As from Tuesday 21 March the US and UK Governments announced some new regulations that will affect travellers to both countries. Both the UK and USA have imposed a ban on the carriage of certain electronic devices on flights that originate in certain countries / ports.
As From 22 March there is some additional information. As it is the airlines' responsibility to manage these new regulations, some carriers have been demonstrating different interpretations of the new rules - for example, Emirates (EK) has advised that it will not permit bluetooth headphones on board the affected flights as part of the ban. Other carriers may not have specifically listed these items as banned.
There are similarities in the rulings from the two Governments but important differences also:
- The USA and UK have essentially banned any electronic devices larger than 16cm x 9.3cm from being carried as hand luggage in the airline cabin:
- Electronic game devices - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
- Travel printers and scanners - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
- Cameras and lenses – please check with the airline directly regarding specifications
- Tablets / iPads / Kindles / eReaders – larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
- Laptops - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
- Portable DVD players - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
- Bluetooth headphones – please check with the airline directly
- Customers will likely hear directly from their carrier(s) - the airlines are responsible for enforcing these rules so one carrier may have a slightly different interpretation to another.
- The USA has banned these items in the cabin of any direct flight from the following ten cities to any port in the USA. The US ban takes effect from 25 March 2017.
- Dubai, UAE (DXB)
- Abu Dhabi, UAE (AUH)
- Cairo, Egypt (CAI)
- Istanbul, Turkey (IST)
- Doha, Qatar (DOH)
- Amman, Jordan (AMM)
- Kuwait City, Kuwait (KWI)
- Casablanca, Morocco (CAS)
- Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (JED)
- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (RUH)
- The UK has banned these items in the cabin of any direct flight from the following six countries to any port in the UK. ◾Egypt
- Saudi Arabia
- UK will allow the airlines to implement this themselves but we should assume it is effective immediately.
- Please note that Australia - UK services via DXB, AUH and DOH are NOT affected as UAE and Qatar are not included in the UK ban.
- Smartphones, cell/mobile phones are permitted.
- Medical equipment will be permitted but must be cleared by the carrier.
A direct flight is any flight that operates as a single flight number from one of the listed ports to the US or UK. It will also affect customers who transit in these ports and originate from somewhere else.
- A customer travelling SYD - DXB - NYC (who is transiting in DXB) will be subject to the ban because although they are changing aircraft in DXB, their luggage will transfer automatically. We must assume that they will not be permitted their electronic devices on the first sector as they will not be permitted on the second one.
- A customer travelling SYD - DXB - NYC (who is stopping in DXB) will be permitted their electronic devices on the SYD - DXB service but not on their separate DXB to NYC flight.
- A customer travelling on EK205 (DXB - MXP - NYC) will be subject to the ban even if they are disembarking in Milan as this is a single flight number between DXB and NYC. A customer whose journey originates in Milan on EK205 may not be subject to the ban but should check directly with Emirates to confirm.
Below is a list of traveller concerns and recommended steps:
- Business travellers who need to work on the flight and require their laptop or iPad - the only option will be to take paperwork on board or change route/carrier. Normal change and cancellation fees will apply but please speak to the carrier(s) about options.
- Business people or Government employees who are required to carry their work laptop with them at all times as per their employer's policy - as above, please explore alternative options.
- The security of items in the aircraft hold - this must be referred back to the airline(s).
- Lithium batteries in check-in luggage - for some time now we have been advised that lithium batteries should not be transported in the hold of an aircraft. Please refer to the airline(s) about the safe carriage of lithium batteries.
- Customers travelling on 'seat only' fares who do not have check in luggage - please refer to the airline(s) for clarification and their individual policy.
If you are impacted and need assistance please contact your FCM Travel Manager.