The United States is considering expanding the ban on electronics bigger than a smartphone to include Europe rather than just flights from the Middle East and Africa, according to a report yesterday by CBS News.
While no official announcements have been made, flights from Europe, including possible routes from the United Kingdom, will reportedly “likely” be added to the ban, it said. A final decision could be made in the next few weeks.
In a statement to CBS, the Transportation Security Administration said it is “continuously assessing security directives based on intelligence and will make changes when necessary to keep travelers safe."
The TSA isn’t the only group expecting an expansion. American Society of Travel Agents senior vice president of government and public affairs Eben Peck told TMR in April that “there is a very real chance that the ban on in-cabin electronics on certain inbound flights could be expanded.”
The original ban was executed by the Department of Homeland Security in March. It officially limited passengers on nine carriers — Egyptair, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines — to bringing nothing larger than a smartphone onboard.
No U.S. airline was affected by the original ban, as none flies nonstop from the 10 cities included. That would change should the ban be expanded to European flights.
The United Kingdom quickly matched the U.S. ban after it was announced, declaring that any device larger than 6.3 inches by 3.7 inches will not be allowed in a plane’s cabin on U.K.-bound flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
Canada tightened its travel rules shortly after, explaining that it had imposed similar restrictions for flights from other countries but wouldn’t identify which countries were included.