UK Joins Electronics Ban From Select Middle East / North African Destinations, Canada Considering

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The UK Government has announced it will join the U.S. in imposing security regulations on a dozen of destinations in the Middle East and North Africa, effectively banning laptops and large electronic devices.

Meanwhile the U.S. Government has reached out to Canada where officials are presently deliberating whether to join in on this action and in what form.

The UK Electronics ban differs from the U.S. version in some aspects as it doesn’t include some countries like Qatar but a range of additional airlines including flag carrier British Airways.

You can access out article from yesterday with details of the U.S. ban here.

You can access a current BBC article here with more details about the new regulations.

The British government has announced a cabin baggage ban on laptops on direct passenger flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

The ban, which also applies to tablets and DVD players, follows a similar US move affecting eight countries.

Downing Street said it followed talks on air security and was “necessary, effective and proportionate”.

US officials said bombs could be hidden in a series of devices.

The ban applies to any device larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide or 1.5cm deep. It includes smart phones, but most fall inside these limits.

The British Government seems a bit more transparent about this measure including clear communications and instructions.

The UK regulation however has deeper implications not only for overseas carriers but also for UK based airlines. Passengers on the following airlines can expect to be affected by the UK ban:

Six UK carriers:

  • British Airways
  • EasyJet
  • Jet2.com
  • Monarch
  • Thomas Cook
  • Thomson

Eight overseas carriers:

  • Turkish Airlines
  • Pegasus Airways
  • Atlas-Global Airlines
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Egyptair
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Tunis Air
  • Saudia

Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia are popular tourism destinations for British holidaymakers (at least until now) and henceforth the number of British citizens and carriers affected by this new rule is much higher than those of the U.S. counterparts.

The BBC article goes on:

Asked why the US ban differed from the UK, Theresa May’s spokesman said: “We have each taken our own decisions.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We understand the frustration that these measures may cause and we are working with the aviation industry to minimise any impact.” …

The editor of Aviation Security International, Philip Baum, told the BBC that “encouraging people to check laptops, and other such items, into the luggage hold simply makes the challenge of screening even harder”.

That’s an understatement as security at these airports is likely going to be a complete mess. As mentioned before connecting passengers are affected by this as well even though I really don’t see how it’s going to be possible for airlines to enforce that passengers lets say from Asia check in all their electronics when continuing to the UK or US vs those going to other destinations are allowed to keep them.

Personally if I had a transfer at one of these airports I would most definitely keep my laptop and check it in once reaching my connection airport, especially if there is a long layover involved.

Meanwhile The Globe And Mail (access here) reported that Canada is also considering steps and the government is presently deliberating about the measures.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau says Canada is evaluating intelligence passed on by the United States to determine if it should require passengers travelling from some Middle East  countries to pack all large electronic devices other than mobiles in their checked baggage.

U.S. Homeland Secretary John Kelly spoke by telephone Tuesday with the Trudeau government to explain why the Trump administration has ruled that only cellphones and smartphones will be allowed in the passenger cabin of U.S. bound flights into the U.S. from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries.

Mr. Garneau would not say what type of security threat the Americans are concerned about.  Nor would he give a specific time line but said Canada will “act expeditiously.”

I guess everyone can see that this doesn’t mean any good news coming from Canada either.

Conclusion

Just when you thought that after the underwear bomber, liquid bans and other stringent security measures it couldn’t get any worse they come up with this nonsense and there is no other way to describe this measure.

At some point it’s just too much, you can’t exclude every single item where explosives could possibly be hidden and with the right substance it makes zero difference about quantity and container.

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  • Holiday_Hero

    Its not security. Its protectionism. Reducing on board revenue for middle east airlines inflight WiFi and rendering their technological superiority and investment, useless. Legacy western carriers offer poor competition on a level playing field.

    • Kflik

      the main problem is that many people will not take a flight if they can’t have laptop all time with them. (sometimes this is also corporate rule).

      • Gaijinsan

        I’m certainly in that demographic. I “COULD” do some of my work on my smartphone but certainly not all of it, and the work that I can do on my phone is very inconvenient compared to having a full sized screen and keyboard.

        Fortunately the only airline I’d typically fly into the US or UK which is included in the ban is Turkish, so will just have to avoid them on those trips for the time being. Will certainly continue to use them for trips to other parts of Europe and Africa.

        • Holiday_Hero

          The policy makers have won in that case. 1 less business class pax for ME airlines connecting thru to the east or west.

  • colin

    so when I fly cairo-lhr-mia 3rd May, I need
    CAIRO=>a)chekin my laptop b)possibly mini-ipad
    LHR => c)either check paptop in suitcase right through CAI->LHR-MIA
    …………. OR exit airside getting suitcase back to reclaim laptop AND recheck suitcase !

    • Yep. I am flying on May 24 on BA from Cairo to Sao Paulo. I hope that this madness has been resolved by then.

  • superduper

    bomb going off in cargo hold = plane can still survive and land as per somalia incident.

    bomb going off in cabin area= plane can still survive and land as per somalia incident, but people around the bomb will die.

  • Kflik

    Airlines could add free, better, insurance for lost or damaged electronic in checked-in luggage.
    This should include data recovery.
    Also, they could create special “secure luggage service” for electronics.
    Without it many business passengers will use another airline.

    • Gaijinsan

      Agree, this is an absolute necessity if this is going to be implemented successfully. Standard checked baggage service is not sufficient in ANY airport in the world. Even if you’re in a country where theft isn’t a concern, rough handling certainly is.

      • Kflik

        I’m glad Emirates is going to do it this way.

        “f you choose, you can also hand devices over at the boarding gate. We
        will then carefully pack your devices in a box which will be delivered
        to the US on the same flight. The box will be delivered at the airport
        in the US. These boxes will have priority and will arrive before checked
        baggage at the other end. There is no charge for this service or for
        additional baggage weight if you’ve already reached your limit.”
        https://www.emirates.com/english/help/faq/4090646/electronics-ban

  • Ramitran

    Seems like a right call considering all the intelligence info. But is normal or SSD-drive included in the ban? If not snipping that off might be able to save your data, else no one with any worthwhile information isn’t able to travel with their computer as it’s very easy to copy your hard-drive (also mic it up etc).

  • Natasha

    Clearly there is something they aren’t telling us. I’d rather be safe and inconvenienced.