The United States’ Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has just been given a bit more leeway to inconvenience passengers on direct flights to the US – all in the name of security, of course. On July 2, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson put out a directive that the TSA should enhance security at certain overseas airports with flights that enter the US directly, specifically with airport checks for gadgets.
Frequent flyers will know that all electronic devices are screened by airport authorities. Now there is an additional directive where either TSA personnel or airport authorities may ask random passengers to turn on their smartphones or tablets (if powered off). If the device does not turn on, TSA personnel have the prerogative not to let the device on the plane. Consequently, the owner of the device may have to undergo more questioning.
As you can see, the potential for delays in travel here is very obvious. Not only will one have to leave behind a non-powering phone or table, the directive also gives the TSA authority to hold up your schedule if they think there is anything in your general demeanor that they have reason to question. That would most likely be another 2 to 4 hours spent in questioning that we would really rather do without, right?
In their defense, the TSA’s priority is safety and not really our travel schedules. Non-powering devices might be bombs or bomb triggers. Then again, a passenger might just have run out of juice while waiting for boarding at the airport. The safest and most efficient way to do this is to make sure all your devices are charged before you go to the airport. And if you use your phone or tablet in the airport, make sure you leave enough juice for the checkpoint. Airports should probably provide ample charging areas, right? And, multi-port USB charger, anyone?