Electronic devices not allowed in cabin luggage on Qatar Airways flights to US

 21 Mar 2017 - 16:25

Electronic devices not allowed in cabin luggage on Qatar Airways flights to US
An Egyptian woman using her tablet to capture a video. (File photo / AFP / MOHAMMED ABED)

By Pramod Prabhakaran / Agencies

Story updated with travel alert from US embassy in Qatar

Doha: People flying to US from Qatar on Qatar Airways flights are not allowed to carry electronic devices like laptop, game consoles or tablets on board from today onwards.

Qatar Airways has issued a travel alert, which says that the ban comes into effect immediately (March 21). The airlines said that they “have made special arrangements to assist passengers in securing their devices in the aircraft’s baggage hold.”

After the US government issued a ban on carrying electronic devices other than smartphones and medical devices on direct flights to US from 8 Middle Eastern countries many airlines have issued alerts informing passengers not to carry these items as cabin luggage.

The restrictions apply to passengers coming to the United States from Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Morocco and Qatar.

The airports touched by the ban are Queen Alia International in Amman, Jordan; Cairo International in Egypt; Ataturk in Istanbul, Turkey; King Abdulaziz International in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; King Khalid International in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Kuwait International; Mohammed V International in Casablanca, Morocco; Hamad International in Doha, Qatar; and the Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports in the United Arab Emirates.

The airlines and their host governments have already been informed of the order by US officials, and some of them have begun informing passengers about the restriction.

Airlines will be responsible for policing the cabin ban, and if they fail to do so could lose their rights to operate US routes.

The airports affected are in Amman, Cairo, Kuwait City, Doha, Dubai, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, Casablanca, Morocco; Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The full travel alert from Qatar Airways:

"Effective 21 March in accordance with new United States government regulations, all passengers travelling on United States-bound flights are prohibited from carrying any electronic devices on board the flight other than cellular and smart phones and medical devices needed during the flight.

Qatar Airways has made special arrangements to assist passengers in securing their devices in the aircraft's baggage hold. Prohibited devices, including laptops, tablets, DVD players and electronic games must be carried in checked luggage only."

US Embassy in Qatar

The US embassy in Qatar put out a link on their website about enhanced security requirements for carry-on of personal electronics for U.S.-bound flights. They published a link to the official website of teh Department of Homeland Security.

The home land security said in the post:

"Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items. Based on this information, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Transportation Security Administration Acting Administrator Huban Gowadia have determined it is necessary to enhance security procedures for passengers at certain last point of departure airports to the United States.

Large electronic devices that will not be allowed in the cabin on affected flights include, but are not limited to:

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • E-Readers
  • Cameras
  • Portable DVD players
  • Electronic game units larger than a smartphone
  • Travel printers/scanners

There is no impact on domestic flights in the United States or flights departing the United States. Electronic devices will continue to be allowed on all flights originating in the United States.

Read the full factsheet by the homeland security here

Meanwhile, an Emirates spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters that the airline was subject to the “new security directive issued by the Transportation Security Administration.”

“The directive comes into effect on 25 March 2017 and is valid until 14 October 2017,” the Emirates spokeswoman said in an emailed statement to the agency. “It is applicable to all U.S.-bound passengers from Dubai International Airport, whether originating or transiting through.”

Turkish Airlines will be affected by the new restrictions, Vice President for Media Relations Yahya Ustun said.

Turkish Airlines put out a statement confirming the ban.

"At Turkish Airlines we kindly inform our passengers that any electronic or electrical devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone (except medical devices) must not be transported on board in our flights arriving to the US destinations."

An Etihad Airways spokesman told Reuters the Abu Dhabi carrier had been advised of the changes and that it would issue a statement later.

Senior US officials told reporters that nine airlines from eight countries had been given 96 hours, beginning at 3:00 am (0700 GMT), to ban any device bigger than a cellphone or smartphone from the cabin, AFP reported.

Laptops, tablets and portable game consoles are affected by the ban -- which applies to direct flights to the United States -- but they may still be stowed in the hold in checked baggage.

Passengers on approximately 50 flights per day from some of the busiest hubs in the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa will be obliged to follow the new emergency ruling.

(Inputs from Reuters and AFP)