Yesterday afternoon, news began to emerge that the TSA was putting in place a ban on large electronic devices being brought aboard flights from certain countries, aboard certain airlines.
This morning at 3:00a Eastern, the TSA had sent out emails to the affected countries and carriers giving them 96 hours notice before the ban was scheduled to take effect.
In yesterday’s, news only Saudia and Royal Jordanian were known to have been aware of the ban. In today’s release the list has been fully disclosed.
The following 8 countries are confirmed by the TSA as being on the list:
Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates.
Any flights or passengers departing airports in these countries that on non-USA based airlines are subject to the TSA Ban.
The airlines that will be impacted by the ban are Saudia, Royal Jordanian, Kuwait Airlines, Egyptair, Royal Air Maroc, Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar.
Even if a carrier does not fly directly to the USA, if one of their passengers is connecting to flight that ultimately arrives in the USA, that passenger will be covered by the ban.
The UK version and the TSA version of the ban are not identical. Certain airlines or countries are not on both lists.
The United Kingdom has following in the wake of the TSA and has announced that they too will ban certain electronic devices from being brought aboard certain flights operating to the UK from the Mid East.
The UK lists differs from the US version in that it includes airlines other than those based in the Mid East, and also covers countries that are not on the TSA’s list.
Specifically, the airlines impacted by the UK ban include:
Atlas Global, British Airways, Easy Jet, Jet2, Thomas Cook, Monarch, Turkish Airlines, Middle East Airlines (MEA), Egyptair, Saudia, Royal Jordanian, and Tunis Air.
The countries affected by the UK ban include direct flights from:
Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia.
According to various outlets, there appears to be a bit of an Intelligence Alert by various government agencies warning that there may be terror attacks planned that would involve the use of electronics brought aboard aircraft.
The ban prohibits any electronic device large than a smart phone, including iPads, large cameras, and laptops from being brought on board, forcing passengers to pack these items in their checked luggage.
In news coming out in drips this afternoon, the TSA announced that it was implementing a ban which would prevent certain electronics from being in the passenger cabin on flights originating from 8 Mid Eastern / North African countries, and specifically 10 airports within those countries (According to the AP). I’ve seen some outlets suggest that the list of countries may be as high as 13. The airlines that are affected are NOT American or European based carriers.
It appears the airlines being targeted for this ban are several Mideast and North African carriers including Royal Jordanian and Saudia. The airlines in question received confidential emails today from the TSA alerting them to the forthcoming policy change. Thus far, only Royal Jordanian and Saudia have come forward with any announcements (at least at the time that I published this post). It is thought that up to 12-15 airlines may be impacted by this ban.
The TSA has thus far been cryptic with who the 8 (or 13) countries are, or which specific airlines are affected by the ban. What is clear is that the TSA has mandated that this ban is in effect within 96 hours. This ban applies not only to the airlines serving the USA, but also to their passengers that may be transiting to the USA through connecting flights. For example, if a passenger on Saudia was flying from Riyadh to New York via Montreal, but on an Air Canada flight from ‘YUL’, they would have to check the banned devices on all carriers since their ultimate destination is the USA.
The ban specifically states that any electronic equipment larger than a Smart Phone would need to be packed with checked luggage and not brought into the cabin. From the sound of ban, it appears that larger cameras would be subject to the ban as well. The ban does not included medically necessary equipment such as oxygenators, etc.
A similar policy was in put in place temporarily in 2014 that required passengers to power up devices during security screenings to confirm that the electronics were functional. However this announcement takes it a step further, banning the larger devices from the cabin altogether.
The TSA announced that more information would be forthcoming shortly.