Air Flight Laptop Ban In Muslim-Majority Nations Begins

In July 2014, the Homeland Security Department stepped up security of US-bound flights, requiring tougher screening of mobile phones and other electronic devices and requiring them to be powered up before passengers could board flights to the United States. "Travelers are advised to keep up-to-date with the latest FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] travel advice and to check online with their chosen airline for further information", a United Kingdom government spokesperson said.

Senior US administration officials said that the rules were made after "evaluated intelligence" that terrorists continue to target commercial aviation by "smuggling explosives in portable electronic devices", the Washington Post reported.

The carriers - Royal Jordanian Airlines, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways - have until Friday to adopt the new policy, which took effect on Tuesday. The US administration specified that national carriers do not fly from these Airports.

Q: Which flights are affected by the US restriction? Necessary medical devices are excluded.

Members of government informed the airlines that the new procedures must be put in place in the next 96 hours, and one expert warned that the rule risks being poorly received.

Since the 9/11 attacks, airport safety has shifted into high gear - the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created, and it quickly instituted a multitude of new protocols that passengers must abide before boarding their flights.

It said only "normal size" phones, no longer than 16cms, 9.3cms wide and 1.5cms deep can be carried in hand luggage.

Passengers will be required to check their electronic devices into the plane's hold. Passengers with connecting flights are advised to pack large personal electronic devices in checked bags at their originating airport.

Several European countries are refusing to follow the U.S. and Britain in banning laptops and tablets from flights from several Muslim majority countries, sparking concern that the anti-terror measure will be rendered useless.

The move will affect in-bound passengers from those countries on flights operated by British Airways, Easyjet, Jet 2, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson.

  • Zachary Reyes