LONDON - Passengers flying to the United States with British Airways will not be allowed to board the plane if their phone or laptop has run out of battery, the airline has warned. The announcement by the carrier late Monday was prompted by new U.S. requirements - enforced by the U.K. and France - that passengers must be able to turn on their devices to prove they're not hollowed out and packed with explosives. British Airways said the extra checks were at departure gates, immediately prior to boarding, and passengers carrying "dead" devices would be forced to re-book on a later flight.
The policy could be a particular headache for U.S.-bound connecting passengers who may have not have access to a power source for many hours. A British Airways spokesman was unable to clarify if passengers would be allowed to board the plane if they chose to leave their device behind. U.S. officials last week asked airports handling U.S.-bound flights to tighten security amid fears al-Qaeda-linked terror groups might conceal a bomb within a fake smartphone or laptop. Virgin Atlantic warned customers they would not be able to travel with unpowered devices but did not say passengers would be required to re-book on other flights. American Airlines, which operates transatlantic flights in a joint venture with British Airways, declined to comment.
- Alexander Smith
First published July 8 2014, 3:47 AM