back to article Airplane bomb fears spark America's laptop, tablet carry-on ban

Fears of terrorists smuggling bombs disguised as laptops onto airplanes has triggered a fresh crackdown on carry-on luggage. From today, passengers are banned from flying into the US from specific overseas airports if their carry-on luggage contains any devices larger than a mobile phone. The clampdown – introduced by American …

  1. LDS Silver badge

    Dont fly Emirates/Etihad/Turkish/etc...

    ... fly US companies!!

    This ban hits strongly some of the main hubs of some very competitive and commercially aggressive airlines....

    I wonder if this is a "security" measure - or a masked commercial one.

    1. smudge

      Re: Dont fly Emirates/Etihad/Turkish/etc...

      ... fly US companies!!

      I've just checked - very quickly and informally - and as far as I can see, there are no US airlines using these airports. I'm surprised - I guess I always thought that any route would have airlines from at least the two end-point countries flying on it. It seems not.

      US to Saudi or UAE must be popular business routes? Or am I assuming that there is trade when there isn't that much?

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: Dont fly Emirates/Etihad/Turkish/etc...

        I think you'll find that most flights are done on a code share basis to leverage the larger common hubs. While American, Jetblue, et al. may not operate the flight they might sell the ticket and ultimately you'll get on the operating partners plane.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Dont fly Emirates/Etihad/Turkish/etc...

        US to Saudi or UAE must be popular business routes? Or am I assuming that there is trade when there isn't that much?

        They're very popular connecting points for airlines flying between India and the US. It's one way to limit H1-B visas, I suppose.

      3. Lou 2
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Dont fly Emirates/Etihad/Turkish/etc...

        It will probably be for a flight that was initiated from one of these countries. So if you change airlines midway in some or other hub, does the rules still apply?

        Someone did not think this through.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          No US airlines have direct flights to the US from those countries

          That's why it was only foreign airlines that were targeted. It is about the airports more than the airlines. The UK apparently banned flights from some of the same airlines, including on BA.

    2. Jason Bloomberg
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Dont fly Emirates/Etihad/Turkish/etc...

      I wonder if this is a "security" measure - or a masked commercial one.

      Or simply a means to help make questions as to why those countries were not on Trump's 'Muslim ban' go away.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Dont fly Emirates/Etihad/Turkish/etc...

        Because there are too many economic interests in most o those countries to apply a simple "Muslim ban"?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This could really hit Macbook Pro w/touchbar sales...

      Sounds like it's to gain access to devices to tamper/modify/image-backup laptops/computers while they aren't in your possession, so they can removed from hold luggage and examined, systematically without question. You could always carry the internal hard disk/SSD in carry on luggage (I assume carrying an 2.5"/M.2 SSD is acceptable), unless you own the latest Apple Macbook Pro /w touchbar, of course.

      Sounds like it worth covering all ports/access screws with tamper proof stickers during flight too, for any device put in the hold, if you work on anything Government related.

      It's always worth turning off Wifi on devices before going through Airport security, as this is a strategic "pinch point" where the phone/device can attach to a rogue hotspot. Hence, if you are asked to switch the device on to show it works, make sure the device is set to Airport mode/Wifi off, to prevent over air infection.

      Getting to the point where you have just the boot drive to the OS and data elsewhere encrypted, preferably off-device. I wonder if Apple is still thinking that soldering the SSD to the motherboard was a good "security choice".

      1. Phil W

        Re: This could really hit Macbook Pro w/touchbar sales...

        "Sounds like it's to gain access to devices to tamper/modify/image-backup laptops/computers while they aren't in your possession"

        Nah, you might have a point if it weren't for the fact that US Customs have been allowed to inspect the data contents of devices for a while now, so I'm not sure this is really related to that.

        To be honest I can kind of see the point in this measure, not saying I agree with it necessarily but I understand it.

        Sure an iPad Air (and phones hence why they're allowed) may not have a lot of space inside to be rigged as an explosive or whatever, but digital cameras especially DSLRs with a substantial lens? Or a beefy external HDD?

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: This could really hit Macbook Pro w/touchbar sales...

          Look through the lenses, they use to be transparent. Still, a lens is not an electronic device, especially pure mechanical manual ones. Also, if reports are true, the Russian plane destroyed over Sinai was due to explosive in a drink can, not an electronic device. Thereby, any container should be forbidden. And if an airport security is compromised, anything can be brought on board. And if it explodes in the luggage deck, it's really no better.

          I can't see how attacks in airports before the check-in impact the security of flights. As if in Florida you can't be shoot in the luggage claim area by a passenger with a gun...

        2. d3vy

          Re: This could really hit Macbook Pro w/touchbar sales...

          "DSLRs with a substantial lens? Or a beefy external HDD?"

          But you can still take a beefy HDD.

          You can still take any number of things large enough to conceal a device.. you can also take a number of things NOT large enough to conceal a bomb each containing a component to make one.

          This measure will stop nothing.

      2. BillG
        Thumb Up

        Re: This could really hit Macbook Pro w/touchbar sales...

        Sounds like it worth covering all ports/access screws with tamper proof stickers during flight too, for any device put in the hold,

        Brilliant. Why didn't I think of that? I just looked at several listings on eBay for customized tamper-proof stickers.

        Or how about an independent circuit that turns on the laptop's screen cam when the cover is lifted?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dont fly Emirates/Etihad/Turkish/etc...

      sadly every single US airline has abysmal service on long haul,it's essentially just their short haul service. I stopped using US airlines for long haul a while back.

    5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "I wonder if this is a "security" measure - or a masked commercial one."

      Given what's come out of Mogul's mouth what's the difference?

    6. hammarbtyp

      Re: Dont fly Emirates/Etihad/Turkish/etc...

      As the washington post explains, this is less likely to be security related and more likely to be a trade war masquerading as a security matter.

      Welcome to the new world

  2. Mage
    Facepalm

    or stowed in the hold

    I read this earlier on BBC.

    I'm baffled. Why does a bomb disguised as a laptop be safer in the baggage hold than cabin?

    I thought this was why, ages ago, that after x-ray, all electronic stuff has to be powered up and demonstrated.

    This sounds irrational. What's to stop some other source airport being used. Real "intel" or the same "security theater" we have had for years, not just a Trump Tweet?

    1. regregular

      Re: or stowed in the hold

      The way I read this paragraph:

      >> Now senior US Homeland Security officials, who asked not to be named, have told The Register the rules follow evaluated intelligence that suggests terrorists are targeting flights with electronic devices. Specific details about any possible threats were not provided.

      "Targeting with electronic devices" could mean a lot of things. Like trying to figure out ways to meddle with relevant on-board system by either using vulnerabilities or modified devices that emit ridiculous electromagnetic radiation.

      I don't think that they are referring to devices modified with a plastic explosive charge instead of a battery.

      1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

        Re: or stowed in the hold

        > "Targeting with electronic devices" could mean a lot of things. Like trying to figure out ways to meddle with relevant on-board system by either using vulnerabilities or modified devices that emit ridiculous electromagnetic radiation.

        I agree with you 100%. The only problem is that there is no need to fly to the US in order to test out this kind of device. Any route with the same kind of aircraft would work equally well.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: or stowed in the hold

          Maybe they have already worked with the "Whitelisted" UK/Amercian Airlines to get certain work done. Are holds designed to act as Faraday Cages? You could be right if that's the case.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: or stowed in the hold

      Dimethylmercury wouldn't be able to kill people if it was in the hold....

      1. Kane Silver badge

        Re: or stowed in the hold

        "Dimethylmercury wouldn't be able to kill people if it was in the hold...."

        For those of us who don't have a working knowledge of chemistry, would you mind furnishing us with further details instead of trailing off with your ellipses, old chap? I would rather not start googling this phrase while I'm at work, if it's all the same to you.

        1. Dabooka
          Thumb Up

          Re: or stowed in the hold

          @ Kane

          Great post, and took the words right off my keyboard. I too don't want to be searching for certain things at work.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: or stowed in the hold

          "ellipses" ? I thought he trailed off with a "dot dot dot" ...

          I'll get me coat.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: or stowed in the hold

            > "ellipses" ? I thought he trailed off with a "dot dot dot" ...

            The dots are circles. A circle is a type of ellipse. Three dots can therefore be described as ellipses.

        3. Mike Richards

          Re: or stowed in the hold

          It's a hideous, volatile organomercury compound which is a potent neurotoxin. It's one of those compounds that can penetrate the skin, blood-brain barrier and latex gloves so combined with its high vapour pressure, it is far too dangerous for everyday use.

          Relevance to this scenario - not sure, but horrible stuff.

    3. nuked

      Why does a bomb disguised as a laptop be safer in the baggage hold than cabin?

      ...because it can't be used to open the cockpit door.

    4. PatientOne

      Re: or stowed in the hold

      "Why does a bomb disguised as a laptop be safer in the baggage hold than cabin?"

      So it's not available to a terrorist as a threat. It's in the hold isn't anywhere near as threatening as it being in the terrorist's hands.

      It also has to go through baggage handling... where it can be lost, dropped, kicked around, stolen, found, thrown around a bit more, put on plane to another country, left in some forgotten corner, and eventually, months later, returned to the owner in one or more pieces.

      Well, that's what seems to happen to other forms of baggage at times...

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Joke

        "where it can be lost, dropped, kicked around, stolen, found, thrown around a bit more"

        Sometimes a bomb firing off in the luggage would create less damages than airport handling personnel... sometimes I'm tempted to put a sticker on it "Bomb inside, handle with care" to obtain a better handling...

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: "where it can be lost, dropped, kicked around, stolen, found, thrown around a bit more"

          ""Bomb inside, handle with care" to obtain a better handling..."

          If you think it being taken to a remote area and blown up is better handling!

          1. LDS Silver badge
            Joke

            "If you think it being taken to a remote area and blown up is better handling!"

            Yet they will do it very slowly and carefully.... <G>

      2. Peter X

        Re: or stowed in the hold

        where it can be lost, dropped, kicked around, stolen, found, thrown around a bit more

        This bit was my immediate concern; when that lady's headphones exploded on a recent flight, I believe an article that covered it, mentioned another incident where a device's battery was crushed/punctured by - if my memory serves correctly - a seat mechanism being moved.

        Regardless the cause, surely if people have to stuff these devices into baggage... particularly this week, when they might only be made aware of this requirement whilst in the airport, there's surely a *GREATER* risk that the batteries in these devices may be crushed/punctured, and potentially result in a fire/smoke related air crash?

        If they *really* cared, if they *really* had intel. suggesting these devices could be disgused as a bomb or hacked/modified into a bomb, then surely the sensible thing to do is not allow any electronic device on board and *only* allow things such as USB flash drives/SD-cards to people to transfer data... albeit, I suppose you could argue they could use the internet for that!

        This all smells like a Trump Theatre Production to me. Statistically, at least one plane will crash somewhere this year, and my money is on Trump tweeting some absolute BS about it immediately after, proving once again (to his supporters), what a great** president he is.

        ** (leans closer to the mike)... NOPE.

    5. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: or stowed in the hold

      It doesn't have to be rational, in fact the more irrational the better. When people are arguing about whatever random shit that Trump's done today, it means they're not arguing about the FBI investigating links to Russia or his family getting security clearance or who's got fired now or whatever it is this time.

    6. Eddy Ito

      Re: or stowed in the hold

      Perhaps it's the larger batteries? If it's in the cabin, there might be a way to mutilate the battery to initiate a conflagration that is very difficult to put out. It's one thing to douse a mobile but a 17" gaming rig, I don't know.

      edit: Of course it doesn't stop one from carrying just a battery in their carry on bag so it's probably not that.

      1. Cynic_999

        Re: or stowed in the hold

        "

        If it's in the cabin, there might be a way to mutilate the battery to initiate a conflagration that is very difficult to put out.

        "

        It would be even worse in the hold, because the fire would be well alight before enough smoke got out of the luggage bin to trigger a smoke alarm, and then a delay until someone climbed down into the hold to tackled the blaze. In the cabin it would probably be noticed just about immediately.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: or stowed in the hold

          Ahh great, so now someone would have to hide the explosive bit in the hold then use a mobile, which will be under the allowed size, as the trigger. It would be easier now than it ever was ever to knock something up that fits inside a phone case with the multitude of SBCs / wifi boards etc available, or can probably even be done just using the wireless hardware already provided in all phones these days, I don't know I never thought about it until I read this.

          You can bet that airport security will not waste time pulling a laptop out of hold, tracing the owner and asking them to power it on - it looks like a battery and it's probably powered off so no threat there. Nobody would see that most of the battery has been swapped for something with a different kind of 'stored energy' and the remaining bit has just enough power to do a RTC power-on and start a countdown, or wait for a wireless signal - the person with the 'safe' mobile would never be to far away in the cabin to trigger it.

          So how is it safer to put stuff in the hold? I think it is actually a great deal less safe. Not as safe? Much more unsafe? More risky. You get the point.

          And this stupid stuff about 'undisclosed threats'. FFS, just publish the damn threats and it might make potential terrorists re-think their ideas, instead of keeping it all quiet and making the rest of us suffer these stupid rules ... unless there is not really any threat and the reason is a 'business decision'?

          This is the price we pay for getting involved in matters that are nothing to do with us. If we had not stuck our nose in other countries business before for whatever the real reason (WMD / oil) then these ficticious terrorists might not be targeting our country. Let them sort their own problems out and stop trying to control the world.

          And as if they were not able to spot a pattern before, now they are looking at NK/DPRK with the same thoughts as Iraq / Afghanistan etc before. Damn, government people, get a grip and learn from past actions. These actions might seem like they ended well in the short term, but in the long run we all are better off just leaving them to it, if their people want to stand up then let them, otherwise stay the fuck out.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: or stowed in the hold

            "And this stupid stuff about 'undisclosed threats'"

            Terrorists, especially the suicide type, are quite thick. Don't think they want to spread any ideas around. The other reason is that they don't want to give away how they have identified said threats.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: or stowed in the hold

      I suspect someone has come up with a plausible way to use a bunch of lithium ion batteries to form a makeshift explosive. Given the success Samsung have had lately in their prototypes of such a device.

      3 or more like-minded individuals with a (working) laptop battery each, could likely tamper with them in-flight to cause significant thermal runaway if stacked together.

  3. Mage
    Unhappy

    a notice to passengers that specifically mentions Kindles

    Crippled Android "Kindle Fire" tablets, or real eInk Kindles?

    What possible offensive value is ANY eInk based ereader than a phone?

    Another reason to avoid USA. Books on a real eReader make travel nearly bearable. Phones don't have the battery life and too small and inferior screen for reading.

    How many phones can manage two films? Some can just about manage one if battery newish.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: a notice to passengers that specifically mentions Kindles

      Many airplanes have now plugs to charge your devices, some larger phones may be bearable (yet I hate them), but really, what threat they're talking about?

      If it is an "hacking" one, why cameras are included? They don't look the best device for that - as well as most e-ink readers - a mobile phone would work better anyway. Or "terrorists" should be banned to bring cameras into US to take images of "targets"? Sell/rent them cameras once in the US, to make America great again!

      If it is an explosive threat, putting it in the luggage compartment makes it less dangerous?

      Or maybe the real reason is most of Trump administration can't actually use any device more complex than a phone to tweet, and they don't want to look dull on long range flights?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: a notice to passengers that specifically mentions Kindles

        (Tongue in cheek icon)

        Emirates + others must be running Windows 10 on their in-flight system. And we all know what happens when you plug a Kindle into Windows 10 1607 AU.

        Actually, its pretty annoying, as the Paperwhite is the one thing I'll miss if they add this to BA and others.

  4. Your alien overlord - fear me

    It's to stop people watching their own movies in flight and force them to watch the drivel the airlines want you to watch. That's my theory (which is as good as anyone else's on this matter I reckon) !!

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      force them to watch the drivel the airlines want you to watch

      That has to count as a cruel and unusual punishment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Back episodes of the American Apprentice by chance?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps, but why the US would be trying to generate revenue streams for non-US flight operators, I've no idea...

  5. creepy gecko
    Thumb Down

    Baggage handling...

    ...at all airports leaves a lot to be desired. I wouldn't be happy at leaving a high-end laptop in my suitcase. It's either going to get stolen or damaged.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Baggage handling...

      Or you can put it into a sturdy locked case (i.e. a Pelican one), which will be damaged by TSA on arrival...

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Baggage handling...

      You are not LEGALLY allowed to put it into baggage by international regulations on transportation of LiIon and LiPo batteries.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Baggage handling...

        Actually, you can, as long as it is part of the device, not a spare, and below 160Wh. See http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/cargo/dgr/Documents/LithiumBattery_PassengerFlyer.jpg

        Of course, if it's not a Samsung device.... <G>

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Baggage handling...

          I wasn't allowed to have a laptop in my checked baggage at Kuala Lumpur flying KLM in December, had to take it as Cabin luggage. Apparently a battery thing.

  6. Robert Simmons
    Stop

    This is an entirely fruitless exercise, given miscrients need only reroute via an alternate airport to avoid the ban. This ban will serve solely to interfere with the operations of the affected airlines... or perhaps that was the whole point?

    It's also worth reminding everyone that an airline's maximum liability for loss or damage to a checked bag is limited to 1131 SDR (Standard Drawing Rights, about £1240). This is clearly defined in the Montreal Convention.

    I look forward to the first complaints of damages to a Macbook, XPS or anyone foolish enough to check-in their DSLR.

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Convention

    1. IsJustabloke
      Meh

      Exactly...

      "or anyone foolish enough to check-in their DSLR."

      I generally have around 2.5k to 3.5k quids worth of DSLR and related bits and bobs when I travel... it never leaves my side. I'd go in the hold before I'd let it go as hold luggage.

      Not that I'm affected by this but it makes you wonder how long before it spreads.

      I'm going to the states in May to visit some Brit friends who are currently seconded there by their jobs.

      No other reason would induce me to go which is a shame because on the whole the Americans I'v interacted with on past visits have been friendly and welcoming hosts.

      1. Peter X

        Re: Exactly...

        Not that I'm affected by this but it makes you wonder how long before it spreads.

        .. and the answer is: NOT LONG AT ALL!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Airlines maximum liability for luggage

      There's this little thing you may never have heard of, its called TRAVEL INSURANCE !

      People who travel without travel insurance are being a bit silly.

      People who travel to the US without travel insurance are just complete idiots given the cost of medical care out there !

      Travel insurance will cover loss and damage to luggage, and any half-decent policy won't have any limits on what is covered in terms of objects (i.e. tech is OK) , only a value.

      And for those who travel with lots of very expensive kit, there are seperate policies (e.g. photorapher insurance covers stuff in the hold).

      Jeez guyz .... what do you think the BBC et al do when they go off to do their documentaries ? Take it with them in the cabin ? No ! They pack it securely and put it in the hold.

      How do you think your camera gets to you from China ? Suitably packaged in the hold !

      1. LDS Silver badge

        While travel insurance will repay you of some of the costs of stolen/damaged items, it won't repay you from a damaged and ruined travel, and/or lost business. And there's also the hassle of asking the insurance company to be repaid - when it's ten of thousand of $$$/€€€/etc. it's not always a quick and pleasant experience.

        BTW: there are professional photographer who buy a seat for their gear, to carry it in the cabin. Because if it is damaged or lost, you may not be able to replace it immediately at the destination - even if you're insured, and you won't be able to work.

        Others ship gear separately through a reputable courier inside sturdy and well protected cases. Cargo planes are not usually unloaded by the same thieves working for pennies airports employ for passenger planes - usually shipping companies has to be more careful, or they could go out of business. And the pallet packaging itself makes far harder to open boxes and steal items.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Jeez guyz .... what do you think the BBC et al do when they go off to do their documentaries ? Take it with them in the cabin ? No ! They pack it securely and put it in the hold."

        Yeah, stowed in gurt-big ruggedised equipment cases which are immune to careless baggage handlers. And, heavily insured under commercial policies I would guess as well.

        1. Dakaix

          Yeah, stowed in gurt-big ruggedised equipment cases which are immune to careless baggage handlers. And, heavily insured under commercial policies I would guess as well.

          This.

          Although ironically I have also witnessed BBC camera crews storing the camera bodies overhead on two separate long-haul trips.

          Travel insurance will cover loss and damage to luggage, and any half-decent policy won't have any limits on what is covered in terms of objects (i.e. tech is OK) , only a value.

          I'd suggest you review the fine print of your travel insurance, a good majority of domestic policies typically only go up to £1500 - and they'll likely exclude the amount already paid out by the airline.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'd suggest you review the fine print of your travel insurance, a good majority of domestic policies typically only go up to £1500 - and they'll likely exclude the amount already paid out by the airline.

            I have already, thank you very much for asking. That's why I know, amongst other things, that my policy includes terrorism cover, whilst many exclude it.

            1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

              I bought a ticket a week ago and was tempted by the travel insurance - $56k for only $80, it seemed worth it until I read the small print, liability of Electronics was limited to $1500 with a $300 deductible on each item claimed.

              I didn't buy it.

          2. Chet Mannly

            "I'd suggest you review the fine print of your travel insurance, a good majority of domestic policies typically only go up to £1500"

            Yup, and often they have restrictions on what kind of items they will pay out for checked-in luggage (as opposed to carry-on).

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Mike Richards

        'Jeez guyz .... what do you think the BBC et al do when they go off to do their documentaries ? Take it with them in the cabin ? No ! They pack it securely and put it in the hold.'

        Having worked with film crews - a bit of both. The real big stuff goes in big aluminium cases in the hold and is insured to buggery. The smaller stuff comes into the cabin so we could get some filming done even if the main camera went off on an exciting trip of its own.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps just to separate you from your laptop ?

    saves all that embarrassing asking for access .....

  8. russsh

    Carnivore

    Maybe it's an intelligence gathering measure. Duplicating your HDD/SSD at the passenger security checkpoint would slow down the lines too much.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Carnivore

      So they'll sneak someone in the luggage compartment to duplicate them during flight?

  9. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
    Coat

    skim reading

    "Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan"

    In my haste I read that as "Al Quaida Airport"

  10. caffeine addict

    There's no way in hell my laptop would go in the hold when the TSA insist you use one of their pointless padlocks.

    Of course, I'm sure this has nothing to do with getting your devices away from you so that they can investigate it without you noticing...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All aboard the clown car...

    ...for your trip to the clown car nation.

    All this B$ from Trump administration is a diversionary tactic for the real bad shit he's up to.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it's a real "security threat" why not make the ban from all (international) airports?

    Seems like other countries should reciprocate. If the threat is real, it's real for everyone, everywhere.

  13. cybersaur
    Devil

    Persecution

    This is persecution. The Trump regime is targeting Muslim airports for persecution. They want to inconvenience flyers in order to dissuade them from coming to the U.S. There is no threat at all. And if you still believe Donald Trump at this point then you're a lunatic.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's already working

    Each dance they require people to do has a purpose, if only to train people to accept the idea that dance they should.

  15. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Flame

    No need for actual bombs

    The TSA are doing the terrorists' job for them. No need to actually do anything, just suggest it and the department of Homeland Nannying will inconvenience everyone for you. They'll soon be asking us to strip off and put disposable gowns on before we're allowed on a plane.

    If I can't have my laptop safely with me, and my Kindle available on the flight, I'm not flying. Let's see how long US business can afford that sort of inconvenience for their travelling employees.

    1. Grunchy Bronze badge

      Re: No need for actual bombs

      I've heard of airplane bombings, believe me, they are real.

      My gosh you people, how long is your flight? Can you not curb your electronic addiction long enough for a snooze on board?

      Just check the bag, you'll be fine. If you ever watch "border security" (North American show) you'll find out that customs agents the world over can cheerfully snoop through every single thing you've got with you, to their full satisfaction. If you 'forget' your access password, they've got a center that can crack it - and you might even get your device back afterward, too!

      Sadly, you only have right-of-entry to your own country. Everywhere else they make you ask permission as if you're some kind of 'visitor'.

      1. Chet Mannly

        Re: No need for actual bombs

        "My gosh you people, how long is your flight?"

        My next holiday will see me on 18+ hours of flights in each direction (nearly 40 hours in total) - baggage has to be checked the whole way. That's a hell of a lot more than a snooze mate.

        And I'll be travelling with $7.5k of easily stolen camera gear that I now have to check in and pray the minimum wage baggage handlers don't help themselves to.

        This is a nightmare.

      2. IsJustabloke
        FAIL

        Re: No need for actual bombs

        "My gosh you people, how long is your flight?"

        My last trip comprised of 12 hours to Hong kong and then 13 hours to Auckland....(the same again on the way back) I'll take my Kobo if you don't mind.

        It's got nothing to do with customs and border agents and everything to do with luggage that you wave goodbye to down the conveyor for it to disappear not just from your sight but from your life forever that I'm concerned about. My holidays are mostly for the purposes of taking photgraphs the fact that my gear is insured is neither here nor there. have you ever tried to hire a high end DLSR in the arse end of no where?

  16. Simon Harris
    Coat

    Terror intel sparks... cabin ban.

    So I should be ok if my portable devices have ARM or AMD CPUs.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Terror intel sparks... cabin ban.

      Yes if you're an American, you have the constitutional right to bear ARMs.

    2. e^iπ+1=0

      Re: Terror intel sparks... cabin ban.

      "So I should be ok if my portable devices have ARM or AMD CPUs."

      I must say, the click bait that got me to read this article was the thought that Intel had done something terrorist related.

      Note to El Reg - Intel as an abbreviation for Intelligence is not such a great idea on a tech news rag.

  17. HarryBl

    Coming to the UK too according to the Beeb

    1. hplasm
      Big Brother

      Coming to the UK too according to the Beeb

      Done and done.

      And we have been...

  18. IsJustabloke
    Mushroom

    Hmmm.....

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/21/exclusive-britain-poised-follow-us-ban-laptops-ipads-flights/

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/21/uk-set-to-ban-laptops-on-flights-from-middle-east-countries

    Seems we're likely to follow suit....

  19. HarryBl

    From the Graun

    "US airlines have been lobbying the Trump administration to intervene in the Persian Gulf, where they have contended for years that the investments in three rapidly expanding airlines in the area – Etihad Airways, Qatar, and Emirates – constitute unfair government subsidies with which Delta, American and United cannot compete. All three Middle Eastern airlines are among the carriers affected by the electronics ban."

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Er? But?

      also affected is Royal Jordanian who, in case you don't know is a codeshare partner with American. many passengers on the RJ flights to the USA (American does not operate to AMM) are flying on American Airlines tickets issued for a flight with an AA flight number.

      Neither Delta not United directly operate to AMM. Air France and Lufthansa (codeshare partners with DL and UA respectively ) to operate to AMM.

      That drives a huge great Dreamliner through the Grauniads argument.

      {RJ use Dreamliners on the US routes}

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Er? But?

        Some other airlines have been thrown in to avoid to make it too obvious.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Just I wonder if they asked Boeing what it thinks... many of those companies are among its best customers, maybe they wouldn't like orders to be shifted to Airbus in retaliation.

  20. Cynic_999

    Damn annoying

    I've just booked a flight that has a stopover in Istanbul as it was £150 cheaper than the alternative, so looks like I may now have to pack my laptop & camera in hold luggage - at least on the way back to Heathrow. I'll be needing lots of bubblewrap ...

  21. Swiss Anton

    Practical alternatives.

    I'm guessing that these restrictions are here to stay. So what are the alternatives?

    Firstly there is an opportunity for someone to start renting Laptops that can be hired for the duration of your stay in America. Preloaded with all your favourite apps, simply download your data from the cloud and you're ready to go. Of course the thing will be full of NSA spyware, but then if your data is in the cloud, the NSA will already have access to it. That won't help with the flight, but I see no reason why the airline can't (for a sky high fee) loan you a security cleared laptop.

    If you don't trust your data to the cloud then I guess you could burn it on to a DVD, but be aware, Microsoft updated Windows DVDMaker earlier this month. DVDMaker hasn't been a thing since W7. The last update was years ago, so why it being updated now?.

  22. Grunchy Bronze badge

    Not carrying no electronics

    I'm off to Hawaii next month and I'm not carrying no laptop, tablet, cell phone, nothing.

    I don't think I'll even bring my Bose quietcomfort noise-deadeners. I've got earplugs, they're practically as good.

    I'm gonna have a HOLIDAY!

  23. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    The Bad Guys win again

    Looks at all the little ants running around - basically nobody needs to do anything bad - all you have to do is make the TSA et al "think" you can do something. Much less effort and quite cheap to implement.

  24. mIRCat
    Coat

    Obligatory...

    Obviously this can't be something the terrorist just realized they could do. TSA Screening.

    Mine's the one with the laptop in the pocket.

  25. JustWondering
    Meh

    Ummm ...

    Shouldn't they be banning known explosive carriers such as platform shoes and underwear?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ummm ...

      A ban on women underwear would fit Trump's ideology well. But high-heel shoes will be compulsory, then.

  26. CaptSmegHead
    Meh

    disposal bins

    There's always going to be someone who doesn't follow this advice (through ignorance or defiance) and they will try to keep their larger-than-smartphone-device (LTSD) in their hand-luggage. What happens at the final hand baggage screening - will the offending objects need to be placed in a disposal bin along with all the half-empty bottles of water and nail scissors???

    If this is a credible security threat and later is extended to all airlines on all routes- it's going to be a bonanza for easyjet / ryanair as most passengers will now need to purchase check-in baggage.

  27. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Don't the airports have all sorts of advanced bomb detection equipment nowadays?

    Why don't they use those for carry-on luggage as well?

  28. G.Y.

    per http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39425532 and http://fortune.com/2017/03/28/trump-electronics-ban-iata-criticism/ , the IATA boss does not believe this is about security, has mentioned protectionism.

    I notice Canada, NZ and Australia, which share intelligence with the US and UK, have no ban

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