About half of travelers don’t know about new rules on personal electronics that require travelers at foreign airports to prove their devices are real by powering them up, a survey of more than 1,200 American and British travelers by Cheapflights.com reveals. Of those who did know about the new security procedures – recently implemented on non-stop flights to the U.S. at the recommendation of the TSA – only three in four fully understood the new rule. Three in five travelers said they believed the new rule would likely cause “major delays in the travel process.”
Some travelers are already reacting to the new rule by getting to the airport earlier in anticipation of additional screening. “We arrived early,” said cruise expert Linda Allen, who recently flew out of Rome but was not “asked to turn on any of the devices.” Electronics – including accompanying charging cables – were scanned by X-ray, Allen says.
The additional screening “creates the potential for chaos,” according to Cheapflights.com editor Melisse Hinkle. “While traveler safety is, of course, paramount, so too is managing the roll out of new rule and striking an effective balancing act between passenger security and passenger sanity,” she says in an email announcing the result of the survey.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have announced the rules on their websites, and both airlines have added “limited numbers of chargers at gates for passengers to use before attempting to board,” the Telegraph reported Friday. But lack of information remains the rule at most airports and from airlines – not to mention from the TSA, which recommended the additional screening but has not publicly announced what might happen to devices whose batteries are dead.
Just another reason to get to the airport early.