The Trump Administration has enacted a new flight restriction that will ban passengers from carrying electronic devices larger than a cell phone on some foreign flights to the U.S., The New York Times reports. The restriction will affect passengers traveling from ten airports in eight majority-Muslim countries that officials feel may not have the best airport security.
Apparently, the ban is not in place because of any specific threat of attack from any of the countries. It is only in place to cover gaps in the security at the affected airports. It is currently unclear how long the ban will be in place and if any other airports will be added to the current list.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the list of restricted items will include laptops, printers, tablets, cameras and games. Officials told reporters that aircraft crews will not have to follow these restrictions. It will also apply only to foreign airlines, not American-operated flights coming from the affected locations. Basically, only cellphones and smartphones will be allowed in passenger's carry-ons, according to The Boston Globe, and larger devices will need to go in checked baggage.
The ban went into effect at 3 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday. Affected airports and airlines must enact the ban within four days. These airports include Amman, Jordan; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the Times says. About 50 flights a day will be affected.
Passengers have been quick to protest this new ban on devices. Many are not happy about going on hours-long flights without laptops or tablets. Not only does this limit entertainment options for passengers, but many take these flights for business-related events, like conferences.
It is also possible that the ban will harm the airline industry, a logical concern. If people cannot use devices on certain flights, they will likely try to find other flights to get to the U.S. or choose not to travel to the U.S. at all.
Former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff told the Times he thinks the ban will protect the safety of passengers flying from airports with limited security screening, especially given the threats aircrafts get about explosives. However, the ban does not affect checked baggage, so some think explosive devices will still cause a problem despite the ban.