Success: Laptop Ban Lifted on Flights from Middle East to U.S.

Target: John F. Kelly, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security

Goal: Support the lift of the electronics ban on flights to the U.S. from Muslim-majority countries.

A controversial ban on any electronics larger than a smartphone in the cabin of planes departing from 10 Middle Eastern airports has officially been lifted. The electronics ban applied to nine airlines and 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries, and required laptops, Kindles, iPads, and any device larger than a phone to be transported inside checked luggage rather than carried onto the plane. The U.S. government claimed that this ban was implemented to protect passengers from explosives hidden inside the electronics. The move was met with backlash, including petitions like this one at ForceChange.

Experts were skeptical of the reasoning behind the ban. They argued that a bomb hidden in a laptop would be just as successful in the cargo hold as in the cabin, and might actually be easier to smuggle aboard. It would also increase the risk of accidents caused by burning batteries, since in the cargo hold the burning would go unnoticed.

But the ban, implemented in March, has now officially been lifted. A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security wrote, “With enhanced security measures in place, all restrictions on large PEDs announced in March for 10 airports/9 airlines have been lifted.” The new security measures will take effect at all 10 airports affected by the ban. Sign below to support this decision.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Kelly,

Lifting the electronics ban on flights from Middle Eastern airports and airlines is a responsible and necessary move that was long overdue. Many experts expressed concern that a bomb hidden inside a laptop or other electronics larger than a smartphone—which the ban required be transported in the cargo hold instead of the cabin—would be just as effective inside checked luggage as in a carry-on.

The ban was not only ineffective but counterproductive. According to Philip Baum, editor of Aviation Security International, “Encouraging people to check laptops, and other such items, into the luggage hold simply makes the [security] challenge even harder.” It also increased the risk of accidental cargo fires.

Protecting airline passengers is important, and thorough security measures at airports are a much better way to ensure that happens. I support the Department of Homeland Security’s lift of the laptop ban.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Clément Alloing

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One Comment

  1. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    laptops are legal on other airlines.

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