In a move discriminating against passengers from countries from the Middle East and North Africa, as well as aimed at passengers from Turkey, the US and the UK have announced a terrorism countermeasure that will ban personal electronic devices larger than a smartphone from cabin flights. Airlines were notified on March 21st at 3:00 a.m. EDTand have 96 hours to comply.
Affected airlines include Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Etihad Airways, Royal Jordanian, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, EgyptAir, Saudi Arabian Airlines, and Emirates, the latest having officially confirmed the news:
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued a directive regarding electronic devices in cabin luggage on US routes from Dubai. As per the directive, except for medical devices, electronic devices which are larger than a cell phone/smart phone cannot be carried in the cabin of the aircraft. This would be effective on 25 March 2017. This 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 smart phone in their checked-in baggage.
According to the ban, which does not affect smartphones, any electronic device larger than 16 cm x 9.3 cm is a security threat. The ban also includes DVD players, cameras, and so on. Medical devices are excepted. You can find a full list of prohibited items on the official site of the US Transportation Security Administration, however, note that the ban is only affecting passengers traveling to and from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Qatar and the following airports:
- Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IATA: IST, ICAO: LTBA)
- Dubai International Airport (IATA: DXB, ICAO: OMDB)
- Queen Alia International Airport (IATA: AMM, ICAO: OJAI)
- Cairo International Airport (IATA: CAI, ICAO: HECA)
- King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA)(IATA: JED, ICAO: OEJN)
- King Khalid International Airport (IATA: RUH, ICAO: OERK)
- Kuwait International Airport (IATA: KWI, ICAO: OKBK)
- Doha International Airport (ICAO: OTBD)
- Mohammed V International Airport (IATA: CMN, ICAO: GMMN)
- Abu Dhabi International Airport (IATA: AUH, ICAO: OMAA)
The move is explained in detail by the US Department of Homeland Security, which says that the move is a security-related decision based on evaluated intelligence:
Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items. […] The enhancement in security will require that all personal electronic devices (PEDs) larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage. These items will no longer be allowed to be carried onto aircraft at 10 select airports where flights are departing for the United States. Approved medical devices may be brought into the cabin after additional screening.
If you want to learn more about the news, #electronicsban is trending on Twitter, and netizens are already voicing their opinions.
— Jon Ostrower (@jonostrower) March 21, 2017