A month ago, America placed a ban on all electrical appliances bigger than a smartphone in hand luggage for a number of countries. Now they are thinking about expanding this to Europe.
Whether or not to ban laptops in hand luggage to US for Europe
As mentioned earlier, travellers to the US from Egypt, Turkey, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates should not bring devices that are larger than a smartphone in their hand luggage. These devices may still be checked in beforehand so that they are not taken on to the cabin of the aircraft. This measure has been applied to avoid the use of a laptop bomb.
Prohibition for Europe
The US government is serious about introducing this ban also for travellers from Europe. Which means that we need to leave our laptops and tablets (all devices larger than a smartphone) in our suitcase so they cannot be taken in our hand luggage. Some people may have concerns, considering the risks the way suitcases are handled before and after the flight, so the measure could impose risk of damage to electronic devices or even loss of the suitcase with laptops on board.
Such a ban, of course, also brings about consequences. Just think of all business travellers flying to America. Many business people wish to work while travelling, and by this measure they could not do so.
For travellers from Dubai, the consequences are already visible. The number of passengers flying from Dubai to America has fallen considerably. In the first quarter, Dubai processed about 22.4 million passengers, up 7.4%. However, the number of travellers flying to America has fallen by 4.3%. The airport thinks this is a sign for a stronger decline due to the ban on electronic devices. Emirates airlines have announced to reduce the number of flights to America because the market demand for airline tickets has already decreased.
CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar al Baker, disagrees with the idea behind the laptop ban. He considers it a waste of time. ‘I do not think this ban was really necessary in the first place. People who want to disrupt aviation will do that by other means. Instead of the ban, they could better invest in better technologies like advanced detection equipment. If you continue working this way and ban things, you'll have passengers on board in the future who only wear underwear.’ Qatar Airways also sees the number of passengers to the US dropping, but Al Baker is not worried about it yet. ‘It's a manageable decline and people have already discovered that there are other ways to use laptops.’ It would be a drop of 10 passengers per flight.