Airport retailers selling mobile accessories could see panic buying as travellers seek to ensure their devices are powered up for US flights following a new rule.
The US has banned uncharged mobiles or laptops on US-bound flights, meaning that if a device doesn't switch on, the passenger won't be able to bring it on board any aircraft departing from the UK to the US. This new measure from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is part of a drive for stricter security measures and increased scrutiny at certain airports.
Travellers will be asked to turn on electronic devices at checkpoints to confirm they are what they seem and not a security risk.
Jason Fernyhough, Head of Distribution at mobile accessories distributor Accessory Lab, believes this creates a strong sales opportunities for airport retailers.
He told PCR: "Most people board planes with enough charge in their devices for a few hours at most as, more often than not, devices are typically switched off during flights. However, with this new security drive, I envisage more charging stations appearing at airports, rather like the paid for Wi-Fi hotspots. Cafes and public areas hosting charging stations will no doubt benefit from additional revenue.
"I imagine that airport retailers selling mobile accessories will see panic buying as travellers need powered up devices during their whole journey.
"In the short term, airport infrastructure will take a while to set up the charging booths. Once in place, however, passengers will certainly complain against the high-cost of powering up, and potentially about the lack of charging space availability in the busiest airports.
"Chargers and powerpacks, rather like passports and visas, will become a travel essential and we predict a boom in portable charger sales – both before travellers get to the airport and for the airport retailers themselves."
Fernyhough added: "The opportunity for retailers is immense, with thousands of people flying to the US each year from Europe alone. Now that all US bound flights across Europe, Africa and the Middle East are subject to this new security measure, we anticipate a sharp increase in the sale of portable chargers, power banks and other charging devices that travellers can take in their hand luggage, including products from our Olixar range.
"The keys considerations for travellers will be speed of charge, charging capacity, size of charger, durability and compatibility, which is useful for multiple devices. Retailers will benefit from extending any range of charging devices to meet these considerations, so that no one misses their flight to the US."
Image source: Shutterstock (Man waiting for his flight in the international airport and calling on phone)