Leaked TSA Email Offers Details on Cabin Electronics Ban

Mar 20, 2017

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Update 3/20/17 10:10pm: The Associated Press is reporting the cabin electronics ban is indefinite and covers 10 airports in 8 countries — Cairo (CAI) in Egypt, Amman (AMM) in Jordan, Kuwait City (KWI) in Kuwait, Casablanca (CMN) in Morocco, Doha (DOH) in Qatar, Riyadh (RUH) and Jeddah (JED) in Saudi Arabia, Istanbul (IST) in Turkey, and Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Dubai (DXB) in the UAE.

Earlier this afternoon, we let you know about Royal Jordanian’s tweet announcing that certain electronics would be banned from aircraft cabins starting tomorrow. Since then, the plot has thickened.

Within the last hour, the original Royal Jordanian tweet has been deleted. It’s now been replaced with a tweet noting that updates will be announced soon:

The most intriguing information currently comes from the UK-based The Guardian. The news outlet reported that the electronics ban originates from a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) “circular, which was emailed out today marked “confidential.” In the circular, “airlines from 13 nations” were given 96 hours to implement policies “to forbid passengers from carrying any electronic or electrical device larger than a cellphone.”

The Guardian also hints at a reason why the Royal Jordanian tweet may have been deleted: “It was suggested that Royal Jordanian disobeyed the circular in part by making its existence known.”

CNN Money was able to speak with an unnamed source about the situation. Reportedly the ban is due to “a security concern regarding passengers boarding non-stop flights to the U.S. from some specific countries.” The source noted that the cabin electronics ban “will impact over a dozen airlines flying into the US.” However, none of CNN’s sources would note which airlines are impacted by this ban.

The Points Guy has reached out to the US Department of State, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for comment on the electronics ban. Both the Department of State and the TSA referred us to DHS for further information. The Department of Homeland Security responded with the following statement:

We’re not able to provide more details at this time. We have no comment on potential security precautions, but will provide an update when appropriate.

We also called eight airlines (Egyptair, Emirates, Ethiopian, Etihad, Qatar, Royal Air Maroc, Saudia and Turkish) and emailed eight airlines (American, Delta, Ethiopian, Etihad, South African, United, Qatar, and Saudia), but got no concrete information about the ban. An American Airlines spokesperson was able to confirm that “this does not apply to any flights operated by American Airlines.”

A representative for Qatar seemed to validate that there would be more information as soon as tomorrow. He said: “I am currently searching for more information and will get back to you as soon as I know more — hopefully tomorrow morning.”

Currently, the only airline to publicly acknowledge the electronics ban is Saudia. A tweet from Saudia (in Arabic) was posted at 5:31pm Eastern and mentions “Kindle/iPad” and “laptop.”

This is a breaking story. Continue to check back at The Points Guy for the latest information.

Featured image courtesy of Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

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