It has been announced this week that the UK government has placed a ban on laptops and tablets being brought into the cabin on inbound flights from certain countries. This follows on from a similar move by the US with the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, saying “our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals.”
Whether you agree with this decision or not – and it has raised some controversial issues – us travellers need to be in the know for when we go through security. Although this currently only affects flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia it’s believed that these restrictions are also being considered in other European countries.
Which items are affected?
UK guidelines state that nothing bigger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide or 1.5cm deep (6.2 ins x 3.6 ins x 0.5ins) will be allowed into the cabin.
This means laptops, tablets and even some smartphones although the bigger phones such as iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge will be allowed.
However if you’re a Kindle owner you may have to consider paperback books in the future as these are too large and won’t be permitted.
Why is this happening?
The US Department of Homeland Security said terrorists “continue to target commercial aviation” and are trying to find “innovative methods” to make attacks.
Although appearing to follow in the US’s footsteps, UK Government sources stress the decision was not connected to Donald Trump’s ban on citizens from Muslim-majority countries travelling to the US.
This move, effective immediately, is a response to a general concern about evolving terrorist methods.
What are my alternatives?
In a technological age the thought of being gadget-less for prolonged periods of time might set your nerves on edge. Here are some ideas to pass the time:
- Talk to people. Who knew this method of communication was so effective. Exchange some travel stories – you may even end up with some helpful tips from a fellow traveller.
- Take a good book. We don’t have enough time these days to sit and enjoy a novel so relish this time. Finish it while you’re away and you can leave it in your hotel for the next guest; a little present from you to them and not something you could do with a Kindle.
- We all love a good wordsearch so pick up a pocket sized puzzle book from the airport newsagents and test yourself before your holiday begins marking the start of total brain relaxation.
- A pack of cards has endless opportunities for hours of fun. Get a score card going and the person who wins has to carry the bags when you land… what better incentive!
So don’t be put off by this new aviation rule, after all it’s affecting six of the biggest UK airlines – British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson, so there’s no escaping.
Just be prepared, know your dimensions and it’ll be plain sailing (or flying) all the way.