After the U.S. today instituted a ban on bringing any electronics larger than a smart phone into the passenger cabin of direct flights that leave from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa, the U.K. today followed suit with a very similar ban.
The U.K. version applies to 14 airlines that operate direct flights to the U.K. out of six countries (Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia).
While there is some overlap between the airports (and hence airlines) targeted by the U.S. ban, the U.K.’s ban doesn’t only apply to laptops, tablets and portable DVD players, but also to very large phones. Those are phones that are larger than 16cm long by 9.3cm wide by 1.5cm thick. That’s bigger than an iPhone 7 Plus, so this shouldn’t affect too many devices, but the U.S. rule left some questions open whether large phablets were also banned from the passenger cabin.
Like for U.S.-bound flights, all of those large electronic devices will now have to be put into the cargo hold on inbound flights to the U.K. (where they are far more likely to get stolen).
The U.S. ban also didn’t affect any U.S. airlines, but the U.K. ban affects a total of six local carriers that operate direct flights. Those are British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson). In addition, passengers on Turkish Airways, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airways, Middle Eastern Airlines, EgyptAir, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air and Saudia are also affected.
It’s interesting to see that Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Royal Air Maroc and Ethiad, which all operate direct flights out of airports covered by the U.S. ban are not on the U.K.’s list.
The reason for the difference in airports and countries affected by this ban is largely due to the fact that many of these airlines and airports don’t operate direct flights to the U.S. but do fly directly to the U.K. According to senior U.S. administration officials, this is the result of “evaluated intelligence,” but it’s unclear if this was prompted by any immediate threats.