Airline Electronic Device Ban — Know Before You Go

The United States announced on March 21 its intentions to ban carry-on electronic devices larger than a smartphone on flights entering the country from eight Middle Eastern countries. The eight countries on the U.S. list are — Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. The measures were taken after intelligence reported that the Islamic State was developing bombs to be disguised as batteries for electronic devices. Airlines were given four days to comply with the new requirements. After the U. S. ban, the U.K. followed with a similar ban. The British ban includes six countries — Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Tunisia. Travelers should be aware of how this affects their business and recreational travel.


The ban restricts passengers from carrying on any electronic device larger than a smartphone. The exact size has not been specifically announced in the U.S. but the U.K. has defined this as smartphones and devices larger than 16 cm (6.3 inches) long, 9.3 cm (3.7 inches) wide, and 1.5 cm (0.6 inches) deep. Examples of electronic devices that must be checked in and are banned from the cabin include, but aren’t limited to:

  •  – Laptops
  •  – Tablets
  •  – E-readers
  •  – Cameras
  •  – Portable DVD players
  •  – Electronic game units larger than a smartphone
  •  – Travel printers/scanners


The U.S.-imposed restriction applies to only flights on certain carriers. It does not affect American-operated airlines because they do not fly directly to the U.S. from the eight countries. The ban applies to flights to the U.S. departing from these airports:

  •  – Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) in Amman, Jordan
  •  – Cairo International Airport (CAI) in Cairo, Egypt
  •  – Ataturk International Airport (IST) in Istanbul, Turkey
  •  – King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  •  – King Khalid International Airport (RUH) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  •  – Kuwait International Airport (KWI) in Kuwait City, Kuwait
  •  – Mohammed V Airport (CMN) in Casablanca, Morocco
  •  – Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Doha, Qatar
  •  – Dubai International Airport (DXB) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  •  – Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The U.K. measures affect both domestic and foreign airlines, including British Airways. Foreign airlines affected by the order include:

  •  – Turkish Airlines
  •  – EgyptAir
  •  – Royal Jordanian

Additionally, the ban affects direct flights to the United Kingdom from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia.


Airlines were notified of the ban on March 21 in the U.S. and given four days to comply with the new carry-on requirements. Qatar Airways and EgyptAir announced they would begin enforcement of the carry-on ban starting March 24. Turkish Airlines and Emirates have said they will begin on March 25, with other airlines expected to comply with the measures by March 25.

Neither country has stated how long the ban will be in effect. All that has been stated by DHS is that the procedures will “remain in place until the threat changes.”


To avoid being affected, travelers should avoid flights that connect in the stated countries and airports. Alternatively, they should make connections in a non-named third country when traveling to the U.S. or U.K. from one of the listed countries or airports. Airline passengers traveling from these airports and countries may still place their electronic devices in their checked baggage under increased security measures.

Altair Global will continue to follow all developments on this ban and communicate any changes to our clients. If you have immediate questions, please contact your Altair Global representative or your travel advisor.


Published On: March 24, 2017

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