Starting this week, passengers on nonstop flights into the United States from 10 airports in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey will no longer be able to carry on board any electronic device larger than a smart phone. This includes laptop computers, e-readers, tablet computers, cameras, DVD players and game players.
The Department of Homeland Security says that these items may be checked inside checked luggage. The restriction applies to all passengers, including U.S. citizens, regardless of trusted traveler or frequent flier status.
Click here for a full list of banned items on these flights.
The 10 airports affected are:
- Abu Dhabi and Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Amman, Jordan
- Cairo, Egypt
- Casablanca, Morocco
- Doha, Qatar
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Kuwait City
- Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
No U.S. air carriers serve these airports nonstop, so the affected airlines are all overseas carriers:
- Egypt Air
- Etihad Airways
- Kuwait Airways
- Royal Air Maroc
- Royal Jordanian
- Saudi Arabian Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Turkish Airlines
Collectively these airlines operate about 50 daily flights into the U.S. The airlines were notified at 8AM Eastern Time on March 21 and will have 96 hours (until 8AM Eastern on March 25) to comply, D.H.S. says.
Overall there are about 250 overseas airports with nonstop flights into the U.S.
Why the new regulation? “We have reason to be concerned about attempts by terrorist groups to circumvent aviation security and terrorist groups continue to target aviation interests,” the statement says.
No such restrictions are being implemented within the U.S. “Security procedures, both seen and unseen, are in place to mitigate the risk to flights in the United States,” the statement says. Same goes for other airports around the world.
How long will these restrictions stay in place? “Until the threat changes,” D.H.S. says.