When the latest security steps were announced, they took many travelers by surprise. For years we have been able to take laptops and Ipads on flights, but suddenly the government has said that is now a no-no. Why not? Asked many travelers around the would.
Last night, Britain joined the growing list of countries that has taken the dramatic step of banning laptops from the cabins of UK-bound flights from six countries, and they have told everyone why that decision was made. According to government sources, there are new fears that ISIS terrorists have perfected a new type of airline bomb.
Apparently, Islamic State, al Qaeda and other terror groups have developed the capability to hide a bomb in a laptop big enough to blow a hole in the side of a plane. The recently announced bans are not only likely to forestall such attacks, but will also spark travel chaos at affected airports.
To make it easier for you to understand, we will attempt to explain what you can bring – and what to do with the things you can’t.
First the bans only apply to persons, regardless of nationality who are departing from six countries: Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
All passengers are banned from taking electronic devices into the aircraft cabin, I.e. laptops, iPads, Kindles and Nintendo 3DS game consoles and portable DVD players.
The move follows weeks of discussions with the US security agencies about the growing threat of a laptop bomb. An official spokesman declined to comment on the reason for the clampdown, but added: ‘The safety and security of the traveling public are our highest priority.’ Last year a bomb concealed in a laptop blew a hole in the side of an aircraft in Somalia. That attack was seen as a test for a wave of attacks on the west.
British sources denied the decision was designed to credence to Trumps controversial travel ban on Muslim majority countries. A former security officer said: ‘Jihadists can get hold of Semtex and C4 and store this in the laptop and get through the X-ray system. A suicide bomber would then sit by the window, and blast the window to devastating effect.’
Any device larger than 6.3in by 3.6in by 0.6in must now be checked in at the counter and will be transported in the cargo hold. The other hitch in the Regulations is that the new rules also applies to transfer flights. In other words, those traveling into the US or UK via one of the banned countries – and those traveling from a banned country via the UK to another destination will still have to follow the new guidelines.
If you get to the airport and find your device is too large, you may have to arrange separate shipping, place the device in checked luggage, or leave it behind. This depends on the airlines. Passengers should contact their insurer before putting expensive devices in checked baggage as it is doubtful Airlines will assume responsibility for the devices.