US to ban some passengers from bringing certain items into airline cabins

Published: 21 March 2017

plane

Passengers flying non-stop to the US from eight Middle Eastern and North African countries will soon be temporarily banned from taking most electronics – excluding mobile phones and approved medical devices – in their carry-on luggage, after an apparent undisclosed terrorism threat.

US officials are set to make the announcement as early as today.

The ban means laptops, tablets, cameras, and other electronics will have to packed in checked luggage.

Royal Jordanian Airlines and Saudi Airlines both announced the change to customers, saying at the request of US travel authorities, its passengers must obey the new rules starting Tuesday.

US officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the Travel Security Administration declined to comment. 

According to reports, flights leaving 10 airports in eight countries will be affected, including Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, as well as Royal Jordanian’s flights to New York, Chicago, Detroit and Montreal.

The other six countries have not yet been named.

A US Congressional aide speaking on the condition of anonymity said US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly briefed lawmakers on aviation security issues that prompted the electronics ban over the weekend.

The ban has been “considered” for several weeks, another official said.

Aviation security expert Brian Jenkins of Rand Corp said the ban was likely driven by intelligence of a possible terrorist attack, and US officials may also be concerned over inadequate passenger screening, and ‘insider’ cooperation between passengers and airport or airline employees in certain countries.