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Traveling to the US or UK? Here’s what you should know about the ban on electronic devices

In March, the US and UK announced a ban on electronic devices onboard planes flying in from several countries in the Middle East and North Africa due to security concerns.

The following countries were named in the ban:

United States United Kingdom
United Arab Emirates (Dubai & Abu Dhabi)

Qatar

Turkey

Kuwait

Morocco

Jordan

Egypt

Saudi Arabia

Turkey

Lebanon

Jordan

Egypt

Tunisia

Saudi Arabia


So if you’re taking a flight bound for the UK or US via these countries, you will only be allowed to bring your smartphone with you onboard, and will have to check-in devices
larger than 16 x 9.3cm (e.g. laptop, tablet, cameras) with your luggage. Medical devices are excluded from the ban.

As the directive covers all flights coming in from these countries, even transfers are affected, despite starting your journey from a country not named in the ban.

This means that if you transfer to another flight within the listed countries and continue your journey to the US or UK from there, you will be required to check-in your devices (e.g. Singapore → Jeddah → London).

Woman using laptop at airport
Source: Shutterstock.com

However, airlines affected by the restrictions – such as Emirates, Etihad, and Turkish Airlines – are allowing passengers to keep their gadgets with them until the boarding area to minimise hassle.

Prior to getting on the plane, passengers will have to undergo gate checks, whereby devices found to exceed the permissible limit will be packed and securely stored in the cargo hold until arrival.

Similar to checked-in luggage, passengers will later be able to collect their electronics at the baggage claim.

Here’s a video from Emirates showing the process in greater detail:

Not sure if the ban applies to you? Be sure to check this list of airlines and routes affected:

Airline Departure Point Transit Point Destinations affected
Royal Jordanian Bangkok

Kuala Lumpur

Amman United States:

New York (JFK), Detroit (DTW), Chicago (ORD)

United Kingdom:

London-Heathrow (LHR), London-Gatwick(LGW)

Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) Jakarta

Kuala Lumpur

Manila

Singapore

Jeddah United States:

New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), Washington DC (IAD)

United Kingdom:

London-Heathrow (LHR), Manchester (MAN)

Egypt Air Bangkok

Kuala Lumpur

Cairo United States:

New York (JFK)

United Kingdom:

London-Heathrow (LHR)

Etihad Bangkok

Ho Chi Minh City

Jakarta

Kuala Lumpur

Manila

Singapore

Abu Dhabi United States:

Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Washington DC (IAD)

Emirates Bangkok

Cebu

Clark

Denpasar-Bali

Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh City

Jakarta

Kuala Lumpur

Manila

Phuket

Singapore

Dubai United States:

Boston (BOS), Dallas (DFW), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Orlando (MCO), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Washington DC (IAD)
*Not affected by ban:

Athens → New York

Milan → New York

Qatar Airways Bangkok

Clark

Denpasar-Bali

Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh City

Jakarta

Krabi

Kuala Lumpur

Manila

Phuket

Singapore

Doha United States:

Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), Philadelphia (PHL), Washington DC (IAD)

Turkish Airlines Bangkok

Jakarta

Kuala Lumpur

Manila

Singapore

Istanbul United States:

Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), Washington DC (IAD)

United Kingdom:

London-Heathrow (LHR), Manchester (MAN), Edinburgh (EDI), Birmingham (BHX)


If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact your airline for more information. Safe travels!

A storyteller with an insatiable sense of curiosity. Travel junkie. Card-carrying member of many fandoms. Heavily dependent on caffeine. Loyal cat servant. Former journalist at the New Straits Times and Hybrid News.

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