If you’re flying directly to America from any of these six countries, you probably won’t get to bring your laptop with you, at least for now.
It’s all because of a new announcement from the Department of Homeland Security, stating that passengers boarding direct flights to the United States won’t be allowed to bring their laptops and tablets into the cabin if they are travelling from Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, or Abu Dhabi. A similar ban has been announced by the UK.
For travellers needing more specific information on the American ban, the affected airlines are as follows:
In Jordan, the ban specifically applies to flights out of Queen Alia International Airport in Amman. In Egypt, it applies to Cairo International Airport.
Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul will also be subject to the ban, as will Saudi Arabia’s two biggest airports: King Abdul-Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, and King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh.
Flights out of Morocco’s Mohammed V Airport in Casablanca are affected, as are flights from UAE airports in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Finally, the ban also applies to Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, and to Kuwait International Airport.
Outgoing flights from the United States to these airports will not be affected. But that’s not much help if you’re heading to Abu Dhabi for a week on a business trip with your work laptop — they won’t say anything as you leave the United States, but a week later you’ll likely be required to leave your precious laptop in your luggage when they stamp your passport.
The new rules will take effect 96 hours from the time of the announcement.
So, what’s the meaning of all this? As usual, DHS offers very little in the way of specifics, speaking only of a general threat of terrorism involving explosive devices being smuggled in electronic devices.
It’s also worth pointing out that they refused to rule out an expansion of the ban, saying that they would adjust their policies in accordance with changing threat assessments.
Should you be worried? It depends. If you’re currently in one of the affected cities and flying to America in a few days, you might want to consider moving to an earlier flight to skip the drama.