We love gadgets. But now, if you are travelling to the USA from Heathrow or Manchester (and other long haul airport hubs around the world) with electronic gadgets you will be required to switch them on at airport security or face having them confiscated. Any gadgets that cannot power up on their own will not be permitted on board and you may also be subject to additional security screening.
These security directives to all US and international air carriers with inbound flights to the US, have been implemented by The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) because of intelligence that suggests Jihadist bomb makers are now capable of adapting such devices and may be trying to use them to commit further atrocities.
What if it won’t power up?
British Airways has warned that if you fail to turn on an electronic device when asked you will be immediately banned from their US flight and have to reschedule, even if you offer to abandon the item or send it on separately. The same applies to new devices bought in airport lounges after passing through security and devices that have gone flat on the first leg of a journey – unless it can be recharged first. Other airlines may not be so harsh and may allow you to fly without your device but the message is quite clear: power up and you'll be fine. So, pack your chargers along with your gadgets, make sure there's enough juice to power up at security and don't try to travel with battery powered gadgets with dead cells that have to be plugged in to work. It's very simple.
What about your travel insurance?
What if the device has to be abandoned at the airport and is lost, damaged or doesn’t turn up at the other end if it gets sent on separately? Would it then be covered by your travel insurance if your policy includes gadget cover? The simple answer is no. You wouldn’t be covered if the carrier refuses to let you travel with your gadget. This is because it is similar to the standard exclusion on all travel policies which states that you are not covered for ‘any claim due to your carrier’s refusal to allow you to travel for whatever reason’. Another standard exclusion says there is no cover for ‘delay, confiscation, detention, requisition, damage, destruction or any prohibitive regulations by Customs or other government officials or authorities of any country.’
Of course this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take out gadget insurance for your trip – just in case your laptop of smart phone gets confiscated. If you are taking a gadget with you – and our recent survey suggests that most travellers do – then the smart thing to do is to arrange cover for all your electronic devices.
Making sure you are fit to fly.
Basically, it is your responsibility to make sure you – and your luggage – are in a fit state to travel. It’s just one more thing to think of – like putting your cosmetics in a clear bag and ditching the nail scissors – but it’s worth it. If it means giving your phone a charge before you go, so be it. It might be a hassle now but it’ll be safer for all of us.