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Explainer: 'Uncharged' or broken electronic devices banned from flights

New rules on flights mean passengers could face having electronic devices taken from them if they are broken or not charged, and may even be forced to re-book their flights.

While the confiscation warnings thus far only appear to apply to flights to the United States, the government has updated its guidance to recommend that all passengers flying in or out to the UK ensure their devices are charged before they travel.

Mobile phones are among the devices included in the new rules. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The following is a brief rundown of the key aspects of the new rules:

Why have these changes been put in place?

The US Transportation Security Administration first announced plans to impose the new rules on Sunday.

Although it did not state a reason, it is believed to be the result of concern from US officials over the ability to use such devices as bombs.

The move follows heightened concern about the increased capability of al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and Syria.

Which devices are affected by the new rules?

All electronic devices will be affected by the rules, including:

  • Mobile phones
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • e-Readers
  • Portable music players
  • Gaming devices

What will happen if my phone is found to be broken or uncharged?

At present, this appears to depend on your destination and which airline you are flying with.

The government's general guidance states that any phones that cannot be switched on will not be allowed on the aircraft.

Virgin Airlines and British Airways now both say they will post devices that do not meet the criteria to any address in order to allow the passenger to fly as scheduled.

BA says passengers who wish to carry the item as hand luggage will also be able to re-book to a later service.

In which airports have the new rules been put in place?

While the Department for Transport refuses to state at which airports the rules will apply, it is understood that the additional checks have already been put in place at Heathrow - the UK's busiest and largest airport.

It will also apply from a range of international airports outside Britain, so check before you fly.

Where will the checks be carried out?

The additional checks will be carried out at the gate by airline staff - just before passengers are due to board and after the usual airport security procedures.

What if I have a connecting flight through the UK?

Advice from British Airways urges passengers to use their devices sparingly if they know they will have to change flights on their way to the United States.

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