Homeland Security bans laptops and tablets on direct flights to the U.S. from eight Middle East countries

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued new guidelines for travelers carrying electronic devices when flying to the US directly from eight Middle East countries. According to the new rules, if you are carrying any electronic device bigger than a smartphone, you will be required to stow it away with your check-in luggage. Join us after the break for more details.

Basically, the ban means that if you are carrying an e-reader, laptop, tablet, portable gaming device, camera, or travel printer, you’ll have to stow the devices in your check-in luggage. You will not be permitted to take them with you to your seat onboard the plane.

The move affects the following ten airports in eight Middle Eastern countries:

  • Queen Alia International Airport, Amman, Jordan
  • Cairo International Airport, Egypt
  • Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
  • King Abdulaziz International, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait International, Kuwait
  • Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco
  • Hamad International, Doha, Qatar
  • Dubai International, United Arab Emirates
  • Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates

US-based airlines don’t fly directly from the airports listed above and so aren’t affected, but the following Middle Eastern airlines will be affected by the ban: Royal Jordanian, Royal Air Maroc, Egypt Air, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Etihad Airways, and Kuwait Airways. Airlines have until Friday, March 25, to fully comply with the guidelines, if they don’t adhere to the ban they could lose their license to operate in the US.

The Department of Homeland Security gave its reasoning for the ban below:

“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items. Based on this information, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Transportation Security Administration Acting Administrator Huban Gowadia have determined it is necessary to enhance security procedures for passengers at certain last point of departure airports to the United States.”

Update: It appears that the UK has issued a similar ban:

Source: Department of Homeland Security, BBC

About the Author: Peter Holden

He's been an Android fan ever since owning an HTC Hero, with the Dell Streak being his first phablet. He currently carries a Pixel 2 XL, Huawei P20 Pro, and a Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 around in his pockets. When not immersed in the world of Android and gadgets, he's an avid sports fan, and like all South Africans, he loves a good Braai (BBQ).