Want to Take an iPhone, iPod touch, or Any Gadget on a Flight Into the US? Here's What You Need to Know!


In the wake of the latest act of terrorism attempted on a US airplane, the TSA has enacted what appear to be deliberately unpredictable new security measures that seem to include a complete ban on the use of electronics like the iPhone or iPod touch, and even the use of the bathroom for the last hour of any plane trip in-bound to the US.

"Seem" is the operative word, as there looks to still be a lot of confusion as to how, when, and where the new policies are being implemented. We could joke about all this making by old publishing to keep books relevant, or the train and automobile industry to stop the skies being so friendly, but missed flights and connections, mass confusion and sustained minor panic aren't too terribly funny. Likewise we'll side step the whole "eternal vigilance" vs. "deserve neither" debate.

The current policies seem to be effective until Jan. 1, 2010, and then we'll see what happens next. With gadget-lovers coming into the US for CES in just over a week, and with no doubt plenty of Americans with return flights planned from the Vancouver Olympics (and countless other places) thereafter, let's hope everything stays safe and and secure while returning as quickly as possible to functionality.

Meanwhile, Gizmodo has the TSA memo which basically lays out that if you don't run your own country, get in line way early and be prepared for anything. You'll likely get patted down once or twice. Your carry-on baggage may be restricted to one item and will be visually inspected. You'll likely not be able to use any electronics or go to the bathroom for the last hour of the flight. The in-flight entertainment system may be completely shut down, or may just not show live location information or news. Everyone is going to be tired, frustrated, and on edge.

[Much of this via PCMag's @saschasegan who's doing a great job passing along information via Twitter]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Want to Take an iPhone, iPod touch, or Any Gadget on a Flight Into the US? Here's What You Need to Know!


Fantastic! I have to travel from FLA to TX Wednesday morning and now because of an a**hole I'm now going to have to get up even earlier to get through the now heightened airport security which was complete BS to begin with or the guy wouldn't have gotten on the plane with firecrackers to begin with.

My mistake then. The CNN app said he lit firecrackers. Either way its more proof that airport security is BS if he could get a bomb on board.

"in bound" to the US. This tells me that this is just for international flights into the US. Not domestic flights that begin and end in the US. So Mike S. You can still potty!

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
Another knee-jerk security measure. One of the only things that makes long flights bearable is a mp3 player and noise canceling headphones, especially an iPhone/ iTouch. I'll gladly take the "risk" to fly peacefully.

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Assume that they know more than there telling! The last thing the Gov wants right now is more panic! Stuff like this creats millions of more $$ of economic burden, right now they would love to just write it off as one wack job from Africa but they must be privy to info we don't know.