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.