WASHINGTON—The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is only restricting liquids and gels on all flights originating in the United States, a spokesperson told eWEEK Aug. 10. But that doesnt mean you can take electronic devices on all flights as carry-on luggage.
As a result of the change in the terrorist threat level to Code Red, or Severe, on flights to the United States from the United Kingdom, significant restrictions exist on those flights, including, in some cases, elimination of all electronics of any kind from carry-on luggage.
In a statement released early in the morning on Aug. 10, British Airways said it will not allow electronics of any kind in carry-on luggage on its flights. This includes, according to the statement, iPods, laptop computers, cell phones, BlackBerrys, and even electronic car keys and key fobs.
eWEEK has also been told by several sources that screeners at some airports in the United States are similarly restricting electronics. However, a spokesperson at the TSA has not been able to confirm this. U.S. airlines contacted by eWEEK, including United Air Lines, American Airlines and Continental Airlines, say that they are not placing any such restrictions on domestic flights, but said they are following the lead of transportation officials elsewhere.
For those traveling by airplane, here is a list of suggestions eWEEK has accumulated from the people and sources contacted so far:
- Check with the TSA.gov Web site for the latest travel rules.
- Check with your airline, especially if youre traveling internationally.
- You can take your laptop, BlackBerry, cell phone and iPod on domestic flights, but be prepared for some creative interpretations of rules until individual security screeners get their instructions.
- Be prepared to check all of your electronics, including your laptop, if youre traveling on an international flight. You can buy cases for this if you plan ahead.
- If you carry specialized electronics or electronics test equipment, plan to FedEx them so they meet you at your destination.
- Be prepared for chaos at the airport, and for unpleasant meetings, as millions of travelers are forced to dump their deodorant, toothpaste, shaving cream and makeup at the airport screening stations.
Officials from the Department of Homeland Security said Aug. 10 that these restrictions will almost certainly last until after Sept. 11. However, everyone contacted by eWEEK said these circumstances are certain to change quickly, so check with your airline and TSA frequently so that there will be no surprises at the airport.