Update On The US And UK Electronics Ban

Update as of July 23 2017:


Travelstart is pleased to announce that Emirates, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Etihad Airways and Saudi Arabian Airlines have all had the US Electronics Travel Ban fully lifted on their flights to the USA.

It has been approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to permit passengers to carry personal electronic items on board U.S.-bound flights, departing from Doha, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Istanbul and King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.

Effective immediately, the removal of the restrictions allows passengers flying to the US to carry all laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices onto the aircraft, subject to enhanced security measures.

Background to the ban:

On the 21 March the US Department of Homeland Security declared a ban on all electronic devices larger than a smartphone as carry-on luggage on flights to the US from certain hubs in the Middle East and North Africa. The UK quickly followed with similar restrictions. In the following article Travelstart seeks to answer all your travel queries arising from these unusual travel restrictions.

UK Electronics Restrictions

The UK followed with its own ban on devices larger than 16cm x 9,3cm x 1,5cm on flights from Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other countries that do not have services to SA namely Tunisia and Lebanon.

The UK has not included flights from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha in the ban.

Am I affected if I am flying to the UK from SA?

Yes, you will be affected if you are flying to the UK via Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia with the exception of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.

The carriers listed below are affected by the ban:

Image courtesy of CNN

Airports affected by the UK Ban:

· Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco

· Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey

· Cairo International Airport, Egypt

· Queen Alia International, Amman, Jordan

· King Abdulaziz International, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

· King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

· Kuwait International Airport

· Hamad International, Doha, Qatar

· Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates

· Dubai International, United Arab Emirates

What you can do to protect your baggage:

  • Have your bag wrapped, particularly if you’re going through OR Tambo International Airport.
  • Make sure your electronics are insured before departure.
  • Revise your travel insurance policy.
  • Cushion your electronics to prevent damage.

Carriers such as Qatar Airways are providing special assistance to passengers securing their devices in the aircraft’s baggage hold.

What is the reasoning behind the ban?

Officials say this is not a power play by the Trump Administration. According to the CNN an “aviation official informed CNN that he was told firsthand by an intelligence official that this electronics ban was not a ‘political move'”. The ban has been enacted due to rising security concerns.

Security experts both agree and disagree with the ban- proponents of the ban say that an explosive in the hold is much more difficult to detonate remotely. Opponents say this ban singles out specific airlines and countries unfairly, is xenophobic and is unlikely to make flying safer as it is technically equally possible to use a smartphone as a weapon as it is to use a larger electronic device such as a laptop.

Our Readers Comments

  1. We are sitting at ORT and nobody has a clue what is happening … This article is contradictory … First you say Qatar is not affected, then you do?!?!?!? Qatar check-in knows nothing … I phoned someone at Travelstart, who told me that Doha and Qatar were affected, and she advised me … based on my travel reference number, to put my electronics in my case. I am freaked out now. She was going to call Qatar tomorrow to get clarity … Too late for me!!!!

    • Hi Ann,
      I’m sorry to hear about the confusion, the article clearly states that Qatar is affected by the electronics ban: “If you have a flight booked to the US and you’re travelling on Emirates, Qatar, Etihad, Turkish Airlines, Saudia Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian and EgyptAir you will need to observe the restrictions.”
      Kind regards,

  2. No Computer is safe in the suitcase – either will be stolen or broken due to thieves or total lack of care when loading or unloading luggage. Why not just block all forms of communication within the cabin like it was many years ago.

  3. Please advise on departing the UK for Cape Town on Turkish airlines via Istanbul. Do the same restrictions apply. Urgently answer please

    • Hi Sue,

      As per the Blog this following is mentioned:

      “You may carry your electronic devices on board flights ex South Africa, up until Istanbul Ataturk Airport.

      At the boarding gates in Istanbul for your onward journey to the USA and UK these prohibited electronic devices will be handed to the ground handling staff who in turn will place these devices in special packaging to securely stow these prohibited devices in the aircraft hold.

      On arrival these devices will be taken to a designated zone in the baggage reclaim area for passenger convenience. Kindly be advised that all valuable items checked in will be at your own risk and should be declared with the relevant insurance companies prior to travelling.”

  4. Hi there

    You say that Dubai is an exception from the list:

    Yes, you will be affected if you are flying to the UK via Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia with the exception of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.

    And then you list Dubai as affected by the Ban
    Airports affected by the UK Ban:
    · Dubai International, United Arab Emirates

    So are you affected or not when flying through Dubai or Abu Dhabi from SA?

    • Hi Hanri,

      Emirates Update:
      Emirates Customers can use their electronic devices till the last possible moment at their Dubai International Airport (DXB) boarding gate if they need to. They can then hand them into Emirates care just before boarding their US bound flight.

      Special boxes will be available at the boarding gates, to secure and stow these banned devices in the aircraft hold. There will be no additional baggage charge to pack these banned items. These boxes will have priority and will arrive before checked baggage at the other end.

Have something to say...