US and UK ban on electronics during flights

by Jack Long and Connor Robinson

The US and UK banned electronics larger than a smartphone from being used in an airplane’s cabin. The ban only concerns inbound flights on nine airlines operating at ten airports located in the Middle East. The Turkish government expressed anger after the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul was included in the US ban. The Turkish government called for the US to overturn the ban.

Some see this ban as extreme, but with the rise of terrorist attacks that rely on clever ways of disguising explosives such as underwear, laptops, shoes, soda cans, many others hope the US and UK ban will be effective. However, with laptops and other devices now being checked into the luggage hold, rather than carry-on, the ability for airport security to adequately protect airplanes becomes minimal. Whereas carry-on items can be scrutinized carefully, bags for the luggage hold aren’t as rigorously checked, leading many security analysts such as Philip Baum, editor and chief of the Aviation Security magazine, to question the well-intentioned law.

Baum believes that not only will airplanes be less safe, but he also realises that thieves will have easy targets at baggage claim with thousands of dollars worth of electronics sitting waiting for them at every arrival. Airlines are scrambling to alert passengers on the new rules, making sure their devices are kept in checked baggage only and not allowed in the cabin. With no information detailing why the restrictions were put into place so suddenly, it seems the intelligence community seems sure that larger electronics could be used to harm passengers and planes that they were allowed to be carried onto, but until more details are released the reason remains classified.

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