Yesterday, vague news of a large electronics ban in carry-on luggage did the rounds on news websites, and today broader details of the US ban have come to light.
The US Department of Homeland Security confirmed it has instigated a new “temporary” ban on personal electronics larger than mobile phones for flights out of 10 airports into the US, and on non-stop flights to America on nine airlines.
These nine airlines happen to include some of the biggest airlines in the world, with the likes of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways just a few included in the ban.
A similar ban has popped up in the UK as well banning electronics in the cabin of flights from six countries, however the British ban covers domestic airlines.
So the ban applies if…
– You’re flying to the US from Istanbul, Turkey; Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; Doha, Qatar; Amman, Jordan; Cairo, Egypt; Casablanca, Morocco; Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City, Kuwait
– You’re flying non-stop to the U.S. on one of these nine airlines: EgyptAir; Emirates; Etihad Airways; Kuwait Airways; Qatar Airways; Royal Air Maroc; Royal Jordanian; Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines); Turkish Airlines.
How does it affect Aussie travellers?
For WA passengers flying out of Perth Airport and connecting to US flights via the Middle East will now be required to pack their large electronics for the whole journey, given they can’t access their baggage while in transit.
An Emirates spokesperson told Travel Weekly, “Emirates can confirm that…electronic devices larger than a cell phone/smart phone, excluding medical devices, cannot be carried in the cabin of the aircraft.
“The directive comes into effect on 25 March 2017 and is valid until 14 October 2017. It is applicable to all US-bound passengers from Dubai International Airport, whether originating or transiting through.
“Emirates requests that all passengers travelling to the US pack all electronic devices larger than a cell phone/smart phone in their checked-in baggage.”
Meanwhile, an Etihad Airways’ spokesperson told Travel Weekly, “Etihad Airways has been advised that guests travelling to the United States from Abu Dhabi International Airport are not permitted to carry electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone in the cabin.
“Mobile phones and medical devices are permitted but larger items such as laptops, tablets, cameras and e-readers will need to be placed into checked-in baggage. For those guests bound for the U.S., this must be done at the point of origin which may not necessarily be at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The new rules come into effect for those US-bound flights departing Abu Dhabi on 25th March.”
The ban went into effect at 3am ET on Tuesday (March 21) morning, though the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said airlines would be given a 96-hour window to come into compliance.
US authorities have thus far been quiet on the media front, providing no comments on the ban, but speculation suggests the move has come from a specific threat to the US, and could even be linked to the laptop bomb that detonated on Dubai-based carrier Daallo as it departed the Somali capital of Mogadishu in February, 2016.
The only death was the alleged bomber, but the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab later claimed responsibility.