State of the Electronics Ban — Who’s Cleared, Who’s Still Banned
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Update 7/19/2017: Saudia has been cleared for flights departing Riyadh (RUH) effective July 19. This marks the final airport removed from the list. Currently, no airports are subject to the large carry-on electronics ban.
Update 7/17/2017: Saudia has been cleared for flights departing Jeddah (JED) effective July 17.
Update 7/12/2017: EgyptAir has been cleared effective July 12. It remains in place for flights from Cairo to London.
Update 7/12/2017: Royal Air Maroc has been cleared effective July 13, six days earlier than originally expected.
Update 7/9/2017: Kuwait Airways has been cleared effective today.
Update 7/9/2017: Royal Jordanian has been cleared effective July 9.
Update 7/6/2017: Royal Air Maroc expects to be cleared by July 19.
Update 7/6/2017: Qatar has now been cleared from the electronics ban.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly told lawmakers that an expansion of the electronics ban to European airports was “likely and imminent.” Since then, things have changed. Rather than expanding, the large carry-on electronics ban has retracted. Abu Dhabi (Etihad), Doha (Qatar), Istanbul (Turkish) and Dubai (Emirates) are off the list. Saudia says that it expects to be cleared by July 19. With all of the recent changes, here’s where the electronics ban currently stands.
Original Electronics Ban
The large carry-on electronics ban affected nine airlines across 10 airports in eight countries. This ban was made official on March 21, with airlines given just 96 hours to fully comply — or lose their right to operate flights to the US. All nine airlines pulled it off, with some introducing gate-checking of electronics and loaner laptops within a week.
The United Kingdom — sharing the same intelligence data as the United States — also rolled out a similar electronics ban. There was one noticeable difference: The “Middle East Three” (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar), along with Kuwait and Morocco, were absent from the UK’s list.
As of publication date, some of these airports are meeting the newly released requirements and getting cleared from the US electronics ban. Here’s the current state of affairs:
|Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)||Etihad Airways||Cleared effective July 2|
|Ataturk International Airport (IST)||Turkish Airlines||Cleared effective July 5|
|Dubai International Airport (DXB)||Emirates||Cleared effective July 5|
|Hamad International Airport (DOH)||Qatar Airways||Cleared effective July 6|
|Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)||Royal Jordanian Airlines||Cleared effective July 9|
|Kuwait International Airport (KWI)||Kuwait Airways||Cleared effective July 9|
|Cairo International Airport (CAI)||EgyptAir||Cleared effective July 12|
|Mohammed V Airport (CMN)||Royal Air Maroc||Cleared effective July 13|
|King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED)||Saudia||Cleared effective July 17|
|King Khalid International Airport (RUH)||Saudia||Cleared effective July 19|
Despite plenty of speculation and discussion, no European airports have been subject to the electronics ban (except Istanbul, which is technically in Europe), but it’s going to take some effort to stay off the list. The DHS is requiring all airports with nonstop flights to the US to comply with a laundry list of new regulations. If airports meet these requirements, then it’s business as usual. If the DHS determines that some airports aren’t fully complying, the large carry-on electronics ban will include these airports.
Tips for Flying Through Still-Banned Airports
What happens if you’re still flying from one of the affected airports? First, it’s important to remember that the ban only affects nonstop flights from the affected airports to the US. If you’re flying from Cairo (CAI) via London before heading back to the US, you can keep your electronics with you the whole time — but not if you’re on an EgyptAir nonstop from Cairo (CAI) directly to the US. No flights departing the US are affected.
Next, it’s important to know what’s banned and not. Technically, any electronics that are larger than a smartphone are banned. For some airlines, this is being applied to noise-canceling headphones; they’re electronics and larger than a phone. But this rule isn’t being consistently enforced.
Finally, if you need to check your electronics, you should read up on how to pack your electronics, what damage your credit card might and might not cover and how to survive long flights with kids with no electronics.
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