Travel

Your cell phone can now be confiscated at airport security

Having a low cell phone battery at the airport is bad enough; outlet hogs are just one of the awful people getting on a plane. But now you'll have to worry about your battery being charged for a different reason -- because if your phone doesn't turn on, the Department of Homeland Security will confiscate it.

According to a DHS statement announcing the change last week, passengers flying on non-stop routes to the US from select airports abroad may be asked to "power up some devices, including cell phones", adding that "powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft". 

In particular, officials are targeting Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices, according to Reuters. So, you know, only the two most popular phones out there.

The order came from DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, who confirmed he "directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States". According to Secretary Johnson's statement, the DHS is liaising with "foreign allies" and airlines, and "will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible". 

The reinforced security checks reportedly come in response to an alleged terrorist threat, the details of which are unknown, as well as intelligence that suggests bombs involving cell phones and shoes are being made by terrorists in Yemen and Syria.

Thus far, overseas airport to officially comply with this new rule are London's Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport, while British Airways passengers will also have their powerless electronics denied. According to the BBC, the UK, Germany, and France have said they will meet the requirement.

To avoid getting booted off your flight, carry a charger wherever you go -- and maybe rethink that second game of Candy Crush on the way to the airport.


Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. Yes, that's a British accent. No, she doesn't watch Doctor Who. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.