The Electronics Ban is History For Now

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The Electronics ban on flights to the US is officially history—for now. Saudia announced on Twitter it has had its ban lifted by US authorities. Shortly afterwards, Saudia confirmed in a press release that “King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) in Jeddah and King Khalid International Airport (RUH) in Riyadh have completed inspection and clearance has been granted by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to permit portable electronic devices (PEDs) on board flights to the United States.”

Saudia Electronics Ban Removed

The Ban

The ban, which came into force in March 2017, affected 8 airlines flying from 10 different airports in 8 countries; it applied to the following airports:

  • Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) – Jordan
  • Cairo International Airport (CAI) – Egypt
  • Ataturk International Airport (IST) – Turkey
  • King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED) – Saudi Arabia
  • King Khalid International Airport (RUH) – Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait International Airport (KWI) – Kuwait
  • Mohammed V Airport (CMN) – Morocco
  • Hamad International Airport (DOH) – Qatar
  • Dubai International Airport (DXB) – UAE
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) – UAE

The initial problem with the ban was that there was no way around it, there were no specific measures the affected airlines or countries could take to get the ban lifted. This led to some innovative customer focused initiative by the airlines to reduce the effects of the ban. Qatar and Etihad started lending customer tablets, while Emirates introduced gate checking for devices and then provided customers tablets for the duration of the trip.

At that point, the situation seemed bleak with no possibility of winning a reprieve from the ban. Finally, in early July 2017, the Department of Homeland Security released new requirements for security procedures on flights to the US. The new guidelines affect more than 2,100 flights per day heading to the US, and countries and airlines had 120 days to implement the new procedures.

Now that airlines had a solution that they could implement, the race was on to have the ban lifted; the first was Etihad in Abu Dhabi, which is no surprise since it has a CBP Pre-clearance facility. Following that came Emirates and Turkish Airlines. After this, the bans were being lifted thick and fast with airlines announcing an almost daily reprieve from the ban. Qatar was swiftly followed by Royal Jordanian and Kuwait. Then came Egyptair and Royal Air Maroc, and finally at the tail-end, Saudia.

Is The Ban Totally Over?

Simply put yes and no. It is over for flights to the US, however, the UK which brought in a similar ban at the same time has not lifted any of its restrictions so far. Even though the ban affects slightly different countries, there is some overlap with the US ban. Currently, the UK ban applies to flights from the following countries:

  • Turkey
  • Lebanon
  • Jordan
  • Egypt
  • Tunisia
  • Saudi Arabia

So far there is no news about the UK lifting its ban anytime soon.

Another possible problem lying ahead is the fact that the ban seems to have been lifted in response to the new security procedures. Considering how many airports and countries these procedures affect, it is highly possible that at the end of the 120-day implementation period, there will be airports/countries failing an inspection, which will have a ban imposed on them.

Overall

It is great news that this ban is now history, hopefully, it will remain so in the long run since it caused some serious transatlantic friction, with European regulators having some serious concerns about the fire risk caused by having so many lithium ion batteries in aircraft cargo holds. For now, it seems there is a system that if followed, countries can escape the ban. Only time will tell if another ban is around the corner due to increased threats or other security considerations!

Source: Saudia

The Electronics Ban is History For Now
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Comments

  • Thank goodness. I’m flying back from Beijing on August 2. I will report how it is to get through security with a laptop.

  • Good riddance to a bogus ban.

  • This is good news that we can bring on our iPads,etc….bad news that we’ll have to spend even more time at the airport. Really some person needs to work their brain cells (mine are gone ;o)) and come up with a way that we don’t have to spend more time at the airport than on a flight.

  • I hope this ban can be totally lifted, including in the U.K. As an online college teacher, I need my laptop with me everywhere I go! On some trips I take two, a small 11′ and a large 17″ to be able to access classes frequently. This ban was my worst nightmare come to reality.

  • Any word on the UK version?

  • good riddance

  • This ban is over but they will find surely some additional complications for passengers!
    What about the problems at the security checks?
    It seems that some test have certified a lot of leaks in the procedures.

  • i will hate the security lines coming into the US if this mess grows

  • All stupid ideas get found out soon enough!

  • Makes you wonder why it was enforced in the first place

  • Wonderful that the US has finally lifted this ban. Now time has come for the UK to follow suit.
    It would also be nice if the lifted the “liquid and gels” limit, or only made it applicable to the same countries that they banned the onboard electronics?

  • I’m so glad that’s over with.

  • I felt this was a short term problem for travelers. Glad a solution has been found. Heard more restrictions on inbound overseas flights coming over next few years.

  • that’s good (i hope)

  • Glad to hear this annoying ban has been lifted – but as a Brit, I’m dismayed that it’s still in place in the UK. Isn’t the lifting of the ban a tacit acknowledgement that it wasn’t necessary in the first place?

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