Anyone traveling into or out of the United Kingdom will want to make sure their devices are fully charged before getting to the airport. The British Department for Transport recently announced it will follow the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's prohibition on uncharged electronic devices on certain flights.
"Passengers on some routes into and out of the UK may now also be required to show that electronic devices in their hand luggage are powered up or face not being allowed to bring the device onto the aircraft," Britain's transport department said in a written statement. "Passengers flying into or out of the UK are therefore advised to make sure electronic devices being carried in their hand luggage are charged before they travel."
Similar to the TSA, the Department for Transport isn't specifying which airports or routes are affected by the new rules.
The British Government's warning to make sure your devices are charged up is not to be taken lightly. A report in The New York Times on Monday said that the TSA's rules may allow travelers to prove their devices are working by plugging them into a wall socket at the airport. But don't count on such merciful treatment if you're flying through major U.K. hubs like Gatwick or Heathrow.
Despite repeated attempts at clarification, a Department for Transport spokesperson declined to specify whether or not travelers would be allowed to prove they had working devices by plugging them in. Instead, the spokesperson referred us to the public statement advising travelers to make sure their devices are fully charged before boarding.
Bottom line: if you land in London or any other U.K. destination make sure your electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones, or laptops can turn on under battery power. If not, expect to surrender your device to British airport security.
Also keep in mind that anyone traveling via a British airport, but not staying in the U.K., typically has to go through immigration and then get re-screened by airport security. If your feet are going to so much as touch a British airport in the coming months make sure those devices in your hand luggage are charged up.
The good news is many modern airplanes are equipped with power outlets for passengers allowing you to save your battery power while in the air. Check with your airline before flying to see what kind of power your plane might offer or check online with sites like Seat Guru that detail features onboard international flights.
If you are unfortunate enough to end up on a flight with no power outlets, watch your battery life or it could cost you your device when you land. That said, you should still pack an adapter that works in the U.K. just in case you're able to plug in your device and prove that it's working.