This story was updated at 10.45am, 22nd March 2017: The UK government has followed the US by announcing a cabin ban on laptops and tablets of a certain size on direct flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, according to the BBC.
Officials in the US yesterday claimed bombs could be hidden in a series of devices. The government has described the move as "necessary, effective and proportionate". Unlike the US, the UK has not yet given a start date for the ban (in the US it is this Saturday) but Downing Street claims airlines are "in the process of implementing it".
The ban applies to any device larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide or 1.5cm deep. While this does include smart phones, most fall inside these limits. Larger items must be placed in the hold luggage.
British Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "We understand the frustration that these measures may cause and we are working with the aviation industry to minimise any impact."
Original story published 2.50pm, 21st March 2017: Are you planning on travelling from some countries in the Middle East and North Africa to the U.S.? Well, you might not be able to bring some electronics in your carry on due to a new ban imposed by the U.S. government.
Citing unspecified threats, the Trump administration issued a rule barring passengers on nonstop, U.S.-bound flights from eight countries from bringing laptops, tablets, electronic games, and other devices on board in carry-on bags.
Passengers flying to the United States from 10 airports will be allowed only cellphones and smartphones in the passenger cabins, senior Trump administration officials said. Larger electronic items must be checked.
The rules took effect Tuesday morning and airlines will have until 7 a.m. GMT this Saturday to implement them or face being barred from flying to the United States, the officials said.
They said the decision was prompted by "evaluated intelligence" about ongoing potential threats to airplanes bound for the United States. The officials would not discuss the timing of the intelligence or if any particular terror group is thought to be planning an attack.
The Trump administration officials briefed reporters on the condition that they not be identified publicly. That was despite President Trump's repeated insistence that anonymous sources should not be trusted.
The electronics ban affects flights from international airports in Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. About 50 flights a day, all on foreign carriers, will be impacted. The officials said no U.S.-based airlines have nonstop flights from those cities to the United States.
Brian Jenkins, an aviation-security expert at the Rand Corp., said earlier that the nature of the security measure suggested that it was driven by intelligence of a possible attack. There could be concern about inadequate passenger screening or even conspiracies involving insiders — airport or airline employees — in some countries, he said.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly phoned lawmakers over the weekend to brief them on aviation security issues that have prompted the impending electronics ban, according a congressional aide briefed on the discussion. The aide was not authorised to speak publicly about the issue and spoke on the condition of anonymity.