U.S. Homeland Security chief John Kelly has still not confirmed his decision on extending a ban on larger electronic devices on airplanes.
This ban was expected on Friday and it is still looking “likely” according to a spokesperson on Tuesday. European Union and U.S. officials met yesterday (Wednesday) to discuss airline security.
Why are laptops being banned on these flights?
Laptops are already banned on flights out of the Middle East based on fears that terrorists have found a way to convert laptops into bombs capable of bringing down an airplane.
Why Is This Worrying?
This ban could possibly cause danger on flights. Checked Laptops and tablets means that electrical items with a history of lithium-ion battery fires could set off a deadly fires that will be impossible to contain.
What Will The Impact Of This Ban Be?
The impact of this ban would be huge. Currently the Middle Eastern/North African ban only impacts around 50 flights operated by nine airlines. A European ban would affect an average of 400 flights per day from 49 airports operated by 53 airlines. Over a year that is around 30 million people flying to the United States from Europe.
The Australian Prime Minister said that they may also ban passengers from bringing laptop computers into the cabin on some international flights.
“We are looking at it very closely, taking into account all the information and advice we are receiving internationally and working very closely with our partners,”
When Will It Happen?
It seems inevitable that this ban will come in to fruition in the near future, perhaps within days, if not weeks. The impact will be massive for flyers and may well impact their choice of airline.
In-flight entertainment will be come a much more important factor in choosing flights and the volume of business travellers flying may even drop. This drop would be caused by the inflight down time – work can no longer be completed on-board, so the “cost” to a company of sending employees or business leaders transatlantic will have to take in to account the downtime of that person while airborne.
What can I do?
One answer, if you can’t do without your laptop, is to travel via Canada and then transfer (or drive) down to the US. Air Canada that has recently launched a new Executive Pod as part of their Business Class offering, which is very good. Another option is British Airways which also offers a reasonable long-haul Business Class offering directly into Canada. From there you can take a short domestic flight down to your US destination.
You may be interested in my airline comparisons including Business Class on United Vs Delta Vs American Airlines, top 10 Best Business Class airlines for long haul travel and the best airlines to travel to Europe in Business Class.