Terror intel sparks America’s laptop, tablet airplane cabin ban: Who, what, where, why, when – The Register

From today, passengers are banned from flying into the US from specific overseas airports if their carry-on luggage contains devices larger than a mobile phone. The clampdown is a result of counterterrorism intelligence, we understand.

Electronic gadgets bigger than phones – such as laptops and tablets – must be left behind, or stowed in the hold, which is less than ideal, if you’re arriving from one of the listed airports. News of the device ban broke on Monday although details were scant.

Now senior US Homeland Security officials, who asked not to be named, have told The Register the rules follow evaluated intelligence that suggests terrorists are targeting flights with electronic devices. Specific details about any possible threats were not provided.

These fresh restrictions, which do not have a set end date and do not apply to crew members, were characterized as necessary to enhance security at specific airports. The rules do not, therefore, apply to internal flights in America. Cellular phones and essential medical devices are exempt. Laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players, and game players are among the types of electronic devices no longer allowed in airplane cabins.

The 10 airports affected by the US-levied ban are: Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan; Cairo International Airport in Egypt; Istanbul Atatürk Airport in Turkey; King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia; King Khalid International Airport in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait International Airport in Kuwait; Mohammed V International Airport in Morocco; Hamad International Airport in Qatar; Dubai International Airport, in the United Arab Emirates; and Abu Dhabi International Airport, in the United Arab Emirates. Contrary to previous reports, the crackdown affects only travelers flying to the US from these airports.

Airlines that must obey the new rules, because they run flights from the above airports to America, include: Royal Jordanian Airlines, Egypt Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Etihad Airways.

Royal Jordanian Airlines jumped the gun on Monday by advising passengers via Facebook that “carrying any electronic or electrical device on board in the flight cabins is strictly forbidden.”

The carrier said the new rules will be enforced on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. A staffer reached by phone yesterday confirmed the ban. “We received an email from the TSA,” the worker told El Reg.

Saudi Arabia’s Saudia Airlines has also acknowledged the ban with a notice to passengers that specifically mentions Kindles and iPads, as well as laptops. ®


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