The British government has announced a cabin baggage ban on electronic items larger than a normal smartphone, effective immediately. The restriction covers direct passenger flights to the UK from six Middle East countries.
Passengers boarding flights to the UK from the countries affected will not be allowed to take any device larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide or 1.5cm deep (6.2in x 3.6in x 0.5in). Most smartphones fall inside these limits (including the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge). Affected devices (e-readers, laptops, tablets, game consoles, DVD players and larger smartphones) will need to be placed in hold luggage.
The restriction covers direct flights to the UK from the following countries:
- Saudi Arabia
There are fourteen airlines that operate direct flights to the United Kingdom from the listed countries, including six UK carriers (British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook, Thomson) and eight foreign carriers (Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Egyptair, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air, Saudia).
The ban would particularly affect passengers with hand luggage-only tickets, as well as Turkish Airlines passengers flying from long-haul destinations via Istanbul.
“We understand the frustration that these measures may cause and we are working with the aviation industry to minimise any impact. Our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals,” said the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, in a written statement to Parliament announcing the change.
The ban follows a similar US restriction on inbound flights from eight countries. The US move does not affect national carriers, though.