The United Kingdom Now Has Its Own Cabin Electronics Ban

Mar 21, 2017

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Following the lead of the United States, the British government is implementing its own ban on electronics in the cabin for flights inbound to the United Kingdom. While details are still developing, the BBC is reporting that the specifics of the UK ban will be somewhat different than the ban the United States instituted on nine carriers in the early morning hours on Tuesday.

For starters, a different set of airlines will be impacted. A total of 14 carriers are named by the BBC, including six UK-based airlines — British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson — and eight foreign ones, which are said to be Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Egyptair, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air and Saudia.

Specific airports have not yet been named, but the countries affected include Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Airports included in the US ban that are not impacted by this UK order include Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Dubai (DXB) in the UAE, Doha (DOH) in Qatar, Kuwait City (KWI) in Kuwait and Casablanca (CMN) in Morocco.

In some ways, the UK ban is even more encompassing than the US ban, as it includes any device larger than 16 centimeters (6.3 inches) long, 9.3 centimeters (3.66 inches) wide or 1.5 centimeters (0.6 inches) deep. There is no exception for mobile or smart phones, but it is unclear what exceptions might be made for medical devices larger than the prescribed sizes.

Last month a Daallo Airlines flight from Mogadishu, Somalia, to Djibouti City, Djibouti, suffered an explosion from a bomb that blew a hole in the main fuselage, blowing the bomber out of the plane in the process. The aircraft was able to land safely only because an hour-long delay in takeoff meant the plane had not reached cruising altitude — had it done so, the explosion could have been catastrophic. Law enforcement sources later told CNN that the “sophisticated” device was built into a laptop computer, and some have speculated that this incident is at least partially the reason for concern by both US and UK authorities.

“The additional security measures may cause some disruption for passengers and flights, and we understand the frustration that will cause, but our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals,” the UK government said in a statement to CNN.

The effective date of the UK ban is not clear, but British Airways has already begun advising passengers traveling from the affected airports to allow plenty of time for check in.

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