Travel Alert

Travel Alert: USA and UK Ban Electronics on Flights

22 Mar 2017

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The UK and US Governments have banned electronic devices larger than a phone in the cabins of direct flights that originate in parts of the Middle East and North Africa.

Banned devices include tablets, laptops, portable DVD players and more. Smartphones and mobile phones are permitted. Medical equipment is allowed but must be cleared by the carrier.

The US has banned the devices on direct flights to any port in the US from 10 cities, including: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Istanbul, Doha, Amman, Kuwait City, Casablanca, Jeddah and Riyadh. The US ban is effective from March 25, 2017.

The UK has banned the devices on direct flights to any port in the UK from six countries, including: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey. UK airlines will implement the ban, but travellers should assume it is effective immediately.

Australia-UK services via Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha are not affected, as the UAE and Qatar are not included in the UK ban.

Travellers’ nationality, age, gender, employment or cabin type will not make any difference.

A direct flight is any flight that operates as a single flight number from one of the listed ports to the US or UK. The ban will also affect customers who transit in these ports and originate from somewhere else:

• For example, a customer travelling Sydney-Dubai-New York (who is transiting in Dubai) will be subject to the ban because although they are changing aircraft, their luggage will transfer automatically. We must assume that they will not be permitted their electronic devices on the first sector as they will not be permitted on the second one.

• A customer travelling Sydney-Dubai-New York (who is stopping in Dubai) will be permitted their electronic devices on the Sydney-Dubai service but not on their separate Dubai-New York flight.

• A customer travelling with Emirates on EK205 (Dubai-Milan-New York) will be subject to the ban even if they are disembarking in Milan, as this is a single flight number between Dubai and New York.  A customer whose journey originates in Milan on EK205 may not be subject to the ban but should check directly with Emirates to confirm.


*Update 24/03/17: Each airline carrier may have a different interpretation of these restrictions; as an example, Emirates (EK) has advised that it will not permit bluetooth headphones on board the affected flights as part of the ban. Please check directly with your airline to specifiy restrictions. 


Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions, valid at time of publication – please contact your airline for any further clarification.

USA Electronics Ban

What flights are affected?

Customers travelling on direct services to the USA from any of the following 10 cities will not be permitted to carry most electronic devices in the cabin with them:

  • Abu Dhabi, UAE (AUH)
  • Dubai, UAE (DXB)
  • Amman, Jordan (AMM)
  • Istanbul, Turkey (IST)
  • Cairo, Egypt (CAI)
  • Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (JED)
  • Casablanca, Morocco (CAS)
  • Kuwait City, Kuwait (KWI)
  • Doha, Qatar (DOH)
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (RUH)

What electronic devices are banned?

People on these flights will not be permitted to carry most electronic items that are larger than a smartphone in the cabin with them. These items must be placed in their checked luggage.

  • Tablets / iPads / Kindles / e-readers – larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Laptops – larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Cameras and lenses – please check with the airline directly regarding specifications
  • Portable DVD players – larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Electronic game devices – larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Travel printers and scanners – larger than 16cm x 9.3cm

Can people take their mobile / cell phone on board with them?

Yes. Customers may carry their smartphones and mobile/cell phones on board with them. They must ensure that these have enough battery power to be turned on and checked at airport security.

What airlines are affected by this ban?

Any carrier that flies directly between one of the cities listed above and any US port. No US carriers are affected, as none fly these routes.

When does the ban take effect?

The airlines were notified at 3am (ET) on March 21, and were advised that they had 96 hours to comply. This will be the airlines’ responsibility to manage and failure to comply within the four days could result in their licence to enter the USA being revoked. All affected carriers have advised that they will comply.

UK Electronics Ban

What flights are affected?

Customers travelling on direct services to the UK from any port in the following six countries will not be permitted to carry most electronic devices in the cabin with them:

  • Egypt
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Jordan
  • Tunisia
  • Lebanon
  • Turkey

What electronic devices are banned?

People on these flights will not be permitted to carry most electronic items that are larger than a smartphone in the cabin with them. These items must be placed in their checked luggage:

  • Tablets / iPads / Kindles / e-readers – larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Laptops – larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Cameras and lenses – please check with the airline directly regarding specifications
  • Portable DVD players - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Electronic game devices - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm
  • Travel printers and scanners - larger than 16cm x 9.3cm

Can people take their mobile / cell phone on board with them?

Yes. Customers may carry their smartphones and mobile/cell phones on board with them. They must ensure that these have enough battery power to be turned on and checked at airport security.

What airlines are affected by this ban?

Any carrier that flies directly between any port in the countries listed above and any UK port.

When does the ban take effect?

The UK government has not specified a start date for the new regulations but will leave to the airlines to begin enforcement. We should assume it is effective immediately.

Other Questions

Why have these new rules been introduced?

  • These new rules are in response to what these governments feel are credible terrorist threats. Please note:
  • These bans apply to all passengers on these services, regardless of nationality.
  • There will be exceptions for medical equipment – please discuss with your airline.
  • Customers will only be affected if their service between the named ports is direct.
  • At this time, the rulings do not apply to flights in reverse – from the USA or UK to these ports.
  • This ban is currently open-ended.

Will my electronics be safe in the hold of the aircraft?

Customers are advised to pack their electronics securely and separately in their check-in luggage and ensure that they are in secure cases or protected from movement or knocks. We recommend that you discuss this and the general security of your items with your carrier or refer to the airline’s website.

I am affected by this ban and would like to change the route of my flight to the US or UK.

Please contact your Travel Associates Consultant. At this time, normal change and cancellation fees will apply. Please refer any further questions or concerns you may have to you airline.