UK joins US with flight ban on electronic devices

By David Flynn, March 22 2017
UK joins US with flight ban on electronic devices

The British government will ban laptops, tablets and other large devices from cabin baggage on direct flights to the UK from six countries in the Middle East and Africa, less than 24 hours after the US implemented a similar ban citing security risks.

However, the UK action does not include flights departing from Dubai – the hub of Qantas partner Emirates, which Qantas uses for its own daily QF1 and QF9 services to London – along with Abu Dhabi or Doha, despite those three airports falling under the USA's travel tech ban.

But flights into any UK airport departing from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia will all be covered by the new UK rules, which the Government described as "necessary, effective and proportionate".

This will include the national airlines of those countries alongside flights operated by the likes of British Airways.

Security concerns reportedly circulate around the prospect of a bomb being hidden in one or more devices, such as having its components spread over several large pieces of carry-on tech.

"Under the new arrangements, passengers boarding flights to the UK from the countries affected will not be allowed to take any phones, laptops or tablets larger than a normal sized mobile or smart phone (larger than Length: 16.0cm, Width: 9.3cm, Depth: 1.5cm) into the cabin of the plane," a UK government spokesman said. "Any such devices will need to be placed into hold luggage and checked-in before going through central security."

The UK restrictions will apply to "any phones, laptops or tablets larger than a normal sized mobile or smart phone" – with specific size limits at over 16cm long, 9.3cm wide or 1.5cm deep – and require such kit be placed into checked luggage.

"The UK ban... is not the result of a specific, identified terrorist plot, but of mounting concern in US and British intelligence circles at the ongoing interest amongst jihadist groups in the Middle East in blowing up a passenger plane in mid-air," explains BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 212

Really? UK responding in monkey see,  monkey do fashion to the USA.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Dec 2011

Total posts 11

What about cameras, the way baggage handlers throw bags around I dont think my Nikon  would appreciate getting this treatment.

OMFG!! This is ridiculous...


This is nothing else than Trumps "America First" approach trying to hit the big Middle Eastern carriers HARD and thus protecting the USA airlines.

I mean seriously;
  1. Each computer tablet is already X-RAYED on a tray on it's own, and if desired these could be enhanced to image match pre-loaded x-ray images of device types to take the human eye element out of tampering detection.
  2. They are still a risk if not more so (battery fire being undetected) when in checked baggage
  3. Since when did a Terrorist a) ever want to blow up a middle eastern (i.e. Muslim) based carrier and b) If they want to, they are smart enough to just launch an attack from a non-muslim airport.
  4. How many people in the USA have ever died from aircraft related terrorism compared to like say ALL OTHER FORMS human activity induced premature death?
I am disgusted by this move on so many levels. We have to stop this madness.

Wake up media and people that are buying the spin that this is related to an elevated security threat!!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 474

I prefer to take my advice from aviation security and intelligence experts, as both the US and UK authorities have done. Your security credentials are .....????


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1488

I do not use that stupid voting system for years, but like somehow support your post.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 474

And in answer to your ill-informed comment about terrorists supposedly never threatening to blow up aircraft from Muslim nations - if you bothered to do some research, you would learn that aircraft from Iran, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and Libya have all been hijacked by terrorists who either attempted or threatened to destroy them.

22 Jun 2013

Total posts 97

With the amount of data (work, photos, emails etc.) stored on people's laptops, iPads etc, this opens up the possibility of data theft if and when bags go missing, are lost, miss connections etc.

Not to mention the incentive it gives people to take off with bags other than their own.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

14 Feb 2014

Total posts 33

welcome to nazi usa

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 474

and Nazi UK? Or does it only suit you to bash America, for some reason?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2553

AlenB: by invoking a comparison with the Nazis you automatically lose any argument.


01 Mar 2013

Total posts 26

With this shift are travel insurance companies going to change their policy on covering laptops / tablets stolen from checked luggage? At the moment many companies consider checked luggage the same as leaving your items in a public place so do not cover for theft...

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1024

There is zero reason to ban such devices when they can use already existing screening to clear them.

Such a ban, while methods already exist to prevent such security concerns and ignoring the safety issues forcing these items into cargo holds creates, is nothing more then blatent parania and fearmongering.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1488

There are so many wonderful carriers that fly by-pass ME, so what is fuss about?
If you still remember how you where flying (if you where flying :-))) before 9-11, you better to forget it - it will NEVER came back. Period.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

17 Nov 2014

Total posts 104

For the safety of all travelling Australians, I demand the Australian government to immediately impose a similar ban on electronic devices for direct flights to/from the Middle Eastern airports, such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and other airports in the region.


13 Jun 2015

Total posts 140

Since Brexit last year, there have been lots of concerns with UK. I think that the risk of a terror plot on a flight to UK will be probable.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 504

This was just before the Parliament Attacks (I know not related to air-travel), one only wonders what they will do now.

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