Enforced device separation

At the tail end of the trip I described in my last post, I was forced to go through the same airport screening point three times because the staff couldn't clearly discern all the contents of my hand luggage owing to the plethora of gadgets, cables and chargers.Admittedly, it was an unusually large haul -- four phones, one PDA and a camera, plus all the associated connection gubbins -- so I happily complied.

At the tail end of the trip I described in my last post, I was forced to go through the same airport screening point three times because the staff couldn't clearly discern all the contents of my hand luggage owing to the plethora of gadgets, cables and chargers.

Admittedly, it was an unusually large haul -- four phones, one PDA and a camera, plus all the associated connection gubbins -- so I happily complied. However, judging by the events of the past 24 hours, travelling with that many gadgets is going to become completely unsustainable in the near future.

In the wake of the thwarted terrorist attacks out of UK airports involving liquid explosives and detonators carried in hand luggage, passengers flying in the United Kingdom have been forced to check essentially all their hand luggage, including PCs, phones, MP3 players and any other electronic gadgetry.

While it's not clear that such tight regulations will remain in place permanently -- the US and Australia are currently focusing on a ban on taking liquids on board -- it seems quite feasible that for international flights, the volume of equipment that you can acceptably carry will be drastically curtailed, and anything you take on will be inspected and tested.

The biggest impact of such a decision is likely to be felt amongst business travellers, for whom a notebook is more or less a compulsory travelling inclusion.

Even if the PC is still allowed -- the airlines will probably want that otherwise their investments in on-board Internet will be a dud -- liquid bans could be in place much longer, making it rather harder to travel only with carry-on luggage.

In the meantime, my biggest concern would be making sure that my notebook PC was adequately padded for bouncing around on automated luggage handling systems.

Something tells me there'll be a few broken notebooks winging their way round the world right now, and while that's a very small price to pay for secure airspace, it's still a grand nuisance if you're one of the afflicted owners.

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