Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ban on laptops, iPads in US-bound flights: Here is how Indian travellers will be affected

In another few days, US-bound flights from 10 airports in the Middle East will start banning laptops and other big electronic devices from cabin baggage. Travellers boarding a flight at these airports, or even those who have a connecting flight passing through these airports, will be able to carry large electronic devices only in the check-in baggage.

There is no clarity on why the US government has decided to implement this rule but the said reason is that this is to prevent terrorist attacks. The UK has followed with its own directive although the airports from where it is banning laptops etc in check-in baggage are in some occasions different compared from the list that the US has. For example, the Dubai airport is part of the US list but not the UK one.

Although, the move -- despite its security overtones -- has baffled experts who hint that it might have been done to help US airlines, which are facing touch challenge from the ones in the Middle East. After he became the US president, Donald Trump reportedly spoke to representatives from US airlines and agreed that the market condition for the US carriers was unfair.
Although primarily the move will affect the travellers in Middle East, it is also going to impact the travellers from India in a big big way because a lot of Indian travellers use Middle East airlines like Emirates and Qatar Airways.
The US government says that there is an increase in the threat level at 10 airports and hence it needs to take some measures.  "The US government is concerned about terrorists' ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation... The enhancement in security will require that all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage. Approved medical devices may be brought into the cabin after additional screening."
The ban will come into effect in the next few days. "Airlines were notified on March 21st at 3:00 am. EDT. They have 96 hours within which to comply," the US government notes.

Which are the affected airports?
According to the US government, these airports are: Queen Alia International Airport, Cairo International Airport, Ataturk International Airport, King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, King Khalid International Airport, Kuwait International Airport, Mohammed V Airport, Hamad International Airport, Doha, Dubai International Airport, and Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Of these the airports in Dubai, Jordan and Abu Dhabi are of particular interest to Indian travellers.
What all has been banned?
According to the US government, carrying the following items in cabin baggage is now banned:
-- Laptops
-- Tablets
-- E-Readers
-- Cameras
-- Portable DVD players
-- Electronic game units larger than a smartphone
-- Travel printers and scanners
23/03/17 India Today