PSA: The TSA now requires proof of powered-on devices before boarding some flights



As stressful as it already is measuring out liquids and baby formula for an upcoming flight, you’ll now want to make sure your smartphone or tablet is full juiced before hitting the airport. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced over the weekend that some flights coming into the US could be subject to additional smartphone or device security screening (outside of the normal x-ray scan), meaning the device will need to be powered on to ensure it’s safe for travel.

Apparently this could have something to do with the possibility of explosive devices being hidden inside popular electronic devices like smartphones or tablets. While this could be a huge inconvenience for anyone playing their favorite game on a flight, only to realize they’ve exhausted their battery supply — it’s all in the name of safety.

Unsurprisingly, the TSA didn’t offer any further details, like specifically which flights from where would be subject to the additional screening. If you thought dumping that expensive bottle of shampoo was painful enough, how about being forced to leave behind your shiny new Galaxy S5 because it wouldn’t power on?


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Samsung’s new commercial just became more relevant. (About iOS users hanging around electrical outlets at the airport)

    1. They’re ahead of the curve on this one with Apple AirPort.

  2. With you Chromebook it should be quick.

  3. So, al Qaeda has people that are smart enough to build bombs but not smart enough to boot up a minimal Android UI?

    1. No, the TSA has people smart enough to realize you could build a phone-shaped bomb, but not smart enough to realize that it’s trivial to boot up a minimal Android UI. (Also, not smart enough to realize how small of an explosion it would even be.)

      TSA can kiss my ass.

  4. They should have charging ports right there where they do the checks if they want to check something like that.

  5. Guess I’m missing the flight.

  6. I don’t get why it’s only incoming international flights. I guess they trust themselves here, but not international security. I’ve been checked much more incoming to the States than any other trips.

  7. Guess this is where both great battery life and a removable battery come to play at an advantage. The S5 (or other phones with replaceable battery) don’t seem like such a bad choice anymore if this will become the norm!

  8. I feel like this was a thing a while ago (5-10 years ago?) and then it faded away. I used to have my laptop ON before going through security

    1. Yup. I remember being asked to power on my laptop a few years ago, prior to my having a tablet, so doesn’t sound out of the ordinary to me. As for battery power, I always have a trusty back-up battery charger or an extra battery with me, so that won’t every be a concern.

  9. “it’s all in the name of safety”

    Fail. If this ever happens with my Surface Pro I will raise hell.

  10. What happens when it explodes?

  11. And when was the last time a “terrorist” actually attacked us.

    1. Could be today.

    2. Taking over a plane is no longer an option. Were I a terrorist, I’d just detonate a bomb where hundreds of stupid Americans are shoelessly waiting in line to get through airport security.

      The TSA has created a great new target.

      1. This isn’t new(s).

  12. Think that’s tough, take a flight into Tel Aviv. Last time I did we had to power on each device and then make it do something meaningful like open apps, etc, to show that it wasn’t just a dumb screen. Then, the device was powered off and sealed in a plastic bag that couldn’t be opened until we were airborne. And that wasn’t just for electronic devices, same rule for electric razors, etc.

  13. I worked for the TSA for a number of years and for every stupid rule that they had there was some sort of logic behind it. Remember when they banned liquids? It’s because someone had tried using liquid explosives. Take off your shoes? Someone tried a shoe bomb. I can’t tell you the number of times we’d have people come through with the weirdest BS in their bags, like wires running all around it that was connected to potatoes. Harmless, sure but in an X-Ray it looks like an explosive build. IMO, they were testing us to see what they could and couldn’t get away with. You’d think I was racist if I told you what kind of guys we’d usually catch doing that too.

    So when I hear something like this, as stupid as it sounds, I cant help but think they have a reason for it and remember, it says “flights coming INTO the US”. Not domestic. Not flights going out of the US. There’s definitely a specific reason for it.

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