US prepares to ban laptops on flights from Europe

May 12, 2017 by Lorne Cook And John Leicester
In this file photo dated Thursday, March 29, 2017, airport staff inform passengers at the check in area at Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport, Morocco. European governments alarmed at a proposed expansion of the ban on in-flight laptops and tablets to planes are holding urgent talks Friday May 12, 21017, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (AP Photo/ Abdeljalil Bounhar, FILE)

The U.S. is expected to broaden its ban on in-flight laptops and tablets to include planes from the European Union, a move that would create logistical chaos on the world's busiest corridor of air travel.

Alarmed at the proposal, which airline officials say is merely a matter of timing, European governments held urgent talks on Friday with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The ban would affect trans-Atlantic routes that carry as many as 65 million people a year on over 400 daily flights, many of them business travelers who rely on their electronics to work during the flight.

The ban would dwarf in size the current one, which was put in place in March and affects about 50 flights per day from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East.

Chief among the concerns are whether any new threat prompted the proposal and the relative safety of keeping in the cargo area a large number of electronics with lithium batteries, which have been known to catch fire. American officials were invited to Brussels next week to discuss the proposed ban, the EU said.

European Commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said the EU had no new information about a specific security concern.

U.S. officials have said the decision in March to bar laptops and tablets from the cabins of some international flights wasn't based on any specific threat but on longstanding concerns about extremists targeting jetliners.

Experts say a bomb in the cabin would be easier to make and require less explosive force than one in the cargo hold. Baggage in cargo usually goes through a more sophisticated screening process than carry-on bags.

Jeffrey Price, an aviation-security expert at Metropolitan State University of Denver, said the original ban focused on certain countries because their equipment to screen carry-on bags is not as effective as machines in the U.S.

A French official who was briefed about Friday's meeting said the Americans announced they wanted to extend the ban, and the Europeans planned to formulate a response in coming days. The official said the primary questions revolved around when and how—and not whether—the ban would be imposed.

The official spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss the plan.

Jenny Burke, a Homeland Security spokeswoman, said no final decision has been made on expanding the restriction.

But Homeland Security officials met Thursday with high-ranking executives of the three leading U.S. airlines—American, Delta and United—and the industry's leading U.S. trade group, Airlines for America, to discuss expanding the laptop policy to flights arriving from Europe.

Two airline officials who were briefed on the discussions said Homeland Security gave no timetable for an announcement, but they were resigned to its inevitability. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the meeting publicly.

The U.S. airlines still hope to have a say in how the policy is put into effect at airports to minimize inconvenience to passengers. The initial ban on passengers bringing large electronics devices into the cabin hit hardest at Middle Eastern airlines.

Emirates, the Middle East's largest airline, this week cited the ban on electronics as one of the reasons for an 80 percent drop in profits last year. It said the ban had a direct impact on demand for into the U.S. and it faced rising costs from introducing complimentary laptop loans to some passengers.

Alain Bauer, president of the CNAPS, a French regulator of private-sector security agents, including those checking baggage and passengers in France's airports, predicted "chaotic" scenes initially if the ban was instituted.

"Imagine the number of people who carry their laptops and tablets onto planes—not just adults, but also children," he told the AP.

He said it would slow passage through security checks as people try to negotiate a way of keeping their laptops.

"It's not like losing your water bottle or your scissors. It will take more time to negotiate," he said.

"You need a lot of time to inform them and a lot of time for it to enter people's heads until it becomes a habit," he said. "After a week of quite big difficulties, 95 percent of people will understand the practicalities."

The head of the International Air Transport Association said recently that the electronics ban is not an acceptable or effective long-term solution to security threats, and said the commercial impact is severe.

An industry-backed group, the Airline Passenger Experience Association, said the U.S. government should consider alternatives. That could include routinely testing laptops for chemical residues associated with bombs, requiring owners to turn on their devices, and letting frequent travelers keep their electronics with them.

The group's CEO, Joe Leader, noted that airlines have reduced service by more than 1 million long-haul seats in the 10 Middle Eastern and North African cities affected by the March policy. If it spreads to Europe, "it's simply a matter of time" before laptops are banned in the cabins of domestic U.S. flights, he said.

Explore further: No electronics on some US-bound jets from Mideast, Africa (Update 3)

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18 comments

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rderkis
1 / 5 (3) May 12, 2017
Laptops and tablets banned in the cabin for children! Absolutely catastrophic! :-)
EmceeSquared
5 / 5 (5) May 12, 2017
Not just for children, for everyone, of course. Actually catastrophic, as should be perfectly obvious. In response to no specific threat. Originally "justified" because original countries have inadequate scanning, but now "justified" from countries with adequate scanning.

The damage done by this ban will be real, while the risk it mitigates is not even plausibly existent.

How are you capable of reducing that to just a sarcastic remark about children?

rderkis:
Laptops

rderkis
1 / 5 (3) May 13, 2017
How are you capable of reducing that to just a sarcastic remark about children?


Yes, Laptops and tablets banned in the cabin for ADULT Children! Absolutely catastrophic! :-)
Makes me wonder how we ever flew with out them.
Or are you one of those doomsayers "The Sky Is Falling, THE SKY IS FALLING!"
EmceeSquared
5 / 5 (4) May 13, 2017
No, people who actually work for a living. Millions of work hours a day are done with those laptops and tablets while flying. Vast amounts of business travel, and so US business, depend on those devices. That's not "the sky is falling", but it is a serious problem - with no safety benefit.

Meanwhile there's no specific threat, just the possibility that has existed since the 1980s but never been executed.

Which means the terrorists have won another big victory without firing a shot.

It's cowards without a clue how the world works like you who keep us slaves to terror.
kochevnik
May 13, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
rderkis
1 / 5 (2) May 13, 2017
Which means the terrorists have won another big victory without firing a shot.
It's cowards without a clue how the world works like you who keep us slaves to terror.


I notice you bend to the terrorists and criminals will.
Are you are hiding your name because of some irrational fear.
Does that make you a slave and a coward. Or is it just everybody else that's a slave and a coward, everybody but you?
rderkis
1 / 5 (2) May 13, 2017
Terrorism caused by governments, by definition


False news, false fact!
I love the internet.

Terrorism - Wikipedia
Terrorism is, in its broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror or fear, in order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological aim. It is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence against civilians or noncombatants.
kochevnik
not rated yet May 13, 2017
Terrorism caused by governments, by definition
False news, false fact!
I love your treacherous love of the deep state ryggie. "Terrorist" was originally a French term used to describe the government officials who created and executed oppressive tactics under the guise of keeping people safe from their enemies. Robespierre passed the 'Law of Suspects', allowing the government to essentially imprison anyone they
wanted for any reason. this period in French history became known as the Reign of Terror, or often simply 'the Terror'.

And you are fake libertarian
rderkis
1 / 5 (1) May 14, 2017
wanted for any reason. this period in French history became known as the Reign of Terror, or often simply 'the Terror'.And you are fake libertarian

You idiot, cavemen used the term to describe a person that labels everyone they didn't agree with and could not win a argument with.! = terrorist
Oh, sorry I guess we are talking now, not ancient cave man or french history.
By the way, by the cave man's definition I am a terrorist because I labeled you a idiot. :-)
koitsu
5 / 5 (2) May 14, 2017
+1 to what EmceeSquared said.

Also, some of us adult children travel to and from Europe with carry-ons only. So yeah, maybe not catastrophic but certainly a blow to productive hours plus a huge PITA for a very questionable increase in safety.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) May 14, 2017
Europeans recently banned Americans from Europe, unless they have visa. For public safety and to keep IQ above 100
EmceeSquared
5 / 5 (4) May 14, 2017
You notice nothing except the foul stench emanating from your own cowardice. I am not bending to anything, except stooping to point out *your* cowardice, applauding this fake security stunt based on no real threat that will have exactly the kind of high cost to the USA (and its associated nations) that terrorists want.

Really: show me where I am afraid of something. You are displaying your fear of made-up terrorist threats by defending this device ban, and now your fear of being shown a coward by baselessly and childishly reversing the description that clearly describes you.

rderkis:
I notice

kochevnik
not rated yet May 14, 2017
New terminal opened at LAX for rich and elite where they have viewscreen to watch you lowly plebs squirm. They can watch and laugh as your wife and children are groped. You livestock are their new entertainment

@EmceeSquared Leave rderkis be. He is a victim. That makes him a very special person, beyond accountability
rderkis
1 / 5 (2) May 15, 2017
Ok guys, let me ask (putting aside your conspiracy plots and martians) why do you think they instituted the laptop computer ban? Do they make more money?
Also I personally have never been invited to a white house security briefing, so how would I know whether credible threats were discovered? If you attended such a briefing please tell us about it and forget about jail time..
rderkis
1 / 5 (2) May 15, 2017
Really: show me where I am afraid of something


Says the man that is hiding behind a anonymous name like EmceeSquared. This has got to be the most two faced statement that I ever read on here. :-)
EmceeSquared
5 / 5 (3) May 15, 2017
How do you know I'm a man? And why would you need to know anything more about me other than what I post about these stories? Because you depend on ad hominem attacks?

Besides, "rderkis" is hardly a brave reference to contact info. Who cares?

Yours is the cowardice defending these stupid government policies that hand terrorists damaging victories without increasing security, but rather harm it. Yours is the cowardice that flees to fallacy when confronted with the simple fact that you're wrong.

And of course your cowardly positions, asserting anyone else but you is a coward, make you the most two-faced.

You're nothing but a cowardly troll. Goodbye.

rderkis:
Says the man

kochevnik
not rated yet May 15, 2017
Really: show me where I am afraid of something


Says the man that is hiding behind a anonymous name like EmceeSquared. This has got to be the most two faced statement that I ever read on here. :-)
Says the statist coward who prefers personal safety over liberty and freedom
rderkis
1 / 5 (1) May 15, 2017
Says the statist coward who prefers personal safety over liberty and freedom


A lot of slander from a person that is unable to reason. :-)
With people like him there is no middle ground because they lack reasoning skills.

Age old question.
Personal freedom or Security.

Are you free to murder whoever you want, or does the victim have the right to limit your freedom?
There is always a middle ground to consider, if your capable of considering anything.

And please don't label be with those slanderous labels, you might hurt my feelings. :-)

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