Laptop ban: Airlines update processes after US and UK impose carry-on device ban

Laptop ban: Airlines update processes after US and UK impose carry-on device ban

Certain airlines were forced into implementing extra security measures this week as the UK and US implemented bans on electronics including laptops, tablets and e-readers.

The ban – which the UK has applied on devices measuring 16cm by 9.3cm on inbound flights from six countries in and around the Middle East has led to confusion among travellers and forced a reaction from travel firms.

The UK’s decision followed the shock decision in the US, which the Department of Homeland Security said was taken because of the threat posed by the potential to disguise bombs in electronics of that size.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the move was in response to an “evolving threat” from terrorism. The US ban covers nine airlines and ten airports in the Gulf and Middle East region.

Smartphones are still allowed to be taken on-board, but airlines have had to adapt their security measures quickly to cope with the change, which the British government said will comes into force from Saturday March 25.

EasyJet  introduced the ban on Wednesday and said passengers would face extra security checks, so advised them to turn up extra early and will be contacting customers to that effect.

British Airways said passengers would face extra searches and questions and said some affected travellers can re-book flights.

Monarch  has said it will increase the paid-for hold luggage allowance by 3kgs free of charge to allow for the extra weight of electrical items while Thomas Cook has opened a hotline for its customers.

Jet2.com and Thomson flights to Turkey start next week and both firms said they would update customers.

Emirates moved quickly to introduce a laptop and tablet handling service at its Dubai hub. The airline said transfer passengers travelling to the US will be able to retain laptops and tablets as carry-on items on the first leg of journeys and during transit in Dubai.

But they must declare and hand over their electronic devices to security staff at the gate before boarding a US-bound flight.

The devices will be packed in boxes, loaded on to the aircraft and returned to them at their US destination.

Travel insurance providers, including Saga and Holiday Extras, meanwhile, have moved to change policies to cover electronics placed in the hold, which previously was not always the case.

Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia are the countries from which the UK ban applies, and UK carriers British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomson and Thomas Cook will be affected.

The same rules apply to people using Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Tunis Air, Saudia, Egyptair, Middle East Airlines, Royal Jordanian and Atlas-Global Airlines.

The airlines affected by the American ban are: Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.

The airports affected by the US decision are: Queen Alia International, Amman, Jordan; Cairo International airport, Egypt; Ataturk airport, Istanbul, Turkey; King Abdulaziz International, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Kuwait International; Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco; Hamad International, Doha, Qatar; Dubai International and Abu Dhabi International in the United Arab Emirates.

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