvest massive amounts of data, but in reality have little to no effective way of dealing with and analyzing all that data... the NSA data collection really doesn't do anything to prevent terrorism. The report was done, since the NSA didn't provide any warning for the Boston bombing. And as it turned out, our IC was being warned by Russia about those guys and dropped the ball. If you believe we are any safer now than before 9/11 you are living an illusion. We are being watched more... that I give you....

You've stated it in your source but in the article wrong... In the UK we take direction on transport security from the Department For Transport. Stay sharp guys!

Don't the so-called 'experts' realise a device that turns on could just as easily be as bomb as a device that won't power up? Don't they realise that lithium batteries can also explode?

Aaaand if you bring a new samsung S5 device, they detected it "explosive phone" (just smash the battery on airplane and boom boom boom)

Is it just me or does that tell anyone else that they seem to think that using x-ray to look INTO the device (which they do today) is not safe enough? I find that either very concerning or just a stunt to show that they are doing something... not that it has to make sense though....

As a frequent flyer I find it nothing more than creating an illusion of safety. Just looks at a major airport on Monday morning (Since I fly in and out of Atlanta a lot, let's just take that one). If I were to want to hit as many people as possible, the place for that is not a plane. You could not possibly cram as many people in a plane as you can together at the minimum space at the most dangerous place of any airport: The airport security line...