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US ban on carry-on electronics hits glaring problems

March 22, 2017 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

The US Government has banned passengers on nonstop US-bound flights from certain international airports from bringing laptops, iPads, DVD players, electronic games or  cameras aboard in cabin baggage.

Passengers will have to check in any device bigger than a smartphone. The ban affects nine airlines, including Emirates and Etihad.

It applies to nonstop flights to the US from 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The 10 airports are:  Cairo, Egypt; Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Istanbul, Turkey; Doha, Qatar; Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; and Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The nine airlines that operate direct flights to the US from those airports are Egyptair, Emirates, Etihad, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines.

The carry-on ban, a security measure, faces two big problems. The first is that electronic items have batteries. These batteries occasionally catch fire, and fires are easier to deal with in a cabin than in the hold. Some laptops require the user to take the device to a service centre to remove or replace the battery.

The other problem is that thefts from hold baggage soar when high-value electronic gear is carried in suitcases, as Britain found when it tried a similar ban in 2006.

Royal Jordanian’s tweet (since deleted) reported the ban on Monday

The US electronics ban, reported by numerous news outlets and acknowledged by airlines early this week, was confirmed yesterday.

The ban was revealed by Royal Jordanian Airlines a couple of days ago and the official news agency of Saudi Arabia, ABC News reported. Royal Jordanian issued a tweet confirming the ban (see above) – only to then delete the tweet.

No American carriers will be affected by the ban because none of them fly to the US from the airports named.

Some observers may interpret the ban as striking at Middle Eastern carriers, which are involved in a long-running dispute with big US airlines over allegations of state subsidies.

The ban follows two executive orders by US President Donald Trump to impose a temporary freeze on travel to the US by citizens of several majority-Muslim countries. The bans have been placed on hold by US federal judges, amid much confusion.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. AgentGerko says:

    Ah, it’s Concorde all over again. If you can’t beat ’em, ban ’em. The US carriers have lost much of the prime business market so ban the execs from having their laptops on board and force them back on to the US carriers. Strong arm tactics. But the questions must be asked. Will the electronics ban apply to the pacemakers in many of the US carriers elderly stewards?

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