US & EU Not Banning Laptops On Planes… Yet

from the stay-tuned dept

Last week there were reports claiming that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was just about ready to ban any laptops from being in the passenger cabin on any flights between the EU and the US. As we pointed out this made no sense, even if there were credible reports of terrorists turning laptops into bombs (as the rumor goes). The plan was supposedly set to go into effect last Thursday, but on that day DHS said it hadn’t made a final decision yet. Of course, apparently some over eager airline employees had official signs printed up claiming the ban was already in place (leading to later apologies).

Apparently, the decision not to implement the ban came because EU officials were not thrilled with the idea and wanted to discuss — leading to a series of meetings. Of course, that also allowed time for the airline industry to snap to attention and announce that such a ban might cost travelers around $1 billion. Admittedly, there may be some dubious math involved… but it’s fairly obvious that such a plan would lead to all sorts of problems for travelers — from general lost productivity, to delays and confusion around checking the laptops, to broken, lost or stolen computers and more.

At least for now, we can breathe a sigh of relief that the EU/US meetings have ended without a plan to ban laptops on planes… though such a plan could always pop out again in the near future (and, it will almost certainly happen if there is an airplane bombing). And, of course, there’s still the ominous “other measures” still being considered:

US and EU officials have decided against a ban on laptops and tablets in cabin baggage on flights from Europe.

But after a four-hour meeting in Brussels to discuss the threats to aviation security, officials said other measures were still being considered.

Air travel security theater continues to be the worst security theater.

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Comments on “US & EU Not Banning Laptops On Planes… Yet”

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Roger Strong (profile) says:


My opinion on the carry-on electronics ban depends ENTIRELY on whether it extends to VR helmets.

Good, cheap VR helmets from several manufacturers are hitting the market later this year. Including models that don’t need to be tied to a desktop or laptop PC.

Which means that in five years your flight could be full of people wearing VR helmets, their arms flailing in all directions.

This is a small price to pay to stop that.

Anonymous Coward says:


“Air travel security theater continues…”

Well, yeah, sort o’, but this looks more the the TSA with a Trump rebranding, i.e., bolder, brasher, less well-informed, and not taking any external consultation before the announcement…you know, Tweetable.

Can we start call the Trumpster “Tweetie” yet?

Anonymous Coward says:

>Which means that in five years your flight could be full of people wearing VR helmets, their arms flailing in all directions.

At the rate airline seats are shrinking, in five years your flight attendant could be saying, “please take shallow breaths only for the duration of this flight, so as to give your neighbors’ diaphragms room to expand.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: replacement

Domestic liability per ticketed passenger (not per bag) is $3,500. Per the airline: “Maximum liability is not automatic — damage or loss value must be proven.”

International liability per bag is $640.

No excess valuation is available.

And, I quote, the airline “is not liable for loss, damage, or delay of baggage that may result from a security search conducted by any local, state, or federal agency.”

Good luck with your $640 repayment for your laptop/data recovery/your time.

Berenerd (profile) says:

Ok, so I hand in my laptop, it has something not detected that will go boom (honestly, wiring a laptop to meltdown and have some clothing soaked in a light fluid could pass inspection) and then just punching a button on your cellphone… I don’t see what this is saving. If *I* can think of this, I am sure anyone else can be and anyone with enough money is already planning. At what point do we say, “Listen, we fly or we die, I take that risk.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Storing laptops in the cargo hold could be even less safe. Who will notice if a laptop develops a fault? If a battery catches fire or explodes? It’d be noticed much sooner in carry-on baggage and dealt with appropriately. This is why unconnected Li-Ion batteries are usually no longer allowed on passenger flights.

And that’s without even going into the inevitable lost/stolen/damaged cargo claims.

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