Last updateThu, 17 Jul 2014 8pm

Mexico exempted from new US air travel rules

As yet, Mexico has not been included on the list of nations that are being asked not to allow cellphones and computers that cannot be powered up on to flights bound for the United States.

The directive from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) affects flights only from Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

According to news sources in the United States, the TSA has concerns that terrorists in Yemen and Syria with ties to al-Qaeda have figured out how to turn cellphones into undetectable bombs.

A press release from the TSA Sunday said: “All electronic devices are screened by security officers. During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening.”

Travelers are advised to keep their chargers or mobile battery packs in their carry-on bag or risk having their devices confiscated.

Some reports suggested that specific smartphones, including Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, would receive extra scrutiny. The TSA did not say how confiscated devices might be recovered.