New airport security rules: What are your rights?

New airport security rules: What are your rights?

I've lost track how many times I've bought a 1.5 litre bottle of water in the Boots concession at Heathrow only to remember as I amble away from the till—customarily about three nanoseconds later—that I can't take it through security. Usually, I end up standing outside the departure gate, bottle upended, trying to imbibe the full contents of it like some sad and desperate human camel. I usually fail.

It is clear that keeping up with airport security restrictions can be a challenging task. Things have got even more complicated since 2 July when enhanced security measures on electronic gadgets were announced by the US Department of Homeland Security.

These new rules apply to airports that have direct flights to the United States. The UK Government's guidance sums it up as follows:

Flying to the US: make sure your electronic devices are charged before you travel. If your device doesn’t switch on, you won’t be allowed to bring it onto the aircraft

Simple enough, but where does this leave you from a legal point of view if you look at your new iPhone or Galaxy smart phone; realise that it isn't charged; and the security operative demands that you hand it over?

Can I claim for the cost of the gadget under the airline's terms and conditions of carriage?

Unlikely. It would certainly be an uphill battle.

Let's take British Airways' General Conditions of Carriage as an example.

In particular, these state, at clause 7a:

We may decide to refuse to carry you or your baggage if one or more of the following has happened or we reasonably believe may happen.

7a1) If carrying you or your baggage may put the safety of the aircraft or the safety or health of any person in the aircraft in danger.

7a6) If you have refused to allow a security check to be carried out on you or your baggage.

7a7) If you have not obeyed the instructions

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