If you’re flying into the United States be prepared to have all of your devices charged and ready to go due to enhanced security measures made for flights heading to the U.S.

As of July 19, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began requiring additional enhanced screening at all foreign airports with flights into the U.S.. This includes the screening of personal electronics that are larger than a smartphone, i.e. a tablet or laptop, meaning that if you are randomly selected for additional screening, it will now include your electronic devices.

According to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), if selected passengers will be asked to remove any covers or protective cases from their electronic devices before inspection, and then may be asked to show that they can be powered up. CATSA suggests that passengers should make sure their cases can be easily removed and make sure that devices are charged and could be powered up before travelling to the airport.

CATSA is clear that if a device cannot be powered on our taken out of a case, that device will not be permitted beyond the screen checkpoint.

WestJet and Air Canada told the Toronto Star that if passengers are flying before 10 AM, they should arrive at the airport three hours prior to departure, and if after 10 AM, two hours in advance. However, CATSA told CTV News that it did not notice a change in security line times.

The enhanced security changes comes a month after the DHS announced that ‘in light of evaluated intelligence’ it will be implementing enhanced security measures for every single commercial flight into the country. The U.S. government agency said on its website that, “terrorist groups continue to target passenger aircraft, and we have seen a ‘spider web’ of threats to commercial aviation as terrorists pursue new attack methods.”

For those worried about privacy, don’t expect to hand over passwords in enhanced screening. The reason behind asking passengers to power on their device(s) is simply to prove that it is in fact a working laptop or tablet.

The full list of enhanced measures is as follows:

  • Enhanced overall passenger screening.
  • Heightened screening of personal electronic devices.
  • Increased security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas.
  • The use of advanced technology, expanded canine screening, and the establishment of additional pre-clearing locations.
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