US and EU officials have decided against a ban on laptops and tablets in cabin baggage on flights from Europe but other measures still apply
PASSENGERS flying from the UK to the US will not be banned from bringing their laptops with them, government officials have said.
In March 2017, the UK announced a cabin luggage ban on laptops, tablets and e-readers on passenger flights from certain airports, following a similar move in the States.
Whitehall was said to be braced for the White House to extend security restrictions to flights from Europe after US President Donald Trump enforced a similar ban last month for some flights leaving from select countries in the Middle East.
But US and EU officials have decided against a ban on laptops and tablets in cabin baggage on flights from Europe.
Here’s the lowdown on which countries and flights will be affected by the ban.
The new UK flight rules ban large electronic devices from cabin baggage on passenger flights from six countries, including laptops and cameras.
The government said that passengers will be restricted from taking the banned items onto flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Tunisia.
Mobile phones and medical devices are exempt from the ban.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the move was in response to an “evolving threat” from terrorism.
He told the Commons the government’s decision was thought necessary to protect the safety of UK passengers, but would not give any more detail.
“We have taken the steps for good reasons,” said Mr Grayling.
He added that he would write to insurers to be mindful of the new rules.
This means it is now vital that you LOCK your hold luggage to be covered by insurance.
The new rules have sparked fears about travel costs – particularly for passengers who prefer to travel with cabin luggage only to avoid paying extra.
Some travel companies are changing their rules to account for this but it’s important you check before you get to the airport.
A Government spokesperson said: “We face a constantly evolving threat from terrorism and must respond accordingly to ensure the protection of the public against those who would do us harm.
“The update we are making to our security measures is an important part of that process.
“Decisions to make changes to our aviation security regime are never taken lightly.
“We will not hesitate to act in order to maintain the safety of the travelling public and we will work closely with our international partners to minimise any disruption these new measures may cause.”
US officials stated bombs could be concealed inside electronics such as laptops, tablets and cameras.
In March, The Department of Homeland Security announced the ban after revealing that extremists are seeking “innovative methods” to bring down jets.
Passengers are barred from taking on board devices that are “larger than a normal sized mobile or smart phone”, which is equivalent to 16cm long, 9.3cm wide and 1.5cm deep.
You can still take these devices on holiday with you, but they have to go in the hold area in your checked luggage.
These items are examples of banned items but it has been made clear this is not an exhaustive list:
In the UK, 14 carriers including Easyjet, British Airways, Jet 2, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson flights will be affected.
Airlines which fail to comply with the new rules will be barred from flying to the UK.
The intital ban is now in full force, according to travel fare website Sky Scanner.
Passengers on Easyjet flights from Turkey and Egypt to the UK must put large electronic devices, including e-readers, in the hold.
The airline said passengers would face extra security checks and advised them to arrive early at their airport.
BA has issued a notice to passengers saying passengers would now face additional searches and questions, and were likely to be called to their boarding gates earlier.
Since late March customers travelling from Turkey have begun to face extra security checks and the new hand luggage restrictions.
It says it will increase the paid-for hold luggage allowance by 3kg free-of-charge to allow for the extra weight of electrical devices.
The airline runs a summer service from Turkey from 29 April, so no flights were affected until then.
Customers flying to the UK from Turkey and Egypt should pack devices into their hold luggage to be checked in before going through security.
The airline said it was “currently working through operational plans and the best way” to notify affected customers.
After a four-hour meeting on May 17 in Brussels, officials from the US Department of Homeland Security and the EU swapped intelligence on threats involving air travel and said a ban was “off the table” for now.
The measure was introduced over fears a bomb could be concealed in a device although details of a specific threat were not made public.
However the details are the same as those revealed to Russian officials at the White House by Donald Trump last week.
The rules apply to the “last point of departure airports”.
So if you change onto a plane at one of the affected airports for the last leg of your journey, you could be affected by the new rules.
Speak to your airline to find out how the rules will affect your journey.
For UK-bound travellers, it affects six countries coming from:
The new rules affect 10 airports in eight countries, if you are flying to the US:
Brits travelling to the US are being warned that their travel insurance may not cover the gadgets they have to put in hold as a result of the laptop ban.
Mark Shepherd at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said: “Passengers travelling from the affected countries with laptops and tablets should check their policy and speak to their travel insurer to double-check what cover they have for valuables placed in the hold.
“Wherever possible travellers should keep valuables, including tablets and laptops, with them on flights and, if travelling from destinations affected by the new regulations, it may be sensible to leave valuables at home.”
A source told American network CNN that it stemmed from security concerns regarding passengers boarding non-stop flights to the US from a dozen airlines.
In a statement, The Department of Homeland Security said: “The US government is concerned about terrorists’ ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years, as evidenced by the 2015 airliner downing in Egypt; the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia; and the 2016 armed attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul.
“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.”
In 2014, the Transportation Security Administration required some passengers to show their electronics could power up over concern explosives were hidden in the devices.