Middle East, African Airlines Impose Restrictions on Electronic Devices on U.S. Flights

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Royal Jordanian’s won’t be allowing mobile phones, tablets and laptops in economy class for U.S.-bound flights, according to published reports. Royal Jordanian Airlines

Skift Take: This new policy on electronic devices, if the published reports are true, seems like an over-reach in terms of passengers' safety and security.

— Andrew Sheivachman

Several reports have surfaced that more than 12 airline carriers operating routes from the Middle East and Africa to the U.S. have placed new restrictions on electronics in their cabins.

A now-deleted tweet from Royal Jordanian Airlines detailed new restrictions “from the concerned US departments” that have led the airline to ban electronics in the cabin, other than smartphones and medical equipment, on routes to and from U.S. cities. All of the electronics banned in the cabin, however, can be placed in checked luggage.

When asked for more details by Skift, the airline replied via Twitter that the information in the image was all it had received so far.

Queries to the Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) turned up nothing except a no comment from DHS: “We have no comment on potential security precautions, but will provide any update as appropriate.”

It looks like U.S. airlines are not anticipating being affected by the ban. “We don’t anticipated any changes to American operated flights,” said an American Airlines spokesman.

CNN aviation editor Jon Ostrower quoted an unnamed government official who said the ban is intended to increase security for a short period of time, and that U.S. airlines are not affected because they offer no direct flights to the Middle Eastern and African cities in question.

An article from The Guardian states that the TSA sent the affected airlines a confidential email detailing the security changes. While not a new public regulation, the email represents a stipulation that airlines will need to follow.

An unnamed official told Bloomberg that the ban has been in work for weeks and that Homeland Security director John Kelly briefed lawmakers on it over the weekend.

This story will be updated with more details as they emerge.

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