United States to ban some airline passengers from carrying electronics after 'terror threat'

A scenic view of aircraft flying overhead

Following a ban imposed on eight North African and Middle Eastern nations, the British government has banned electronic devices in the carry-on bags of passengers traveling to the United Kingdom from six countries.

According to a USA official quoted by Associated Press, the ban is applicable to all direct flights to the U.S. from the following countries: Cairo, Egypt; Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Istanbul, Turkey; and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

No U.S. airlines are involved because they don't offer direct service to the U.S. from the targeted airports, U.S. officials said.

The US administration voiced concern about ongoing threats to commercial aviation, using the Russian plane that was downed in Egypt and one in Somalia as cause for concern, along with the attacks at airports in Belgium and Istanbul. They will have to check their laptops, tablets, DVD players, cameras, even portable gaming units.

United States airlines are not affected because they do not fly nonstop from the countries involved.

The US move was prompted by reports that militant groups want to smuggle explosive devices inside electronic gadgets, officials said. The US restriction affected only carriers of the Middle East and North Africa, no European or US airlines were included since they don't fly those Middle East-to-US routes.

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In July 2014, the Homeland Security Department stepped up security of USA -bound flights, requiring tougher screening of mobile phones and other electronic devices and requiring them to be powered up before passengers could board flights to the United States. No US airline will be affected.

The restrictions will not apply to USA -based airlines but only to foreign carriers that operate flights from certain countries directly to US airports, according to officials, and will not apply on purely domestic flights.

Phones, laptops and tablets larger than 16.0cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm are not allowed in the cabin on flights to Britain from the six countries.

Federal officials have just announced a new ban on large electronics coming into the USA from eight Middle Eastern countries.

According to the Associated Press, the countries include Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

The airline also indicated that the policy will go into effect on Tuesday March 21, 2017.

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