On Tuesday, March 21st, 2017, U.S. officials ordered 10 airports in eight countries to ban all electronics besides hand-held cellphones. All electronics except for cellphones can no longer be carried onto a flight.
Now, electronics such as “laptops, tablets, game consoles, cameras and portable DVD players must be put into passenger’s checked baggage” reported techcrunch.com.
The nine impacted airlines that are U.S. bound coming out of eight Muslim majority countries are Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways. In total, these airlines operate about 50 direct flights to the U.S. every day.
Airlines had until this past weekend to comply with the new ban, and if they did not comply, “We will work with the FAA to pull their certificate and they will not be allowed to fly to the United States,” a senior U.S. official told CNN.
CNN explained the reason for the ban is that “U.S. officials say the move is a response to fears that terrorist groups may target passenger planes by smuggling explosive devices in electronic devices. One official said there’s no specific plot that authorities are aware of, but the U.S. has been considering such a ban for some time.”
The Department of Homeland Security explained in an article on theverge.com that intelligence obtained in recent weeks found that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was perfecting techniques for hiding explosives in batteries and battery compartments, according to a U.S. official. Intelligence also shows growing capability and threats from al Qaeda in Syria, ISIS and Al Shabaab. So, the ban is just for safety precautions.
Overall, there should be no reason to panic. If you get to the airport a little bit earlier than normal and lock all electronics away in checked luggage, you will be fine. On the entertainment side…most overseas flights provide entertainment for its passengers anyway, and if not…read a book!