Laptops and tablet PCs banned on some flights

Aeroplane at departure gate

Both the US and UK have announced that laptops and tablet computers are banned from carry on hand luggage on flights from certain countries. The UK ban concerns flights emanating from airports in Turkey, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Where as the US have UAE, Qatar and Kuwait airports on the list. It also affects flight that originate from other countries but have transit stop at any of these airports. 

The ban applies to any electronic devices that are larger than 16 x 9.3 x 1.5 cm (6.3 x 3.5 x 0.5 inches) so most smartphone are OK but laptops, iPads and ebook readers are not allowed along with other devices such as DVD players and games consoles if they are bigger than the allowed dimensions. Any electronics that are above this size have to be checked into the hold.

So if you had a carry on bags only ticket and wanted to bring your laptop along or your children were going to play on the iPad during the flight you need to be ready to check your computers into the hold luggage and be prepared to pay additional fees for this if the airline decide to charge for this.

Neither the US or UK government gave any details of the specific threat or why they have some different countries on their banned lists. There has been a lot of chatter from the middle east that jihadi terrorist want to blow up a flight midair and In 2015 ISIS blew up a Russian aircraft after it took of from Egypt. It has been policy in the UK since 2014 that all carry on electronic items have to be shown to switch on before they are allowed on flights but this ban goes a lot further. Aviation security experts have voiced concern that by forcing the laptops and tablet computers to be checked into the hold will make checking them more difficult. After all the Russian plane in 2015 was blown up by a bomb in the hold not in the cabin.

There has been no indication of how long this ban will be in place for. The restrictions on bringing more than 100ml of liquids onto flights was brought in 10 years ago and there are no plans to alter that allowance. The worry is that the terrorist will look to get a bomb on from a different airport not covered by the current restrictions and then this ban we be expanded to cover even more countries until eventually like the liquids allowance it will apply to all flights.

If you are due to fly to or from these countries then you are advised to check with your airline on what is allowed.