Change Your Altitude

*Update* Confirmed: 9 Airlines from 10 Airports Will be Affected by New Electronics Carry On Ban

We reported earlier in the morning about rumors and some leaked information regarding a new very stiff carry on restriction for flights departing from specific airports in the Middle East and North/East Africa.

Unfortunately for a vast number of people, the information turns out to be true.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has confirmed as much this morning. The United States government, at the behest of the Trump administration has formally given a 96 hour window for airlines and airports to implement and adhere to the new strict carry on ban. With such a short lead in time, the situation is surely to be a bit chaotic for the first few days of implementation and will affect a very large number of passengers given the airports and airlines that have been formally named. 

Official: The Carry On Restriction

This still hasn’t been made explicitly clear, and has left some things open to interpretation. But here’s what is being widely reported at the moment:

Examples of large electronic devices that will not be allowed in the cabin on affected flights include: laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, electronic gaming units larger than a smartphone, and travel printers/scanners.

Official: Airports Affected

This new restriction will affect less airlines and airports than originally suspected, but will most likely affect a massive amount more of passengers given which airports have been included on the list:

  • Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar (DOH)
  • Dubai International Airport, UAE (DXB)
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport, UAE (AUH)
  • Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul, Turkey (IST)
  • Queen Alia International Airport, Amman, Jordan (AMM)
  • Cairo International Airport, Egypt (CAI)
  • King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (JED)
  • King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (RUH)
  • Mohammed V Airport, Casablanca, Morocco (CMN)
  • Kuwait International Airport, Kuwait (KWI)

The first four airports mentioned will hit the global airline travel industry and flows hard given the scope and size of these respective world hubs.

Official: Airlines Affected

The airlines that are now under this new severe carry on restriction on all their US bound flights are:

  • Royal Jordanian (RJ) – oneworld member and American Airlines codeshare partner 
  • Egypt Air (MS) – Star Alliance member and United Airlines codeshare partner
  • Turkish Airlines (TK) – Star Alliance member and United Airlines codeshare partner
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines (SV) – SkyTeam member and Delta Airlines codeshare partner 
  • Kuwait Airways (KU)
  • Royal Air Maroc (AT) – JetBlue codeshare partner 
  • Qatar Airways (QR) – oneworld member and American Airlines codeshare partner 
  • Emirates – (EK) – United Airlines, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, Virgin America and Hawaiian Airlines codeshare partner  
  • Etihad Airways – (EY) – American Airlines, JetBlue codeshare partner 

It is very important to note that if you are booked on a codeshare flight with any of these partner airlines but are actually on a flight operated by any of the above mentioned airlines, you will be affected by the ban and will need to plan accordingly.

Reminder: What To Do

  • You absolutely must check, call or converse with any of the airlines mentioned above if you’re booked with them within the next day or so on a US bound flight. 
  • Given that Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad – some of the largest transit carriers in the world – are on this new list, you must also ensure what the procedures are for checking in from an origin destination that is not on the airport list but involves a transit in any of the abovementioned airports.
  • Double check flight codes and ensure you know exactly what airplane/airline you’ll end up on. You could have a UA code and actually end up on an affected Emirates flight, or a AA flight number that’ll actually be on Royal Jordanian or a DL issued ticket that’s actually on Saudia Airlines. Double, triple check so that there’s no nasty surpirses at the airport.
  • Arrive early, regardless of your point of departure, even if it includes a transit at a hub – because most likely you won’t be the only one affected by these new regulations. There’s likely to be confusion, chaos and delays so be prepared.


The Takeaway:

This is still a developing story and we’re struggling to make sense of it all, especially given some of the airports inlcuded on the list. Places like Dubai, Doha or Istanbul are puzzling given that all countries are staunch allies of the United States and feature world class hubs that transfer millions upon millions of passengers a day. Abu Dhabi was entrusted with US immigration pre-clearance facilities (service which remains the same) so that’s also odd that AUH would be included. What’s also questionable is the exlusion of other airports and airlines that have direct service to the United States – but that’s something not for this venue to disucss.

The manner and timing of which these new restrictions have been put in place as well as just how clear the implementation plan of it all is going to work are also massive, life sized question marks. For instance, it hasn’t been made clear just when you have to relenquish your larger electronic devices. Or where it might take place depending on transit points.

Given this, there’s alot to be said about how this is being rolled out and how it’s being handled given the confusion around the topic, with no clear direction being laid out.

Regardless, surely a lot of people traveling to the United States will be affected by these changes – keeping in mind no United 1K or Delta Plat Medallion traveling to the US from these destinations on these airlines will be able to do any sort of work inflight now with their laptop in the cargo hold. There will be added layers of scrutiny and stress on any first time fliers on Emirates or Qatar Airways flying with valid visas to the US.

We’ll see in a couple days how this rolls out and just how effective it is and how much disruption it will cause.

We will also see just how devastating this is for the transfer business of airlines such as Emirates, Turkish, Qatar and Etihad – some of the world’s largest airlines and buyers of American made Boeing aircraft.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated as we get new or breaking information.

Are you affected by these new restrictions? Please keep us posted as information becomes available and what you’re being told real time versus what we’re hearing from news and information that’s being posted around.  


Featured image credit: AFP

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