Tech Tuesday – Airline Security and You!

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) – If you ever fly for business or pleasure, you know how stringent the rules can be bringing electronics through security and using them on the plane. Tech Tuesday has all the info you need to make your next flight much smoother!
The following information is from our tech expert David Powell, to help you know how to plan.

We have all been in the security line at the airport and dealt with the “do I take this out of my bag or leave it in”.  Once we finally get on the place, we are told to turn off all of devices, even though we are sitting on the tarmac for 30 minutes waiting for takeoff.  There is talk that the rules may change, let’s explore.

*   So, let’s answer this once and for all…do I have to take out my iPad at security screening?  The official answer is “no”.  But, the real answer is “it depends”.  Technically, you only have to remove a laptop from your bag, unless you have one of the TSA approved bags.  iPads are not considered personal computers, so you can leave them in your bag.  However, while TSA agents all go through the same training, some of them may misinterpret the rule and ask you to take out your iPad.  If they do, remove it, don’t argue.  Also, if you have tons of other small electronics in your bag and the iPad is blocking the scan of those items, they may ask you to remove it.  The rule, as always, is to comply with instructions.  But, you can leave it in unless you are told to take it out.

*   That has to be hard for the TSA to keep up with?  Yes, you make a good point.  Think about a Macbook Air.  It is essentially an iPad with a keyboard on it running a different operating system.  When these laws came out a few years ago, there wasn’t anything like that.  The line between a laptop, a tablet and what they call an “ultraportable”, is really small.  The original intent was to keep a device with tons of wires and stuff from hiding something dangerous.  Now, size isn’t the real distinguishing factor.

*   What about once you are on the plane?  The rule, right now, is that you have to turn off your device when they close the door and you can’t turn on approved electronic devices till you pass through 10,000 feet.  The same rule applies on descent.  The science on whether a phone makes an impact is pretty questionable.  In fact, they just changed the rules for pilots to allow them to use iPads for flight tracking and logs.  If the pilot can have an iPad, it doesn’t make sense that the guy in 17B needs to turn his off.  An advisory group is expected to recommend to the FAA that they allow “gate to gate” usage of electronic devices so passengers can keep up with family and stay in touch.  I know that I have ignored the rule to tell family that my flight is delayed and I’m sitting on the runway awaiting take-off.

*   Do people really turn off their phones now?  Good question.  One report suggests that 30% of passengers leave their phones on because they forget.  Also, the idea to “turn them off” is really because they don’t trust people to turn them into airplane mode.  So, it is a rule that was put in place long before texting, Twitter and Facebook.  Now, they really need to rethink it and make it more consumer friendly and it sounds like the FAA may be headed that way.




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