The US and UK governments are stopping passengers from putting electronic devices that are bigger than a smartphone or cell phone in their cabin luggage on flights from certain destinations. The new ban applies to electronics which are larger than 3.7 inches wide, 6.3 inches long and 0.6 inches deep. Such devices include e-readers, tablets, laptops, portable DVD players, cameras, travel printers, Kindles and electronic game units that are larger than a smartphone. The ban represents some of the most strict travel restraints to be implemented since 9/11.
Which Countries Are Affected by the Travel Ban on Electronics?
Reasons Behind the Ban
Citing unspecified threats, the US government officials who had been considering the ban for several weeks before revealing that the decision was made following "evaluated intelligence" concerning ongoing potential threats to airlines bound for the US. The US government is worried that terror groups have implemented new ways of developing bombs that are hard to detect and hiding them inside electronic devices. There are also concerns about explosive devices that are made from materials that are not metallic because most airports in the world lack high-tech screening machines that have the ability to detect such bombs. It is believed that the insurgent groups like the al-Shabaab smuggled an explosive device built in a laptop on a plane out of Mogadishu, Somalia which blew a hole inside of the plane sometime in 2016.
Who is Affected?
The UK ban affects six countries whereas the US ban affects 10 airports in eight countries across the Middle East and North Africa. Specifically, the new ban affects passengers on flights from Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Tunisia. In the UK a total of 14 airlines are affected including British Airways, Monarch, Jet 2, Thompson, EasyJet, and Thompson Cook. Other affected carriers include Egyptair, Royal Jordanian, Saudia Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Turkish Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Tunis Air and Atlas Global Airlines. Airports affected by the US ban on large electronics include Dubai International in the UAE, King Khalid International in Riyadh Saudi Arabia, Hamid International in Doha, Qatar, Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, Abu Dhabi International in the UAE, Mohammed V International in Casablanca Morocco, King Abdulaziz International airport in Saudi Arabia, Cairo International Airport in Egypt, Kuwait International Airport, and Queen Alia International in Amman, Jordan.
Critics of the newly implemented ban argue that it will decrease passenger comfort which will ultimately reduce the number of passenger flying with the affected airlines. Most people who work on their laptops while on the flight will not be able to have that opportunity which is a significant disadvantage. Many activists and journalism worry that they would have to part ways with not only their personal but most likely sensitive data stored on their devices thus putting such information into unknown hands. Issues such as theft of such devices remain a concern to many passengers. Many of the affected airports are among the world's busiest.
Limitations to the ban
The ban aims to maintain security measures without making it impossible to fly, but there are a few limitations. One of the issues raised was what makes it safer for the devices to be stored in the cargo area of the plane while a perpetrator can use a phone to detonate the device. Passengers can also take connecting flights from other unaffected areas before boarding a plane bound for either the US or the UK thus complicating the logistics behind the ban.