Trump's Laptop, Tablet Ban On Flights From Europe Delayed -- For Now

So, what happens if there's a ban on having laptops, tablets and other gear like that banned from the cabins of global flights to the U.S.?

While existing curbs on some services from the Middle East and North Africa affect 350 USA -bound flights per week, extending it to the 28 European Union states plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland would impact 390 a day, or more than 2,500 a week, the International Air Transport Association estimates. However, officials said that other measures are still being considered, though they failed to elaborate on what these measures might be.

The dialogue was robust and collaborative, according to a US senior administration official speaking to reporters at a briefing.

He said: "We don't doubt the security threats that have led to consideration of extending the ban on devices, but we urge the authorities to carefully assess the additional fire risk from storing more PEDs in the hold to ensure we're not solving one problem by creating a worse one".

Instead, IATA proposed airports introduce more in-depth pre-flight screening rather than forcing passengers to give up their devices.

The airline industry came out against the proposal in a strongly worded letter that said it would cause a severe downturn in trans-Atlantic air travel and cost travelers more than a billion dollars in lost time.

The U.S. official addressed one of the concerns being raised by airlines and aviation safety groups: the potential for raising the risks of fires by placing more volatile lithium-based batteries into the cargo holds of airliners.

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At a four-hour meeting in Brussels, the United States agreed not to impose a blanket ban.

It's estimated roughly two-thirds of travellers on transatlantic flights fly with an electronic device larger than a cellphone, which would mean checking all carry on bags would require an increase in security.

Laptops and other devices bigger than a smartphone were initially banned from 10 airports in the Middle East as well as North Africa. "It's a disaster", said Vijay Aggarwal, CEO of xCelor, who travels extensively between Europe and the U.S.

While IATA's recommendations were intended specifically to forestall any expansion of the current ban, they are also clearly intended as an alternative to the existing USA and United Kingdom restrictions. "Europe is a not only a huge ally and trading partner, but European travelers spend $60B annually in travel to the USA; this is a move that nearly guarantees a drop in travel, which has downstream impact on American jobs". USA officials called the threat critical but stopped short of any new action.

Britain followed with a similar ban applying to incoming flights from six Middle East and North African countries.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc took part in what U.S. officials said were four hours of "robust" talks with a USA delegation led by Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke.

Almost 400 flights leave Europe for the USA each day, carrying about 85,000 people, according to airline industry and US government figures.

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