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Are you prepared for an expanded electronics ban?

May 22, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Any blanket ban on in-flight laptops would have a serious impact on business travel, according to a major international business travel group.

The Association for Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), headquartered in Virginia, USA and comprised of executive-level members in more than 100 countries, asked a group of buyers on Friday the question posed in the headline.

“The responses I received are telling,” ACTE executive director Greeley Koch said when he saw the results.

“One buyer said, yes, she’s already coordinating with the IT department and others to develop travel policies that protect company assets, both physical and intellectual property. One buyer said they will just leverage video conferencing.

“The reaction of other buyers was the look one gets when they just realised they hadn’t turned in their homework assignment on time, and would have to explain to their parents why they failed the class. We’ve all been there and had that look.”

Koch noted that the US Department of Homeland Security is reviewing plans to extend its laptop ban to all US-bound flights from Europe, with the additional possibility of further expanding the ban in the months to come.

While US and European negotiators are looking at a ban on transatlantic routes, the possibility of a wider ban, including Australia and potentially worldwide, is under consideration. See: Spectre of total laptop ban refuses to vanish

Koch’s view: “We believe economies around the world, including the US, are set up to lose – big time.”

ACTE has been vocal in its response to an extended ban.

“This ban will severely hamper travel to the US and elsewhere, and it hits us where it hurts the most: lost productivity for businesses and major disruptions to the airline, hotel and ground transportation industries,” Koch said.

“The lost revenues from tourism are also significant and cannot be ignored.

“But as before, the ban continues to leave numerous questions up in the air. Couldn’t would-be terrorists circumvent the policy by travelling through Asia or other non-EU member countries, creating the need for a global ban? Will other countries follow suit and further cripple the travel industry?

“Business travellers want and need to be productive, and few will be willing to check their laptops. Businesses will also have to invest in alternative solutions to help their employees access laptops and other devices at their destinations.

“If there’s one upside, it’s that this ban might create opportunities for busy travellers to rest. But entertainment options on flights are limited, and for some airlines, dwindling. The ban also affects tablets, the most viable alternative to laptops for entertainment and work alike. This is no silver lining.

“We urge governments to revisit this ban to ease the burden businesses are now facing. We should be instead investing in policies and security screening techniques that take a comprehensive look at the threats facing travelers instead of focusing on such a small piece of the puzzle.

“Please don’t have that look if and when an extended ban in announced. Get ready now.”

Edited by Peter Needham

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