The current ban on laptops on designated U.S.-bound flights from the Middle East and Africa might be expanding to include flights from Europe and the United Kingdom.
According to a Monday report by CBS News, officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are considering the benefits and possible travel disruptions associated with broadening the electronics ban, with officials meeting with U.S. airlines to weigh the issue.
CBS News noted that a decision could be forthcoming in the next few weeks.
“We have not made any decisions on expanding the electronics ban; however, we are continuously assessing security directives based on intelligence and will make changes when necessary to keep travelers safe,” a Transportation Security Administration spokesperson said in a statement.
In March, the DHS implemented an indefinite ban prohibiting passengers on designated U.S.-bound flights from carrying electronic devices larger than a cellphone — such as laptops, tablets, cameras and portable DVD players — into airplane cabins. Banned electronics can be stowed in checked luggage.
The new policy applies to 10 airports in Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.
The DHS has previously noted that the ban could be expanded in response to intelligence indicating that terrorist groups are “aggressively pursuing innovative methods” to get explosive devices onto commercial flights.
Although the U.S. government is concerned about terrorists hiding explosives in consumer electronics and attempting to build bombs with little or no metal, travel advocates worry an expanded ban will be detrimental to global business and tourism.
Some airlines affected by the ban have offered alternatives for passengers such as loaning out laptops for use on flights or allowing passengers to check large electronics at the gate just before boarding.
H/T: The Hill
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