In March 2017, a ban on electronics was implemented covering US-bound flights from a number of Muslim-majority countries. In this ban, passengers are not allowed to carry electronics that are larger than a smartphone or an ordinary cell phone. This was a measure to curb terrorist threats; especially where small bombs are concerned. The most recent developments have confirmed that the Trump administration may be considering extending the laptop ban to cover all international flights to and from the United States.
The Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in an interview stated that the terrorism threat was highly potent. Kelly said that there is a real obsession by terrorists to bring down US carriers. Terrorists are even more content when they target flights with mainly western passengers. Recently, there were discussions between US and EU officials discussing how this would affect travel and whether it was necessary. However, there is no conclusive decision yet in this respect. This proposal has elicited many reactions and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is not too pleased. According to this body, an extended ban will cost travelers $1.1 billion every year.
IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac stated that alternative measures should be considered before going forward to impose and implement the ban. These alternative measures could include developing better screening machines. However, expanding the laptop ban is not just about terrorism. According to statistics by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), airplane fires that involve lithium batteries are becoming a real threat. In the first half of 2017 alone, these batteries were responsible for 17 fires. With all the above information, the business traveler can only benefit from heightened security measures.
However, the ban may prove costly to the traveler if the statement by IATA is anything to go by. All in all, the ban expansion has not been decided; and this could go either way. Travelers should keep up with the latest to ensure that they know what to carry and what not to carry for their travels. In addition, knowing the airports that will be affected if the ban becomes a reality is crucial. The bottom line is that, it is better to be safe first. If this ban comes to effect, flying can only be more secure. However, most people would prefer the employment of better screening gadgets to ensure optimal security. Companies that make these security machines are reportedly working round the clock to develop solutions that can allow better and more effective screening.