Laptop and tablet ban: How will this affect your travel plans?
Just over a month since the initial laptop and tablet ban was announced, there is now speculation that the UK may be next to join the list of countries with new hand luggage restrictions for laptops and tablets on flights to the US. We explain what this flight ban could mean for your travel plans, especially if you're flying from the Middle East and North Africa.
On Tuesday 21st March, the UK and US governments announced a ban on laptops and tablets in all hand luggage on board direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
It has now been widely reported that the US is considering extending this ban to include flights coming from UK airports to the US. Although there has yet to be any confirmation from Homeland Security on whether or not this will indeed happen, Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for the US Department of Homeland Security, said: “We’ve said we will continue to evaluate the threat environment and make determinations based on that assessment, but we have not made any decisions on expanding the current restrictions against large electronic devices in aircraft cabins from selected airports.”
The initial ban is now in full force. Here's how this will affect your travel plans:
Which countries and airports are included in the ban?
The US flight ban affects the following airports:
- Cairo (Egypt)
- Istanbul (Turkey)
- Dubai (United Arab Emirates)
- Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)
- Kuwait (Kuwait)
- Doha (Qatar)
- Casablanca (Morocco)
- Amman (Jordan)
- Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
- Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
The UK flight ban affects all flights coming from:
Which airlines are affected?
The ban will affect six UK airlines:
And these eight overseas carriers:
- Turkish Airlines
- Pegasus Airways
- Atlas-Global Airlines
- Middle East Airlines
- Royal Jordanian
- Tunis Air
Which electronic items are banned from cabin baggage?
UK flight ban:
Prohibits any electronic device bigger than 16cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm in hand luggage. This means mobiles and smartphones, like the larger iPhone Plus will still be allowed. Most smartphones, including the iPhone 7 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S7, can still be carried in hand luggage.
US flight ban:
Prohibits the following items, as detailed by The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) - but they have said that this list is not exhaustive:
- Portable DVD players
- Game consoles larger than a smartphone
- Travel printers and scanners
What can I pack in my hand luggage?
If all of this has left you a little confused as to what items you can and can't bring on board, then we've got a complete hand luggage guide for the UK's biggest airlines, that might just help clear the matter up a little. Need a little more detail? Then read up in full, what each airline's hand luggage restrictions are here, or go straight to our information pages on easyJet, BA, Ryanair, Jet2 or Turkish Airlines baggage rules.
What about electronics on connecting flights?
Some of the airports affected by this latest hand luggage ban are big airline hubs, with lots of UK travellers passing through on business or holiday. The ban is to be enforced from your last point of departure, so if the last airport you departed from is on the list, then the ban will apply. Therefore, catching any connecting flight from on of the airports affected to the UK will mean that your laptop or tablet will not be allowed in the cabin. The safest thing to do if you're transferring through one of these airports is to put any electronic devices into your hold luggage at the first airport you're originating from.
Will travel insurance cover electronics in hold luggage?
Policies can vary, but as a general rule most travel insurance will not cover theft of and unattended items which you can't see or aren't close to you. So if it goes in the hold, there's a chance your policy won't pay it should your laptop or tablet get damaged or go walkabout. Some insurance providers might be flexible in this situation, having been effectively forced to place such items in the hold, but if in doubt and when possible, leave valuable devices at home and save yourself the stress. If you're worried about your bags being broken into, then maybe get yourself one of these 8 theft-proof travel accessories to keep your luggage and valuables safe.
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About the author
Cat McGloin // @catmcgloin
Travel Editor and Content Manager for Skyscanner UK. Usually found by the coffee machine, elevating small talk into medium talk. Location: at her desk buried beneath a pile of post-it notes, on the yoga mat, or, if it's 5pm on a Friday, with a large glass of red in hand.