If you work in the media industry and are based in the middle east, or need to transit through certain airports in the region on you way to the US or UK, you need to read this.
The United States has imposed strict new guidelines on all passengers flying out of eight Muslim-majority countries from bringing laptops and other electronics items such as cameras onboard direct flights to the United States. This ban effects Royal Jordanian, Emirates, Middle East Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, and EgyptAir.
The ban applies to nonstop flights to the U.S. from 10 international airports- Cairo in Egypt; Amman in Jordan; Kuwait City in Kuwait; Casablanca in Morocco; Doha in Qatar; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Istanbul in Turkey; and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Following closely on a similar ban imposed by the United States, the U.K has imposed the same carry-on restrictions for passengers flying on all inbound direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
Emirates is one of the largest airlines in the world and operates countless direct flights to and from the US daily. The company says the new rules currently apply until October 14 and apply to all U.S.-bound passengers, including those transiting from other departure cities. Whether this ban gets continued after that date we will have to wait and see.
According to ABC Australia, a US government source said that while the restrictions arose from multiple reports of security threats, some very recent intelligence had arrived which helped to trigger the timing of the current alert.
If you happen to be flying from countries such as Australia you may well think that the ban won’t apply to you, but if you are transiting through ports such as Dubai or Abu Dhabi en route to the UK or US, you are going to be affected. TSA recommends passengers transferring at one of the 10 affected airports place any large personal electronic devices in their checked bags upon check-in at their originating airport.
For shooters who usually take their cameras as carry-on baggage, these new restrictions are sure to cause plenty of headaches. Nobody wants to check their expensive camera or hard drives full of footage in, as there is no gaurauntee they will arrive safely, or in the worst case scenario at all. I remember flying with gear not long after the 9/11 attacks where you couldn’t take anything on board and everything had to be checked in. This meant placing very expensive cameras in huge custom cases, and hoping they would arrive at your destination intact. Often you would have to open up the side of a Digital Betacam camera and push boards back in as they had come loose during transportation.
The new restrictions are not only inconvenient for people working in the media, but they will also end up being costly too. Having to check in large cameras and other electronic equipment is going to add to your weight and only increase the over all excess baggage charges. So far there is no indication that this ban will also apply to the carry-on of lithium ion batteries.
This ban is also seriously going to disrupt major broadcasters such as Aljazeera, whose home base of Qatar is on the list. Aljazeera frequently sends crews in and out of Doha across the world, including to the US.
Department of Homeland Security Fact Sheet
Overview: Change to international travel carry-on items
Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items. Based on this information, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Transportation Security Administration Acting Administrator Huban Gowadia have determined it is necessary to enhance security procedures for passengers at certain last point of departure airports to the United States.
These enhancements apply to 10 specific airports. The affected overseas airports are: Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), Cairo International Airport (CAI), Ataturk International Airport (IST), King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED), King Khalid International Airport (RUH), Kuwait International Airport (KWI), Mohammed V Airport (CMN), Hamad International Airport (DOH), Dubai International Airport (DXB), and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).
The aviation security enhancements will include requiring that all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage at 10 airports where flights are departing for the United States.
Impacted International Flights Bound for the United States
These enhanced security measures will only affect flights from 10 of the more than 250 airports that serve as last points of departure to the United States. A small percentage of flights to the United States will be affected, and the exact number of flights will vary on a day to day basis. Airlines will know in advance which flights are affected by these measures
Large Electronic Devices
Electronic devices larger than a cell phone/smart phone will not be allowed to be carried onboard the aircraft in carry-on luggage or other accessible property. Electronic devices that exceed this size limit must be secured in checked luggage. Necessary medical devices will be allowed to remain in a passenger’s possession after they are screened.
The approximate size of a commonly available smartphone is considered to be a guideline for passengers. Examples of large electronic devices that will not be allowed in the cabin on affected flights include, but are not limited to:
Portable DVD players
Electronic game units larger than a smartphone
There is no impact on domestic flights in the United States or flights departing the United States. Electronic devices will continue to be allowed on all flights originating in the United States.
Do you live in one of the countries effected by the ban? Are the new restrictions going to effect your work? Let us know in the comments below.