U.S. bans electronics on direct flights from Qatar (and 9 other Muslim countries)

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 By Wajeeha Malik

Electronic items larger than a cell-phone will have to be checked in and not brought as a carry-on by all Qatar Airways passengers flying to the U.S starting Saturday, March 21, 2017. This includes laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, electronic game units larger than a smartphone, and travel printers/scanners.

The U.S. ban was revealed Monday, but news reports today state that passengers flying from several cities in the Middle East to the United Kingdom have also been prohibited from carrying most electronic devices onboard. However, the U.K. ban does not apply to Qatar. The six countries affected by the U.K.’s ban are Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia.

According to a fact sheet released by the U.S. Homeland Security on March 21, these security measures “will only affect flights from 10 of the more than 250 airports that serve as last points of departure to the United States. A small percentage of flights to the United States will be affected, and the exact number of flights will vary on a day-to-day basis. Airlines will know in advance which flights are affected by these measures.”

The statement also said that it’s “necessary to enhance security procedures for passengers at certain last point of departure airports to the United States.”

Major airports affected by the ban include Hamad International Airport in Doha, along with Dubai International Airport, UAE; Abu Dhabi International Airport, UAE; Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul, Turkey; Queen Alia International Airport, Amman, Jordan; Cairo International Airport, Egypt; King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Mohammed V Airport, Casablanca, Morocco and Kuwait International Airport, Kuwait.

In a statement, Qatar Airways said: “Effective March 21, 2017, in accordance with new United States government regulations, all passengers travelling on United States-bound flights are prohibited from carrying any electronic devices on board the flight larger than a cellular phone or smart-phone, with the exception of medical devices needed during the flight, spare lithium batteries, or power banks.”

The ban is in place indefinitely, according to Doha News. 

However,  an ILQ team member traveling to the U.S. on Thursday, March 23, 2017, was advised by  Qatar Airways staff upon check-in that it was preferable for external battery packs to be carried on-board the aircraft in hand luggage. 

If you’re planning to travel to the US soon, Qatar Airways has “made special arrangements to assist passengers in securing their devices in the aircrafts' baggage hold”. Visit their website to learn more about these arrangements.

What are your thoughts on these latest regulations? Tell us how you will be affected in the comments below and don’t forget to give us a like and a share – it keeps us going!

(Editor's Note: This article has been updated at 10:50 a.m., on Thursday, March 23, 2017, to reflect new information on external battery packs on Qatar Airways flights.)

 

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