In March 2017, the UK announced a cabin luggage ban on laptops and tablets on passenger flights from certain airports, following a similar move in the States.
But which airports does this apply to, and what are the exact rules for travelling with electronic devices?
What are the air travel rules on electronics?
The new UK flight rules ban large electronic devices from cabin baggage on passenger flights to the UK from six countries.
This includes large phones, all laptops and all tablets and e-readers taken onto planes.
The government said that passengers will be restricted from taking the banned items onto flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Tunisia.
What phones are banned from planes from the applicable countries?
Most smart phones are allowed in the cabin, along with any medical devices required by customers.
Passengers will be able to take on board a number of popular devices, including the, iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z2.
The UK measures mean that phones that are larger than the following dimensions are not permitted:
- length – 16.0cm
- width – 9.3cm
- depth – 1.5cm
If you have purchased an electronic device larger than the above dimensions from duty free, you will not be allowed to take them in the cabin.
These items will be placed in the hold, regardless if they were bought from the airport or from home.
What items are now banned under the new air travel rules?
Passengers are barred from taking in the cabin devices that are “larger than a normal sized mobile or smart phone”.
You can still take these devices on holiday with you, but they have to go in the hold area in your checked luggage.
The government website states that cameras are not covered by the new restrictions.
These items are examples of banned items but it has been made clear this is not an exhaustive list:
- Portable DVD players
- Electronic game units larger than a smartphone
- Travel printers/scanners
Which airlines are affected by the air travel rules?
In the UK, 14 carriers including Easyjet, British Airways, Jet 2, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson flights will be affected.
Airlines which fail to comply with the new rules will be barred from flying to the UK.
The intital ban is now in full force, according to travel fare website Sky Scanner.
Passengers on Easyjet flights from Turkey and Egypt to the UK must put large electronic devices, including e-readers, in the hold.
The airline said passengers would face extra security checks and advised them to arrive early at their airport.
BA has issued a notice to passengers saying passengers would now face additional searches and questions, and were likely to be called to their boarding gates earlier.
Since late March customers travelling from Turkey have begun to face extra security checks and the new hand luggage restrictions.
It says it will increase the paid-for hold luggage allowance by 3kg free-of-charge to allow for the extra weight of electrical devices.
The airline runs a summer service from Turkey from 29 April, so no flights were affected until then.
Customers flying to the UK from Turkey and Egypt should pack devices into their hold luggage to be checked in before going through security.
The airline said it was “currently working through operational plans and the best way” to notify affected customers.
What happens if you are on a connecting flight?
The rules apply to the “last point of departure airports”.
So if you change onto a plane at one of the affected airports for the last leg of your journey, you could be affected by the new rules.
Speak to your airline to find out how the rules will affect your journey.
Which airports are affected by the new UK air travel rules?
For UK-bound travellers, it affects six countries:
- Saudi Arabia
Which airports are affected by the new US air travel rules?
The new rules affect 10 airports in eight countries, if you are flying to the US:
- Queen Alia International, Amman, Jordan
- Cairo International Airport, Egypt
- Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
- King Abdulaziz International, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- Kuwait International Airport
- Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco
- Hamad International, Doha, Qatar
- Dubai International, United Arab Emirates
- Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates
Brits flying to America may soon be forbidden from using their laptops, tablets or Kindles on board flights after the US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly revealed he was considering a blanket ban.
Kelly was asked on Fox News whether he would expand the ban to cover laptops on all international flights into and out of the US.
His answer: “I might.”
How will the laptop ban affect your travel insurance?
Brits travelling to the US are being warned that their travel insurance may not cover the gadgets they have to put in hold as a result of the laptop ban.
Mark Shepherd at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said: “Passengers travelling from the affected countries with laptops and tablets should check their policy and speak to their travel insurer to double-check what cover they have for valuables placed in the hold.
“Wherever possible travellers should keep valuables, including tablets and laptops, with them on flights and, if travelling from destinations affected by the new regulations, it may be sensible to leave valuables at home.”
Why have the new travel rules been created?
US officials stated bombs could be concealed inside electronics such as laptops, tablets and cameras.
In March, The Department of Homeland Security announced the ban after revealing that extremists are seeking “innovative methods” to bring down jets.
In a statement, The Department of Homeland Security said: “The US government is concerned about terrorists’ ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years, as evidenced by the 2015 airliner downing in Egypt; the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia; and the 2016 armed attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul.
“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.”