How to do it

Birth certificates and batteries: the new airport security rules

Ah, airport security. I sometimes wonder if it makes the holiday feel just that bit better once you’ve struggled through all the checks to get there.

But just as it looked like the rules on liquids were going to relax a bit – no more tasting baby bottles, thanks to some clever new scanning equipment – along come some new ones.


Because passengers heading to the US (and possibly elsewhere) are now being warned to keep their gadgets charged, from phones and tablets to laptops, or they might lose them at security.

It’s all to prove that they really are what they seem to be. And the quickest way to check, is to turn them on. The problem, of course, is what happens if you’ve used up your battery during the flight. Or packed your charger in your hand luggage, for example.

For now, both airports and airlines are scrambling to come up with solutions as the new measures don’t look like they’re about to disappear any time soon. Both Heathrow and Gatwick say they’ll be reviewing the number of electrical sockets they have if demand increases.

And BA and Virgin Atlantic are promising limited numbers of chargers at gates for passengers to use, while Dixons is also offering to charge devices for free if you’re flying to the US. And if you can’t get it charged in time, both airlines are offering to post your gadgets to you for free.

The advice has already changed so far this week, and there are far more airlines which might be affected, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the news. And, I’d suggest, packing a portable charger as back-up…

If you’re heading to South Africa, it might not be your phone’s charge that’s under scrutiny but your child. From October 1, 2014, parents travelling with kids into or out of South Africa may be asked to show the child’s full birth certificate – and if you’re travelling without the other parent, you’ll need to prove you have their consent, such as a signed affidavit or a court order.

For adults travelling with kids who aren’t their children, there are extra restrictions – check the FCO site for details


Image: Adam Cohn/Flickr