Europe Electronics Ban Scrapped (for now)
According to BBC News, the United States & European Union have rejected expanding the laptop ban to flights from Europe. The ban could still be implemented, but for now the talks are stalled. This is positive news as this would have had a detrimental impact on those traveling from Europe to the United States. There is the risk of transporting volatile lithium batteries in the cargo hold, and also the nightmare of trying to corral everyone’s electronic devices into their checked bags. The extra staff to implement the ban in Europe would have been incredibly expensive, and a huge burden to place on US and European carriers.
The electronics ban from the Middle East and North Africa to the US is still in effect, and I experienced it earlier this month on my flight from Qatar to JFK. It was a real mess at the gate. Airline & airport staff had passengers go through additional TSA-like security screening (shoes off) at the gate. You also had to check all your electronics at the gate. It took an additional 20-30 minutes for me to actually board the aircraft. It was not the most organized affair.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Is the EU dragging it’s feet in the implementation of the ban? I’m sure the European airports and airlines don’t want to deal with the extra costs of additional screening. Right now, there is not enough information to get a clear picture of what exactly is going on. Let’s all be thankful we can avoid checking our electronic gear for the time being.