U.K. Set To Further Ease Laptop Restrictions For Certain (Not All) Middle Eastern Flights, Two Turkish Airlines Cleared!

The UK Government has announced a reduction of flights subjected to the infamous laptop ban which has been in place now for a few months.

Following the policy adjustment of the U.S. Government now the UK also allows laptops to be taken on board again from certain, previously restricted destinations/flights and the list could keep growing.

Restricting passengers from taking their laptops on board their flights has lead to great inconvenience for airlines and customers alike. Despite the fact that there is zero extra security for having a potentially harmful device in the baggage hold instead of the passenger cabin, now the parties involved had to deal with damaged and stolen electronics.

The Daily Telegraph (see here) reported that the UK government is set to roll back the ban citing ‘latest intelligence’.

A ban on passengers carrying laptops and iPads in hand luggage on flights to the UK from the Middle East is set to be lifted, The Daily Telegraph understands.

Travellers flying from Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon have been banned from carrying electronic devices larger than a smartphone in cabin bags since March.

The ban was introduced in response to intelligence about terrorists developing bombs that could be hidden in laptops.

However the US, which was the first to ban laptops earlier this year, has eased restrictions on flights from some Middle-Eastern airports in response to enhanced security there.

Now Government sources have told The Telegraph that the UK is considering lifting its own ban following a review of the latest available intelligence. …

I highly doubt this ‘intelligence’ is much different than what was available to the authorities at the same time the laptop ban was originally implemented. This entire theater made zero sense from the beginning.

Manwhile the UK Government did indeed confirm the suspension of the ban on two airlines from Turkey (and only these two): Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines as The Independent (access here) reports.

Airline passengers flying on two Turkish carriers to the UK can now take their electronic devices on board, subject to what the Government calls “tough additional security measures”.

Passengers flying from either of the two Istanbul airports, Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen, or from Izmir, will now be able to carry laptops, tablets and accessories into the cabin to the UK — but only if they are flying on Turkish Airlines or Pegasus. …

All other Turkish airports, including Antalya, Bodrum and Dalaman, are still covered by the ban. No UK airlines have seen the rules eased, including on British Airways flights from Istanbul. …

The UK’s biggest budget airline, easyJet, said it expects the ban to be lifted on its flights shortly. A spokesperson said the airline plans “to lift the security restrictions on PEDs and implement new additional security measures on its flights from Turkey during the course of next week”.

“Once we have a date we will contact customers travelling on these routes to inform them.”

I’d really love to know how the security procedures which are carried out by the airport and not the airline are affecting the policy regarding the laptop ban. But whatever….

John previously wrote about his own flight from Cairo to London-Heathrow on BA that was also affected by the restriction. You can access his article here.

Conclusion

Lithium ion batteries inside checked luggage are an actual fire hazard and I’m not sure how checking these into the cargo hold does much of a difference if someone has decided to take the plane down. In fact it’s probably more dangerous to the overall safety and security of the airliner.

Let’s hope the politicians are coming to their senses at some point (fat chance, I know) and develop policies that are beneficial to the public and aviation sector alike, not just lining the pockets of certain security and technology firms or serve their petty political interests while the travelers are the ones having to pay for it with their time and money.

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