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A new travel ban may mean laptops, tablets and other large electronics have to stay in checked luggage on non-stop flights to the U.S. from certain airports in the Middle East and Africa.
USA TODAY

U.S. travelers woke up Tuesday to the confirmation of reports that an electronics ban would affect certain flights to the United States.  Under the new “temporary” restrictions announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, personal electronics larger than cellphones will be banned indefinitely in the cabins of certain flights to the U.S.

USA TODAY has the full report on this developing story in the U.S. And the news here was soon followed by reports that the United Kingdom would issue a similar restriction.

Here’s what travelers in the U.S. need to know:

You’ll be affected if you’re flying to the U.S. from the 10 following airports:

Istanbul, Turkey; Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; Doha, Qatar; Amman, Jordan; Cairo, Egypt; Casablanca, Morocco; Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City, Kuwait.

… or if you’re flying non-stop to the U.S. on one of these nine airlines:

EgyptAir; Emirates; Etihad Airways; Kuwait Airways; Qatar Airways; Royal Air Maroc; Royal Jordanian; Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines); Turkish Airlines.

It’s worth noting that Emirates flies two routes to the U.S. – one from Milan and another from Athens – that do not leave for the U.S. from one of the airports singled out in bans. It was not immediately clear if those flights also would be included, though Emirates said on its website that the ban “is applicable to all U.S.-bound passengers from Dubai International Airport.”

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U.S. carriers do not fly from any of the affected airports, so they remain unaffected. In total, Homeland Security estimates the ban will affect about 50 flights a day bound for the United States.

Does the ban cover flights departing from the U.S. to the 10 airports? 

No. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says fliers can take laptops and other larger electronic items as part of their carry-on allowance on flights leaving from U.S. airports.

What exactly is banned? 

Laptops and larger electronics will be banned from being taken on board as carry-on luggage. Smartphones will be allowed, and Homeland Security says “approved medical devices may be brought into the cabin after additional screening.”

What is “larger than a smartphone” as it relates to the ban?

Homeland Security answers that question by saying: “The size and shape of smartphones varies by brand. Smartphones are commonly available around the world and their size is well understood by most passengers who fly internationally. Please check with your airline if you are not sure whether your smartphone is impacted. “

Can those banned electronic items be checked instead?

Customers will be able to check laptops and larger items, though experts frequently advise fliers against doing so. That’s because these typically expensive and fragile items could be a target for theft or damaged in the handling of checked bags.

When does the ban begin? 

It went into effect at 3 a.m. ET on Tuesday (March 21) morning, though the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said airlines would be given a 96-hour window to come into compliance.

How long will this last? 

“Indefinitely,” according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. However, one airline said in a communication to its customers that the electronics ban would remain in effect through Oct. 14.