Charged devices and air travel

We have learned in the last few days that passengers boarding US-bound flights from Heathrow and Manchester (and presumably other airports) will have to show that their electronic devices are charged before being allowed to board. This policy sounds simple and possibly even sensible, but it has the potential of causing serious problems to ‘power users’ who may have spent several hours before their flights working, with the result that their device(s) may be low on power by then.

For example, these days I travel with a smartphone and either a tablet or laptop. The tablet (a Nexus 7) has an impressive battery life, but the phone and laptop do not! My phone, a Samsung Galaxy S3,  typically only lasts 8 hours or so between charges, so I carry a spare battery and an external charger. Supposing I have a 12:00 flight from Heathrow to the US, my phone will have been in use for at least 5 hours prior to departure. When the battery gets low I either change it or plug in the charger, but neither of these activities are particularly compatible with going through immigration! And quite what the reaction would be if I opened up my phone to change the battery on a flight does not bear thinking about! So I am very concerned about these developments,  which will no doubt be rolled out to all flights and destinations soon. It will make things difficult for those of us who need to use our electronic devices before, during and after travelling. We’ll see how it affects my next trip.

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