Certain pieces of technology will soon be forbidden from hand luggage, airlines confirm.
US President Donald Trump’s latest visa ban might currently be frozen, but another incoming rule is set to cause travel disruption for Middle Eastern travellers – including those from the UAE.
From this week, the US will imminently ban passengers departing from a number of MENA nations from carrying laptops, tablets and even Kindles in their hand luggage.
Instead, travellers will have to check in any electronic items larger than their mobile phone (and just pray they don’t get damaged in the baggage handling process).
The ban, which has been devised in reaction to an unspecified terrorism threat, was announced on Tuesday and will come into effect on March 25.
The 10 countries affected are Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Morocco and Qatar.
The airports affected are Cairo International Airport (CAI) – Egypt, Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) – Jordan, Kuwait International Airport (KWI) – Kuwait, Mohammed V Airport (CMN) – Morocco, Hamad International Airport (DOH) – Qatar, King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED) – Saudi Arabia, King Khalid International Airport (RUH) – Saudi Arabia, Ataturk International Airport (IST) – Turkey, Dubai International Airport (DXB) – United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) – United Arab Emirates.
Passengers travelling from those airports – even if only passing though on transit – will have to check in items such as electronic game devices, portable DVD players, e-readers and cameras for US-bound flights, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed.
The news was also confirmed by Emirates Airline, which revealed the ban will be in place for at least six months.
“Emirates can confirm that as per the new security directive issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), electronic devices larger than a cell phone/smart phone, excluding medical devices, cannot be carried in the cabin of the aircraft,” a spokesperson said.
“The directive comes into effect on 25 March 2017 and is valid until 14 October 2017. It is applicable to all US-bound passengers from Dubai International Airport, whether originating or transiting through.
“Emirates requests that all passengers travelling to the US pack all electronic devices larger than a cell phone/smart phone in their checked-in baggage.”
A DHS spokeswoman said the government “did not target specific nations. We relied upon evaluated intelligence to determine which airports were affected.”
We’ll keep you updated with more information when we have it…