Yesterday, Royal Jordanian Airlines let it out there they would be instituting a ban on electronics in the cabin of their flights, per a US directive. Apparently, that was released earlier than it was supposed to but it did sent the blogosphere into a tizzy about what this was about. Now, we now more about the new electronics ban on US-bound flights and what it will entail.
New Electronics Ban on US-bound Flights from These 10 Cities
What to Know About the Electronics Ban
So, here is what we know about this new electronics ban.
- The affected airlines have 96 hours to comply with this new rule on US-bound flights from the time the directive was given
- It will affect any electronic device larger than a cellphone
- Medical devices are allowed to be carried on the aircraft
- Any larger electronic device cannot be carried in the cabin but must be checked in as luggage
- This new rule will last indefinitely until “the threat changes” (per the US)
- It does not affect flights from the below airports to other airports and flights that continue on to the US (connections through Europe, for example)
This new rule or directive is apparently based on some knowledge of a terrorist threat and obviously must involve electronic devices. It has been something that had been talked about for a while, terrorist organizations and their attempts to build bombs into such devices, but this is the first such ban put in place by the US.
Here are the airports and cities that will be affected by this new electronics ban:
- Hamad International Airport – Doha, Qatar
- Dubai International Airport – UAE
- Abu Dhabi International Airport – UAE
- Ataturk International Airport – Istanbul, Turkey
- Queen Alia International Airport – Amman, Jordan
- Cairo International Airport – Egypt
- King Abdul Aziz International Airport – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- King Khalid International Airport – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- Mohammed V Airport – Casablanca, Morocco
- Kuwait International Airport – Kuwait
There are no American carriers that fly direct from the US to these airports so the rule affects international carriers. However, it is not a ban on all flights from those carriers to the US. For example, Emirates Airlines (based in Dubai) flies non-stop from both Milan and Athens to the US and this ban will not impact those flights
What Does This Mean For The Traveler Departing From These Airports?
This will obviously have a huge impact for many travelers, especially business travelers. I know that there is no way I would put my expensive laptop in my checked luggage (forget that I actually never check luggage to the US anyway) and I know that is the case for many others. In fact, for some travelers, they are not supposed to let their devices like tablets or computers be out of their control. Obviously, this will mean they will go for the connecting flight option instead of the direct if checking their electronics is a big deal to them.
I am curious how this will work. Some of these airports have a huge footprint around the world and many passengers pass through the above cities on their way to the US. Those passengers already have security checks at the gate but what happens now if they have an electronic device on their person or in the carryon bag? How will this be handled? Also, what happens now when such expensive electronics are ordered to be put in checked luggage which often has its time of being slung around loosely by baggage handlers?
I am sure we will hear much about those above issues in the coming days as travelers begin to feel the impact of this new electronics ban. In the meantime, if you have not yet booked your flight, you may want to consider flying with another airline on a connection or waiting to see when this ban is lifted.
I do remember several years ago how Turkish Airlines handled some flights to the US (post-9/11). We had to go from the gate to a bus near the plane to go through our checked luggage with security personnel before the plane would take off. And this happened with all passengers! I do wonder if this type of situation will be employed yet again.
My Perspective on the New Electronics Ban
I know, I am just a blogger so who cares what I think, right? 🙂 And you would be right but I did want to share a couple of things how this impacts my travels as well as what I have noticed.
I was actually just about to book a ticket to the US with Turkish Airlines since their schedule always works best for me. Instead, because I always travel with my laptop and camera, I will be going a different route, utilizing Lufthansa or Austrian flights instead. The schedules are not great for me but it is better than giving up my laptop.
But, I have traveled through Istanbul on Turkish Airlines several times to the US and have always been a bit surprised by the inconsistency of the security checks at the gate. A couple of months ago, when flying to NY, they did their check at the gate and completely ignored my laptop bag with all my electronics! They knew it was there and even asked about it but instead went through my carryon bag. Now, flights to the US are supposed to have passengers show that their laptops work so this is definitely not in accordance with US regulations for these flights. And this was not a random occurrence.
Last fall, I flew Qatar to NY and went through a detailed inspection at the gate. But, other passengers that were standing with me to go through inspections did not have the same level of scrutiny I did even though they had told me they too were connecting and just had carryon bags. So, these searches are not always handled the same way to be sure.
On the flip side, the security at the gates in Germany to the US have always been more consistent, in my experience. So, I would imagine it may be these inconsistencies at some airports that this ban is seeking to address and my guess is these airports will want to resolve this situation as quickly as possible to not have this bring a long-term financial impact to their airlines.
Are you affected in your upcoming flights by this new electronics ban?