BA and Virgin: Electronics are still allowed on US bound flights

Travellers to the US from the UK will experience new security measures in the coming weeks, following the attempted terrorist attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on a trans-Atlantic flight to Detroit on Christmas day in the US.

However, both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic has confirmed to Pocket-lint that travellers to the US from the UK will still be able to take electronic equipment such as laptops, DVD players and games consoles on their flight as usual.

Some American tech sites are currently claiming that no electronics are allowed on flights to the US from the UK, a ruling that has been supposedly enforced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the US.

However, customer representatives from both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways told Pocket-lint that the standard hand luggage rules are still in place.

"The United States government has revised its security arrangements for all customers travelling into the US. Please be aware that due to these revised security arrangements for all customers departing on a flight from Heathrow, Gatwick or London City to the US only one item of hand luggage is allowed. They are advised to check-in as normal. Customers travelling to other destinations outside the United States are not affected", British Airways said in a statement on its website.

A follow up call confirmed the statement and additional security measures:

"There is a 100% secondary check at boarding gate, you won't be able to get out of your seat for the last 1 hour before arrival in the US, and you'll only be allowed one item of hand baggage", a representative for BA told us. "There is nothing about electronics in the documentation we have been sent so far".

A customer representative from Virgin Atlantic told Pocket-lint on the phone that there was no change to the company's hand baggage rules.

The TSA, who is yet to offer an official statement, has so far only said: "Passengers flying from international locations to U.S destinations may notice additional security measures in place. These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same thing everywhere. Due to the busy holiday travel season, both domestic and international travelers should allot extra time for check-in".

Neither United, Continental or American Airlines are stating anything on their websites about electronic devices on flights, suggesting the rumour could be unfounded.

We will keep you posted.

 

UPDATE: The TSA has now issued new guidelines which follow dieections already stated above. Of those relevant to the story the TSA has the following to say: "During flight, passengers will be asked to follow flight crew instructions, such as stowing personal items, turning off electronic equipment and remaining seated during certain portions of the flight."


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