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Business Travel Industry Sees More Questions Than Answers in Middle Eastern Flight Computer Ban

March 23, 2017 Business News No Comments Email Email

The latest round of security restrictions on flights out of the Middle East sparked  inquiries from global business travel managers to the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, as companies representing thousands of business travelers, raised issues of their own.

“Without any explanation, the United States government  banned major electronic devices that constitute the basic tools of business travel from the cabins of flights from select airports in the Middle East. Now the United Kingdom has followed suit and Canada is reported to be giving the issue serious consideration,”  said ACTE Executive Director Greeley Koch. “But the restrictions make no sense. Assuming there is a new terrorist technology, there is nothing to stop someone from carry one of the these devices to Amsterdam, and then boarding a flight to the US or the UK.”

Koch asked, “Does the Department of Homeland Security know about a threat so great that it can’t be shared with the business travel industry? Or are these latest restrictions about to resonate as the new norm the world over? Speculation rivals uncertainty for bad news in the travel industry. Answers are needed now.”

Koch remarked that technology is transferrable. “How long will it be before this ban is extended to flights from Paris and Brussels into the UK and US?” No one is going to willingly check their computers or tablets, which often host the most detailed and proprietary corporate information, in the cargo hold of an airliner.

The restrictions require laptops, tablets, and kindles to be carried in checked baggage.

Koch pointed out that many business travelers do not check baggage at all. “The first rule in business travel is not to be separated from anything essential to the success of your trip. And the most important component is your laptop or tablet. Travellers who do not check baggage normally, will now have to check their laptops, tablets, and e-readers on the affected flights. Baggage goes missing every day. Can you imagine the consequences of losing a week’s, or a month’s work, plus your confidential corporate data to a luggage theft?” Koch said.

Koch also mentioned that cost has no place in a conversation about security, but extra checked baggage will certainly add something to the price of travel.

“Travellers want the best security,” said Koch. “But without further explanation, these new restrictions will do nothing but breed further skepticism in government’s perception of business travel. They want security that is less reactionary and based more on eliminating potential threats before they evolve. And they want an explanation.”

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