Ban on laptop, iPad in flight cabin: If you are flying with Emirates or Etihad, should you worry?
Indians travelling to the US via the Middle-East will likely have to pack their electronic devices such as laptops and cameras in their check-in luggage. But Indian aviation authorities say those travelling directly to the US from India will face no such ban.india Updated: Mar 23, 2017 09:56 IST
The Trump administration’s restrictions on carry-on electronic devices on planes coming to the United States are expected to impact hundreds of Indians who regularly transit through airports in the Middle East where the new rules are applicable.
On Tuesday, the US department of homeland security said passengers travelling from 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries would have to bring devices such as tablets, laptops and cameras in their checked baggage.
The restrictions were prompted by reports that militant groups want to smuggle explosive devices in electronic gadgets, US officials told reporters. The airports are in Egypt, Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The new regulations are expected to impact Indians transiting through some of these airports, such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE and Istanbul in Turkey, while travelling to the US.
An official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the country’s aviation regulator, told Hindustan Times it had not yet received any official communication on the rules.
“But what we have learned is that airlines are responsible for imposing the ban. Passengers travelling directly to the US from India are not affected,” the official said.
“But if they are travelling via the Gulf or any of the eight countries where the ban is imposed, then the passengers have to keep the electronic devices other than mobile phones in the checked baggage. We are not issuing any advisory as of now,” the official added.
An Air India official said the airline only has direct flights to the US and would not be hit by the restrictions. “However, if we receive any advisory, we will act accordingly,” the Air India official said.
Some private Indian airlines, which operate flights to the US, said they too were yet to receive any advisory from their partner airlines.
US officials said the decision had nothing to do with President Donald Trump’s efforts to impose a travel ban on Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Two federal judges have halted parts of the ban, saying it discriminates against Muslims.
The airports affected by the restrictions are served by nine airlines that fly directly to the US about 50 times a day. The carriers – Royal Jordanian Airlines, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways – have till Friday to comply with the new policy that will be in place indefinitely.
The US department of homeland security has not ruled out expanding the restrictions to other airports.