The Airline Laptop Ban: What You Need to Know Right Now2 min read
Air travel to the United States soon could become much more inconvenient if an expected expansion of the ban on laptop computers goes into effect. Officials from the Department of Homeland Security are meeting to discuss banning all laptop computers and larger electronic devices from carry-on baggage for any flight departing from Europe to the United States.
Here’s what you need to know right now about the ban.
Terrorism Created the Need for a Laptop Ban
ISIS, al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations are growing more sophisticated in the weapons they use. U.S. officials now believe that terrorists have figured out ways to plant explosives in laptop computers and other larger electronic devices that could be carried on to an airplane.
According to the FBI, these terrorist organizations have obtained airport security equipment that allows them to test their concealment methods. The FBI also believes that some of these explosives are able to make their way through commonly used airport security screeners.
Detonating these devices is more difficult to do remotely, so forcing travelers to store laptops and electronic devices in checked luggage instead of carry-on bags may help to reduce risks.
A Laptop Ban is Already in Effect in Some Places
There is already a similar ban in effect in 10 airports across eight countries. The proposed expansion would extend this ban to all of Europe.
Currently, travelers departing from the following airports to the United States must check laptops and electronic devices:
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates
- Doha, Qatar
- Amman, Jordan
- Cairo, Egypt
- Casablanca, Morocco
- Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- Kuwait City, Kuwait
The ban is also in effect for travelers flying non-stop to the United States on any of the following airlines: EgyptAir, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines), and Turkish Airlines.
The Expansion of the Ban is Likely
It seems likely that the ban will expand and potentially continue expanding as new threats are uncovered. In a statement given to The Daily Beast, the Department of Homeland Security said:
“No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration. DHS continues to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes when necessary to keep air travelers safe.”
Last month, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told a congressional committee that the threat behind the ban is “real and getting realer,” and added, “we may take measures in the not-too-distant future to expand the number of airports.”