Official: U.S. BANS Most Carry-On Electronics on Flights from 10 Airports in the Middle East & Africa

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Etihad Airlines Airplane Stock

Electronics Carry-On Ban

As of about an hour ago, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a directive banning electronics larger than a cell phone from being carried on flights to the U.S. from 10 airports located in 8 countries in the Middle East & Africa.

The affected airports are:

  • Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) – Amman, Jordan
  • Cairo International Airport (CAI) – Cairo, Egypt
  • Ataturk International Airport (IST) – Istanbul, Turkey
  • King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED) – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • King Khalid International Airport (RUH) – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait International Airport (KWI) – Kuwait City, Kuwait
  • Mohammed V Airport (CMN) – Casablanca, Morocco
  • Hamad International Airport (DOH) – Doha, Qatar
  • Dubai International Airport (DXB) – Dubai, UAE
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) – Abu Dhabi, UAE

The Department of Homeland Security has stated that this ban is airport specific and not airline specific. With that said, no U.S. carriers fly directly from any of these airports to the U.S. Affected airlines have 96 hours to comply with this new directive or risk having their ability to fly to the U.S. revoked. After the 96 hour period, the directive will be in place indefinitely.

The airlines that are affected by this ban are:

  • EgyptAir
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • Saudia
  • Turkish Airlines

If you are flying any of the above airlines from one of the above airports to the U.S., then you will be required to check any electronic device above the size of a cell phone.

This includes:

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • E-Readers
  • Cameras
  • Portable DVD players
  • Electronic game units larger than a smartphone
  • Travel printers/scanners

Analysis

There are definitely a couple of questions that arise with this ban. First, it has been conventional wisdom for some time that lithium ion batteries stored in the cargo hold are a fire risk. This directive is basically putting everyone’s larger devices including many with those types of batteries down below.

Second, three airlines mentioned above really stand out. The Middle East 3 (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar) will no doubt be heavily affected by this ban. Flights between their hubs and the U.S. are very long and one wonders if many travelers will book away from these airlines so they can ensure their electronic devices will be allowed on board as a carry-on. Given the complaints of U.S. based airlines about the ME3, this is an interesting coincidence. 

Conclusion

I am not going to second guess what the government obviously feels is a threat, but this doesn’t seem like the most effective policy or at least there are still some questions that perhaps will be answered with time. Thankfully fliers originating in the U.S. on those airlines can carry-on electronics, so this will only make half of the journey long and tedious!

What do you think? Does this electronics ban make sense? Is the U.S. government targeting the ME3 or is this just a coincidence?

HT: The Points Guy


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14 COMMENTS

  1. I think the Qatari and Emirati Emirs who thought they would subsidize their way to stealing an industry away from a sleeping giant are going to learn what it means when they awaken the sleeping giant. This is the U.S.’s way of saying…oh, we noticed and we no likey. Expect an announcement from the Emirates in the next 12 months about how they are scaling back airline subsidies.

      • Qatar and UAE are subsidizing their airlines to the tune of $50 billion so that they can have nicer planes and charge less than the US carriers as a way to eventually put the US carriers out of business and steal the airline industry essentially. It is a violation of free trade agreements because a privately funded company can never compete with a government that has taxing authority and can afford to lose money forever. It is a common occurrence for other countries to use subsidies to try to siphon American industry…ie. China and solar panels, auto parts etc.

        What the US is supposed to do when this happens, is punish the offenders so they knock it off with tariffs or subsidies of their own to level the playing field, but we have been asleep at the wheel. Now that Trump is in power and in tune with trade issues he is starting to show these middle east carriers what he thinks of their Treaty violations by making life harder for them as a first shot across their bow and I think they will get the message and stop the subsidies before Trump goes all out with tariffs or more punitive measures.

  2. Rob you truly are an uneducated cognitively challenged idiot. Honestly words fail me. You shouldn’t be allowed outside.

    • That’s completely uncalled for. At least Ninja was kind enough to ask me “what da hell” I am talking about before just lashing out. My apologies for being so unclear. I didn’t realize words like Qatari and Emirati were so confusing to so many. That is what you call people from those countries by the way, but 2 people were confused…so clearly it’s my bad for assuming anyone would know that.

  3. A couple of questions…

    1. How is the US going to enforce this? Air Marshals don’t fly on non-US carriers (I don’t think) so how will the US know if airlines are actively enforcing this? Secret Shoppers on randomly-selected flights looking for pax with laptops out?

    2. How will the airlines enforce this? It’s pretty easy to keep a laptop or iPad in your carryon and just lie to the gate staff. And are they really going to turn a plane around post-takeoff if someone whips out a laptop? Doubtful.

    3. If they’re worried about laptops/tablets being used as disguises for explosives, the ability to remotely detonate is not new (or complex) technology. Putting it in the belly of the plane is hardly going to have an impact.

    While I think Rob could maybe have phrased his quasi-bigotry a bit better, I don’t necessarily disagree that this is some veiled attempt at both Islamophobia and anti-ME3 rhetoric.

    • Theoretically what you said could happen. Based on my recent experience in AUH the agents check the carry on and laptop bags at the gate as well. If this directive is in place I assume the scrutiny will be more effective. AFAIK you cannot deny them checking your bags. Putting the ban itself is very unnecessary in my opinion. If so these scrutinies are very much possible. The irony is ME3 hires contract workers from other countries (non US non ME3) to do these checks at the gate. That would be very funny!

    • Veiled attempt at Islamophobia???? Lololol A man shows a little bit of healthy American competitive spirit and now he’s an Islamophobe? Are you also going to call him an Italiaphobe when he tells you he doesn’t like pizza? And what if he did use anti-ME3 rhetoric? What problem do you have with it?

    • enforcement? how would it be any different from enforcing liquids or knives or snakes on a plane? many check points before you actually get on the plane with your boarding pass.

  4. i sense a strong business opportunity here. i mean cmon, no laptops for international F? you gotta be kidding me. i guess if you fly in the apartments, youre too busy having fun but still…

    so maybe security cleared loaner laptops? loaner batteries? or a HUGE surge in smart phone to laptop conversion docks with larger screen? hmm…

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