Passengers flying from eight Muslim-majority countries will no longer be allowed to bring almost any electronics in their carry-on. Everything but cellphones and medical devices will have to be in the checked luggage starting today. This means laptops, tablets, Kindles and of course – cameras, can no longer be in the carry-on.
According to Senior U.S. administration officials, the reason for the ban is security and prevention of terrorist attacks. In their words, terrorists target flights by “smuggling explosives in portable electronic devices.” Federal officials stated an example of a bomb that exploded on a Somali plane recently. Although it wasn’t a U.S.-bound flight, the speculations are that the bomb was hidden inside a laptop.
They have first stated that this ban is indefinite. However, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, David Lapan, said the directive runs until October 14, 2017. It could be extended for another year if the risk evaluation remains the same.
The ban hits eight Muslim-majority countries and ten airports. As for the countries, the ban affects Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The airports are: Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), Cairo International Airport (CAI), Ataturk International Airport (IST), King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED), King Khalid International Airport (RUH), Kuwait International Airport (KWI), Mohammed V International Airport (CMN), Hamad International Airport (DOH), Dubai International Airport (DXB), and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).
This move will surely affect international business and diplomacy between the United States and its allies in North Africa and the Middle East. But as for the ordinary people, the directive hits us, too. If you watch movies on flights or take and edit photos, this ban prevents you from doing it. Not to mention that your photo gear and other electronics could be damaged, lost or stolen in the checked luggage. If you travel to any of these countries for a vacation or business, you can forget about aerial shots from an airplane window.
The directive is allegedly brought because of security, yet it only covers some airports. So I’m not exactly sure what lies behind this decision, and what sense does it make. I believe it only makes problems to passengers, and I don’t really see how it could increase security. What do you think? Does this sound reasonable? Does it affect you?
[via Washington Post; image credits Remi Verdebout]