So if you can’t just ban people from Muslim countries, what if you can just ban them from bringing any electronic device larger than a smartphone into the cabin of an airplane? That’s exactly what the US Department of Homeland Security did yesterday. Indefinitely.
The new order bans laptops, DVD players, handheld games, cameras and tablets. In short, it bans anything outside of books and smartphones that will keep your kids busy on a long, long flight. The banned airports include:
- Queen Alia International, Amman, Jordan
- Cairo International, Egypt
- Ataturk International, Istanbul, Turkey
- King Abdulaziz, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- Kuwait International, Farwaniya, Kuwait
- Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco
- Doha International, Qatar
- Dubai International, United Arab Emirates
- Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates
It only affects direct flights from those predominantly Muslim departure ports. As Gizmodo pointed out though, the ban includes Abu Dhabi International, where a large number of business travelers rely on pre-clearance that allows them to go through US Customs before even boarding a flight.
Even more curious is that, as we’ve all come to know, the size of a device has little to do with what it can do. If, say, a bad person wanted to do something with a 10-inch tablet, it’s virtually certain he or she could do the same with a smartphone running the same operating system.
Unless, of course, we’re talking about explosives, which is what British Intelligence and American officials say the ban is aimed at. Remember the underwear bomber? Turns out suspected bombmaker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri is believed to be helping groups like Al Qaeda fit explosives into smaller and smaller packages, including electronics.
John Pistole, who led the Transportation Security Administration under Obama, is a fan of the new electronics bans, saying, they “are both an actual physical deterrent and an overall deterrent so the bad guys see this and say, ‘They’re onto us.’ That’s a win for the good guys.”
Affected Airlines include: Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Turkish Airlines, Royal Jordanian, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Royal Air Maroc and Kuwait Airways. According to the BBC, six UK Airlines are also affected, including British Airways, EasyJet, jet2.com, Monarh, Thomas Cook, and Thomson.
Good luck out there, travelers.