This changes everything
Travel bloggers, your life just changed.
The States of America, via the TSA, and presumably with the full-throated endorsement of President 45, has changed the rules.
Not just America, but also the United Kingdom, and several other Western nations are expected to follow suit.
Effective within four days from 22 March 2017, airline passengers from a number of Middle-Eastern hubs such as Dubai, Istanbul, Doha and others are prohibited from carrying aboard electronic devices larger than a smartphone. These must be packed in checked luggage.
Supposedly, this is in response to terrorist plans involving packing laptops with explosives and detonating them midflight. The airports identified are all located within Muslin-majority nations in the Middle East and Africa.
The Washington Post has another view: this ban is aimed at driving traffic from heavily-subsidised foreign airlines such as Emirates onto American carriers.
This is stupid
Criticism amongst frequent travellers has been immediate and savage.
• This moves lithium batteries from the cabin, where battery fires may be easily dealt with, to the baggage hold, where access is impossible.
• What is to stop a terrorist using his phone to set off explosives stored in a laptop or tablet in checked baggage? Simply move along the plane until within Bluetooth range, connect, and press the martyr button.
• If direct flights to the US and UK are affected, why not transfer in (say) Paris or Frankfurt?
• Expensive items in checked baggage will be subject to theft during baggage handling while the bags and contents are out of the immediate sight and control of the owners.
• Likewise, they may be damaged. Baggage handlers are not generally noted for gentle custodianship of items in their care, and the automated equipment operates forcefully, especially when transferring a bag from one conveyor to another.
But I’m a travel blogger, I can do everything on my phone, yeah?
Sure. You’ll have to. In the cabin and during transits, that’s all you’ll have. Most bloggers I know take photographs and write blog entries during those long hours in the air and awaiting the next flight, uploading when they can grab a bit of wifi.
Not only will you not have in-flight and transit access to your devices, there’s a chance you might lose them entirely due to theft or damage. Or through confiscation at security if you try to carry them aboard.
Yeah, they might be insured, but according to the Sydney Morning Herald, “Generally checked in electronics are not covered by travel insurance.“
Even if they are, it’s going to be a hassle replacing them while travelling, and what happens to all your software, date, content, and settings? Do you have time between connections to reproduce your working configuration and download stuff from the cloud?
This is only for flights between dodgy airports on dodgy airlines to the SA and the UK?
Nope. Among others, it covers British Airways flying from Dubai, a modern airport with multiple layers of security. There’s nothing to say this won’t be extended to connecting flights and carriers. That could be pretty much any plane, anywhere.
Get used to this sort of thing. President Trump is setting out to make the whole world of Islam his enemy, and my guess is that this is going to snowball fast.