Home Travel The Easiest Way To Get Your Electronics Confiscated At An Airport

The Easiest Way To Get Your Electronics Confiscated At An Airport

by SharonKurheg

When you’re at a public airport, it’s pretty much well known that you’re in a building that’s under federal jurisdiction. That means you don’t get to make the rules. And if you break them, and/or not do as you’re told by those in charge, well, you may wind up like this woman.

Every country has its own rules about electronics when you’re going through whatever they’ve established as their security checkpoint. For example, in the U.S., all electronics have to be put in a bin as you go through the security checkpoint (unless you have TSA PreCheck and then they can stay in your bag – unless they tell you otherwise because reasons).

But did you know that TSA officers, and their cohorts in other countries, have the right to ask you to turn on electronics? And if you can’t, they have every right to take away your phone, computer, iPad, or whatever it is that can’t be turned on?

In the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and other countries, checking electronics was a big deal in the summer of 2014, when there was a perceived threat of al-Qaeda producing a bomb hidden on a laptop, cellphone, etc. Asking travelers to power up computers or phones let screeners make sure that explosives hadn’t been substituted for batteries or essential components.

The Dept. of Home Security even made an official statement about it:

Release Date:
July 2, 2014

For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
Contact: 202-282-8010

DHS continually assesses the global threat environment and reevaluates the measures we take to promote aviation security. As part of this ongoing process, I have directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible. We are sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies and are consulting the aviation industry. These communications are an important part of our commitment to providing our security partners with situational awareness about the current environment and protecting the traveling public. Aviation security includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by an evolving environment. As always, we will continue to adjust security measures to promote aviation security without unnecessary disruptions to the traveling public.

Happily, nothing became of it.

Unhappily, a government representative at an airport can (and will) still ask you to turn your electronics on, to make sure they’re not a bomb. It doesn’t happen very often in the U.S. at this time. But places like the Middle East? Yup.

So the bottom line is, make sure all of your electronics have a charge when you’re flying. Even if it’s just a domestic flight, you never know when you may be asked to turn on your phone, laptop, etc. And if you can’t, simply because of a dead battery, you may not be able to bring that piece of equipment onto the plane.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

Kurt February 21, 2022 - 6:24 pm

“You’re in a building that’s under federal jurisdiction. That means you don’t get to make the rules” Yes and no… if you’re a US citizen you get to vote for your congresspeople, who do have influence over the laws that are passed and how federal agencies conduct their business.


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