Canada: Air travelers should put electronic gear in checked baggage

TSA FAQ In New Air Travel Security Measures

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has recommended that air travelers pack electronic items including laptop computers, cell phones, music players and BlackBerry pagers in their checked baggage for flights in the foreseeable future.

CATSA made this recommendation as part of increased air travel security measures following news of a plot by United Kingdom-based terrorists to blow up as many as 12 aircrafts with liquid explosives ignited by batteries in electronic equipment such as cell phones.

A CATSA spokeswoman emphasized that the agency has not banned electronic devices from carry-on luggage and travelers may still bring them onboard a flight if they consider them essential.

The U.K. Department for Transport has severely limited carry-on items to wallets, travel documents, prescription medications, and baby food, breast milk or formula, which must be tasted by the passenger at a security checkpoint. These items must be carried in clear plastic bags.

All other items, including electronic devices must be placed in checked baggage, the department told travelers.

In the United States, the Transportation Security Administration said it will still allow travelers to carry onboard electronic equipment such as laptops, cell phones and pagers. The TSA has banned all liquids and gels from carry-on luggage including contact lens solution, however, it will allow liquids for infants but only after they have been taste-tested by an adult passenger.

The Air Force said the Air Mobility Command has imposed similar restrictions on liquids and gels in carry-on luggage on all AMC charter flights.

Michelle Mosmeyer, a spokeswoman for Dell Federal, said the company suggests that travelers who must check their laptops should make sure their equipment is completely shut down before putting it in the luggage. She said batteries should be removed from the laptop, and travelers should then wrap the battery and computer separately in soft clothing.

“You want to provide as much shock resistance as possible,” Mosmeyer said.

Dell has suggested its employees limit their air travel in the near future, Mosmeyer said. A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, which manages operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, said Centcom has heavily restricted all nonessential international travel. He added that such travel to meet operational needs is still permitted.

The Defense Department has not introduced any blanket guidance restricting international travel, a DOD spokesman said, but added that the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) has told its staff to carefully monitor air travel advisories in the U.K.

Spokesmen for the Army, Navy and Air Force said their services have not imposed any limitations on international travel.

EUCOM told its staff to be watchful of suspicious activity and to monitor the Web sites of the Homeland Security and State departments for threat warnings and other advisories.

The U.S. Pacific Command has not imposed any international travel restrictions, a spokesman said.

Josh Rogin contributed to this article.

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