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:
- Etihad Airways
- Kuwait Airways
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Air Maroc
- Royal Jordanian Airlines
- 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.
- Portable DVD players
- Electronic game units larger than a smartphone
- Travel printers/scanners
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.
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