Will Laptops Be Banned on US Flights in 2018?

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At TravelManor, we always have our ear to the ground to ensure that we have the necessary up-to-the-minute information to send international business travellers off to their far-destinations armed with everything they need for a seamless travel experience. This includes a list of in-flight do’s and don’ts for Europe, Asia, Africa, and of course America.

Lately, the amendments to the US travel policy has been the talk of the business-travel town, and with good reason - forcing corporate travellers bound for America from Muslim-majority countries to check in their laptops and tablets caused costly downtime in transit and was met with widespread opposition from the international business community. However, in July 2017 the US Department of Homeland Security confirmed that passengers flying into the United States from airports in 10 Muslim-majority countries affected by the ban could now once more take their laptops and other large electronic devices into the cabin of the airplane.

So, what’s happening at the moment? It now looks like the US government wants to ban laptops from checked luggage on international flights, citing the risk of potentially catastrophic fires. This comes in the wake of a recommendation by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), who filed a study with the International Civil Aviation Organization, stating that the lithium-ion batteries in laptops can overheat, which could cause fires in the luggage space. According to the spokespeople of the FAA, there has long since been concern about the safety of lithium batteries in cargo holds on long-haul flights. They have now run tests that confirm that if a single lithium battery overheads in the hold, it can cause others in its vicinity to do the same.

So why the mixed messages? First you had to check your laptop, now you can’t? The official answer is that these directives came from government agencies with two separate missions: safety VS security. The cabin ban was ostensibly enforced to prevent devices from being used to trigger an attack; the luggage hold ban would now seek to prevent combustible materials from causing harm to airplane hardware and occupants.

Keep your eye on the blog in coming weeks and months to learn more about the proposed laptop checking ban on US flights. We will share the information on all of our relevant platforms as soon as it becomes available, so you may have plenty of time to amend your packing strategy when travelling to the USA, should the ban take effect.

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