We’re following a breaking developing story on rumors and news tid bits that are being leaked out that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has imposed new very strict rules on hand carry items on US bound flights from a select number of cities/countries which affects several airlines.
Various news outlets are carrying the story and there are some known developments on the issue through Twitter, though nothing concrete has been announced as yet by either government agency.
What We Know:
According to the London based Guardian newspaper the TSA has “secretly” advised 13 airlines that new special restrictions were to take into affect within 96 hours regarding the carriage of electronic devices in hand carry baggage.
As of now only Amman based Royal Jordanian Airlines has publicly announced the new measure through a tweet. That post has since been deleted. Skyteam member and Delta partner Saudia Airlines has also commented on the issue indicating that the airline was affected by the new measure as well through unofficial means with several officials within the airline leaking the information out.
So far what has been reported is that the new restriction solely involves electronic devices allowed into the cabin:
The requirement forbids passengers from bringing laptops, iPads, Kindles and even cameras larger than mobile phones into the cabin. All such devices must be checked in.
It is also being reported that the new regulations do not include medical devices (pacemakers, hearing aids, etc) of any kind and will still be allowed into the aircraft cabin.
The news is being treated as a “circular” – which means that no public regulation is being introduced per se, but airlines will be expected to strictly follow and enforce the new rule.
When pressed on the issue, all spokeperson David Lapan from the DHS could say was:
“We have no comment on potential security precautions, but will provide any update as appropriate”
According to the Guardian report of the matter, a bit later another US official on terms of anonyminity further added:
By Monday afternoon, a US official had briefed Reuters that the ban followed a “terrorism threat” and was expected to be announced on Tuesday
Also to be clear, as things currently stand no American airline is expected to be a part of this new ban. All we have heard is that 13 airlines – all foreign – will be affected.
So there you have it. The situation is as clear as mud at the moment, but we’ll keep you posted as things becomes clear and more details are revealed in the coming hours.
What To Do:
So we know that 13 airlines are affected, and we know that oneworld member Royal Jordanian and Saudia Airlines are specifically affected.
That leaves 11 more to be announced.
Given the nature and origin of these two airlines, we might expect airlines based in the Middle East and North/East Africa region to be also affected and included in this ban, though we have absolutely no confirmation of such details right now.
What we’d reccomend is that if you are booked or confirmed on any airline based around Jordan or Saudi Arabia, including on any of the big “Middle East 3” – Emirates, Qatar or Etihad – check with the airline by calling them directly and then double check with your local airline office at your point of origin just exactly what’s going with these new regulations. Its extra helpful to call the local office of your airline as they will have better knowledge of what the new procedures might be at your airport of departure.
If you are a Delta or American elite it might be helpful also to call your ‘home airline’ directly to see if you’re booked on an international codeshare flight with any airline that possibly might be affected.
Furthermore, if the 96 hour implementation rule is indeed true, not only will it be important for you to contact your airline right away, it would be prudent for you to get to the airport earlier than usual if you might be on an affected flight just in case the roll out is a mess (very well might be) or procedures take longer since enforcing this new carry on ban will most likely be cumbersome.
Expect and prepare for delays.
Unfortunately, that’s all we can report on for now as information is sparse and isn’t being released in a steady or organized fashion.
Watch this space – we’re closely following this news story and will do so through Tuesday to see what else comes out – we’ll post updates on here as they become available.
Featured image credit: NBC Philadelphia