If you are travelling internationally, you should be aware of an electronic ban that began March 25, 2017. No, not another President Trump travel restriction that would be challenged in court. This time it is a ban on traveling with larger electronic devices from certain airports in the Middle East.
According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the ban is to discourage terrorists from smuggling explosive materials inside of items such as laptops, cameras, and other personal electronic devices. DHS communicates that it has been an ongoing concern since attempted attacks in 2016. The ban is yet another inconvenience for travelers that will hopefully keep travelers and the United States safe.
As revealed on the DHS Website, the affected airports are Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), Dubai International Airport (DXB), Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), Mohammad V Airport (CMN), Cairo International Airport (CAI), Kuwait Internationally Airport (KWI), King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED), King Khaled International Airport (RUH), Ataturk International Airport (IST), and Hamad International Airport (DOH).
If you are travelling to or from these international airports, you will be required to check any electronic device larger than your smart phone into your checked baggage. This ban is active for all nationalities travelling by air within these areas.
This ban is being implemented to protect us but there are still some risks associated with it. CNN highlights some concerns people have with the electronic ban. Many include the suddenness of ban and the uncertainty over when the ban will end as it is put in place “indefinitely.” Many who had flights planned cancelled or attempted to cancel their flights. Airlines are not waving cancellation fees, to the dismay of many of their customers. The DHS’s ban will have a major impact on people who try to get work done during their flights, including many who do business intentionally. There are no exceptions according to the DHS. This means if you have a 12 hour flight, you can say goodbye to finishing any work unless it can be done from your smart phone. Another major concern is theft and damage to personal property. Many of the airlines affected do not cover electronic devices on the insurance when damaged or stolen. Many travelers have cancelled their flights because the cancellation fee is cheaper than replacing stolen or damaged electronic devices.
The reason for this ban being implemented is, well, largely unknown. To “not reveal their hand,” the DHS has only said they are acting on relevant intelligence. Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President, did not reveal much about this ban during his appearance on Fox New’s Judge Jeanine. “We need to be proactive, not reactive,” he said. He did hint that intelligence sources led to this decision. Similar electronics bans have been implemented in Europe, including the Great Britain, giving more credibility that the international intelligence community saw a threat and acted upon it.