DHS Bans Laptops, Other Electronic Devices From Airplane Cabins For Flights From 10 Airports

Image courtesy of Themarcogoon49

If you’re doing any travel to or from the Middle East, northern Africa, or Turkey in the coming months, you may not be able to work or watch videos on your laptop or tablet. A new Department of Homeland Security rule bans all electronic devices “larger than a smartphone” from the cabins of all flights coming to the U.S. from ten international airports.

DHS announced the electronics ban this morning, giving affected airlines 96 hours to comply.

The restriction affects flights from ten airports in eight countries: Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. (See below for the list of specific airports.)

Since no U.S.-based airlines offer direct flights to any of the airports on the list, they will not have to change any of their policies for in-cabin electronics use.

DHS specifically bars laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, travel printers/scanners, and “electronic game units larger than a smartphone.” Passengers can travel with these items, but they must be stowed in checked bags. That means travelers won’t have access to their electronics while in flight or while waiting at the gate to depart. Some folks may also be worried about placing expensive electronics in bags that could be mishandled, lost, or stolen.

“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items,” notes DHS in a Q&A sheet posted on the agency’s website.

Though some airlines have indicated that they were told the ban is only in effect until October with the possibility of being extended, DHS currently says the restriction is in place indefinitely.

Here is the full, current list of countries and airports affected by the ban:

• Jordan:
Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)

• Egypt:
Cairo International Airport (CAI)

• Turkey:
Ataturk International Airport (IST)

• Saudi Arabia:
King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED)
King Khalid International Airport (RUH)

• Kuwait:
Kuwait International Airport (KWI)

• Morocco:
Mohammed V Airport (CMN)

• Qatar:
Hamad International Airport (DOH)

• United Arab Emirates:
Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.