US Considering Electronics Ban For Flights From Europe
Update 4/25/17 12:05pm: A TSA spokesman said there are "no imminent" plans to add any other nations to the electronics ban, according to Bloomberg. The spokesman added that the agency is continuously assessing security directives based on intelligence, but as of this update, there are no changes coming in the immediate future.
When the electronics ban was first announced, people traveling from the listed 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and Africa have had to come up with alternatives for using their large electronics on flights to the US. But now, The Guardian is reporting that the US may soon implement its electronics ban on flights coming from Europe as well.
A source told The Guardian that the Trump administration is considering extending the ban on electronics larger than a smartphone — including laptops and tablet devices — on flights headed to the US from Europe. UK government sources suggested to the outlet that although it wasn't certain, the US was considering implementing the ban, and specific airports weren't mentioned.
As you'll remember, the Trump administration announced the electronics ban suddenly in late March — news that was prematurely broken by Royal Jordanian. As part of the ban, travelers flying from airports in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Morocco must check their large electronic devices in the cargo hold of the aircraft. Since it was announced, airlines, such as Emirates and Qatar, have come up with solutions like offering passengers to use loaner devices for their long-haul flights.
The ban was implemented after the US gained "intelligence" that terrorists favored "smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items." Since the US administered its electronics ban, the UK followed with its own ban on the same day.
Of note in the first US electronics ban, no US airlines were affected. In fact, the government faced the biggest criticism over including Qatar (Qatar Airways) and the United Arab Emirates (Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways) — or the ME3 — in the ban. However, if the US were to employ an electronics ban on flights from the UK and Europe, US carriers would be forced to require their passengers to check their laptops and other large electronics.
Details on the potential electronics ban on flights from the UK and Europe are sparse as of right now. However, if The Guardian's sources are correct, the possibility of an electronics ban on flights from the region could be a huge blow for both travelers and airlines. To see what it was like to fly Emirates and Etihad during the electronics ban, check out our coverage.
Stay tuned to TPG for details if we get more information on the possibility of an electronics ban on flights from the UK and Europe.