The Trump administration has imposed new carry-on restrictions for flights entering the US from several countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Travellers entering the US from affected flights will be unable to bring certain electronic devices onto the plane.
Airlines affected by the restrictions include Egypt Air, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines, and Turkish Airlines.
The restriction bans all electronic devices larger than a mobile phone into the main cabin. These include laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable game consoles, and DVD players which must be checked in beforehand. WA passengers entering the US via connecting flights in certain Middle Eastern countries will need to check in their electronics from Perth Airport.
The US Department of Homeland Security has stated that the new restrictions are meant to prevent terrorist attacks that may use electronic devices to target commercial flights.
“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.”
The restrictions are believed to stem from an attack on a commercial flight in February 2016.
An explosive was smuggled into a laptop by a suspected suicide bomber and detonated on a Daallo Airlines flight to Djibouti, blowing a hole in the fuselage of an Airbus A321 and forcing the plane to make an emergency landing. The attack has since prompted increased scrutiny on portable consumer electronics. However, technology experts question the effectiveness of such restrictions.
The electronics ban has understandably caused frustrations for travellers who rely on their laptops for entertainment and work purposes during transit time.
Several affected airlines have come up with solutions to counter the ban.
Emirates Airlines announced a new electronics handling service last month that lets passengers use their laptops or tablets before boarding their flights to the US. However, they must declare any electronics at the gate which will then be carefully packed into boxes before being loaded in the cargo hold. Any electronics will be returned to passengers at their US destination. The new service is available free of charge.
Turkish Airlines has also joined Emirates in offering a similar service. Airline employees carefully pack all electronics in secure boxes and personally return them to the rightful owner. Etihad Airways has taken it a step further by announcing that first and business class passengers to the US will receive complimentary Wi-Fi and iPads.
Be sure to check all rules and regulations prior to departure if you are travelling to the US from an airline affected by the electronics travel ban.
When you are ready to book your next airport transfer, please give Link Airport Perth a call.