• New Electronic Device Restrictions on Certain US- and UK-Bound Flights
  • May 10, 2017
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • New guidelines from the United States and United Kingdom prohibit travelers from carrying laptops, tablets and other electronic devices in the passenger cabin of direct flights from certain Middle Eastern and North African countries. Restricted devices larger than a cellphone or smartphone must be packed in checked baggage (if permitted by airline rules) and cannot be used in flight.

    Rules for Travelers to the United States

    Travelers on certain nonstop flights to the United States are prohibited from carrying any personal electronic devices larger than a cellphone into the passenger cabin. This includes but is not limited to laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, electronic game units larger than a cellphone and travel printers. Restricted devices can be packed in checked luggage if permitted by the airline.

    Cellphones and smartphones are permitted in the passenger cabin. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not imposed any specific size restrictions on cellphones or smartphones.

    Travelers on direct flights to the United States from the following international airports are subject to the restrictions:
    • Queen Alia International Airport, Amman, Jordan
    • Cairo International Airport, Cairo, Egypt
    • Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
    • King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    • King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
    • Kuwait International Airport, Kuwait City, Kuwait
    • Mohammed V Airport, Casablanca, Morocco
    • Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar
    • Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates
    • Abu Dhabi International Airport, United Arab Emirates
    The restrictions apply to all passengers on affected flights, including US citizens and members of US trusted traveler programs.

    According to the DHS, airlines were notified of the new restrictions at 3am EDT on Tuesday, March 21. Airlines have 96 hours to implement the new restrictions, but some may already be enforcing them. DHS has issued an FAQ and a factsheet on the new restrictions.

    Rules for Travelers to the United Kingdom

    The UK government will prohibit travelers from carrying certain cellphones, laptops and other electronic devices onto the passenger cabin on flights to the UK from:
    • Egypt
    • Jordan
    • Lebanon
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Tunisia
    • Turkey
    Phones, laptops, tablets and other devices are prohibited if they are larger than 16cm in length, 9.3cm in width, and 1.5cm in depth. They can be packed in checked luggage if otherwise permitted. Smaller devices may be carried on board.

    The restrictions apply to all passengers on affected flights, including UK citizens and members of trusted traveler programs.

    The UK government has issued an FAQ on the new restrictions.

    What This Means for International Travelers

    According to the US government, the new device restrictions were prompted by increased concerns about attempts by terrorist groups to circumvent aviation security measures. The UK government imposed its new rules in conjunction with the US government.

    The new rules do not prohibit individuals from traveling with restricted devices, but they cannot be carried on board. Travelers should contact their airline for specific instructions on dealing with restricted devices.

    The device rules are in place indefinitely in the United States and United Kingdom. Other countries could impose similar restrictions.

    This alert is for informational purposes only.