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The now-infamous electronics ban, which went into effect earlier this year, saw hundreds of thousands of passengers having to check electronic devices (larger than a smartphone) into the hold, as the US Department of Homeland Security stated it was aware of potential threats to aviation safety that could be minimized by keeping laptops, iPads and other devices out of the passenger cabin.

Since the ban was implemented, it’s been lifted for airports that meet new US Security measures — and the lift of this ban now means that passengers flying from the Middle East can once again carry and use their electronic devices in the cabin.

Well, in what appears to be a complete opposite policy to the original electronics ban, Portuguese national carrier TAP Portugal has announced that it’s been briefed by the TSA about new rules for electronic devices onboard aircraft.

As per the TAP Portugal Facebook page:

Traveling to the USA – new security rules

TAP alerts its Customers with travel to or via the United States of America for the new rules for electronic devices transportation on board.
As of July 19, 2017, as determined by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), it will not be allowed to carry electronic devices that are larger than a conventional smartphone in the checked baggage.
Electronic devices that are larger than a smartphone may be carried in cabin luggage, but may be screened at boarding gates through explosive detection systems (EDS).
For more information, please check the TSA website at www.tsa.gov.

Here’s the post as it currently appears on the airline’s Facebook page:

Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 19.14.33

TAP Portugal is the only airline so far to publish a statement concerning these new security rules for electronic devices. The TSA and DHS websites and social media pages have not been updated to reflect this new policy, so it’s unclear if TAP Portugal has been given incorrect information, or if it was a little premature in sharing the new rules with passengers.

On the other hand, if it’s true, this type of ban would potentially make more sense. It was just a few months ago that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a Safety Information Bulletin highlighting experts’ preference that personal electronic devices (PEDs), such as laptop computers, remain in carry-on baggage and with the person carrying the device. The aviation industry, and the UN body for aviation, ICAO, have continuously highlighted how lithium batteries in electronic devices pose a fire danger, and that keeping these devices in the passenger cabin allows cabin crew to “act expeditiously” in the case of an emergency.

While we wait for more information, if you are traveling soon, it’s worth following your airlines’ Facebook and Twitter pages, as that’s often the fastest way to get new information to passengers, especially in times where travel procedures seem to change overnight.

Know before you go.

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