U.S. Planning to Ban Laptops from Aircraft Cabins on All Flights

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has revealed in a recent interview on Fox News Sunday that laptops may soon be banned from aircraft cabins on all flights into and out of the country, as part of a ramped-up effort to protect against potential security threats, Reuters is reporting. Kelly added that the government is planning to “raise the bar on airline security”, including strict screening of carry-on baggage.

Laptop

Kelly explained that the move would be part of a broader airline security effort to combat what he called “a real sophisticated threat”, although he said no decision had been made as to the timing of any ban. “That’s the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it’s a U.S. carrier, particularly if it’s full of U.S. people”, said Kelly.

“We are still following the intelligence,” he said, “and are in the process of defining this, but we’re going to raise the bar generally speaking for aviation much higher than it is now.”

Airlines are concerned that a broad ban on laptops may erode customer demand. But none wants an incident aboard one of its airplanes. 

“Whatever comes out, we’ll have to comply with,” Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines (UAL.N), told the company’s annual meeting last week. “We’ve had constant updates on the subject,” he said. “We know more than most. And again, if there’s a credible threat out there, we need to make sure we take the appropriate measures.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. government banned large electronic devices in aircraft cabins on flights from 10 airports, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Turkey.

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  • sukisszoze

    The thought of putting a laptop inside a checked bag is scary enough. Should be interesting on how this gets implemented with travellers with no checked baggages.

  • Spiffy

    The likelihood that you are flying across an ocean to leave or come to the US without checked luggage is probably low. Now if they implement this on domestic flights I would think there is a conspiracy with the airlines to drive up profits — then you are going to need to check your luggage and that will cost.

  • ae

    I go on lots of short 2-3 days business trips to the states. And I definitely prefer not to check in my small luggage.

  • Decodering

    There are lots of business people who only go to the US for the day or an overnight stay that would likely not have any checked baggage.

    Maybe it’s an unwarranted suspicion, but this whole laptop ban sounds contrived. First it only affected trips to and from certain countries that happened to be the target of a controversial immigration ban (a policy that has twice been struck down by the courts), and now they want to ban laptops generally regardless of the country. It just sounds like Homeland Security is trying to find a way to implement the ban it really wants so that it doesn’t look like the ban it really wants.

    It seems to me that, were the security threat real, the international intel community would be actively involved and that this would be implemented by more countries than just the US (although I thought I read a while back that Canada was willing to follow suit if the Americans enacted the laptop ban). But the hard part is that it’s impossible to make an informed judgement on the matter, leading people to speculate and maybe let their inner conspiracy theorist get the better of them. ????

  • KBlazer07

    This will not happen. Airlines will be getting sued all the time for “missing” laptops.