US bans electronic devices in cabin on Middle Eastern flights, UK follows

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Middle Eastern Flights / Saudi Arabian Airlines - Turkish Airlines
Photo by ltbaspotter - Bulent Kavakkoru/SpotTR

The US is banning all common electronic devices larger than a smartphone from the cabin 13 African and Middle Eastern flights and airlines.

Devices such as laptops, tablets, iPads, cameras and DVD players can only be put in hold baggage from now on. Medical devices and cellphones are exempted. The ban comes into effect starting 21st March and airlines are expected to comply within 96 hours and will be effective till 14th October.

Flight crew is exempt from this ban and they can continue to carry their favorite electronic device with them in the cabin.

The Guardian reports that the the US Transportation Security Administration, which is responsible for security at US airports, distributed a confidential circular on Monday to airlines from 13 nations operating direct flights to the US.

A report from ABC states that the rule affects only passangers flying directly to and from the US from the following airports :

  • Queen Alia International Airport (Jordan) – Royal Jordanian
  • Cairo International Airport (Egypt) – EgyptAir
  • Ataturk International Airport (Turkey) – Turkish Airlines
  • King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (Saudi Arabia) – Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • King Khalid International Airport (Saudi Arabia) – Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Kuwait International Airport (Kuwait) – Kuwait Airways
  • Mohammed V Airport (Morocco) – Royal Air Maroc
  • Hamad International Airport (Qatar) – Qatar Airways
  • Dubai International Airport (United Arab Emirates) – Emirates Airlines
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport (United Arab Emirates) – Etihad

 All Middle Eastern flights originating from other airports are unaffected by the new US security measure.

The Homeland Security Fact Sheet about this measure can be found here.

Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates Airlines and Etihad will have until Saturday morning to fully adhere to the new rules. DHS is implementing the security measure via an emergency amendment/security directive, which informs airlines of a required result and not how the airlines should be implemented. It is up to the airlines to ensure that said rules are enforced.

If an airline does not comply, the Department of Homeland Security will work with the Federal Aviation Administration to revoke the carrier’s privilege of operating in the US.

UK Follows

UK released a statement Tuesday afternoon announcing that passengers on UK bound Middle Eastern flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia must place any devices larger than a “normal-sized mobile or smartphone” in checked luggage.

The UK’s new rule includes all carriers including its domestic carriers which are British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson.

Anyone flying to/from the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia will have to put electronic devices in their hold baggage from now on.

Source: ABC / DHS

Photo by ltbaspotter - Bulent Kavakkoru/SpotTR