PHOTO: Laptops are now a no-no on flights from some Middle East flights to the US. (Photo via Flickr/Andrew_Writer)
What started late Monday with cryptic social media posts by Royal Jordanian Airlines – since deleted – has turned out to be true this morning.
The United States is banning large electronic devices onboard flights coming into the country from nine Middle East- and African-based airlines and 10 airports, according to multiple media reports. An official announcement is expected later Tuesday.
Only cell phones and electronic medical devices are allowed to be carried on; anything larger than a smartphone, including iPads, tablets, Kindles, children’s video games such as a Nintendo DS, cameras and portable DVD players.
The nine airlines have until Saturday morning to implement the new ban.
NBC News reported that a senior administration official said the ban was put into place because "evaluated intelligence indicates that terror groups continue to target aviation, to include smuggling explosives in electronic devices."
The latest travel ban drama began Monday when Royal Jordanian Airlines "jumped the gun," according to the administration official, and sent an advisory to passengers via Twitter and Facebook. Royal Jordanian deleted the posts, but Turkish Airlines sent a similar tweet this morning.
The ban sounds similar to President Trump’s travel ban on immigrants from six primarily Muslim countries, and already social media is reacting.
Ahead of an expected official announcement today, the Department of Homeland Security on Monday put out a statement saying it had “no comment on potential security precautions, but will provide any update as appropriate.”
The Associated Press noted that “Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly phoned lawmakers over the weekend to brief them on aviation security issues that have prompted the impending electronics ban, according a congressional aide briefed on the discussion. The aide was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue and spoke on the condition of anonymity. A U.S. government official said such a ban has been considered for several weeks. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose the internal security discussions by the federal government.”
About 50 daily direct flights into the US from the nine airlines and 10 airports are affected. The airlines are:
Saudi Arabia Airlines
Royal Air Maroc
The airports are:
Queen Alia International, Amman, Jordan
Cairo International, Egypt
Ataturk International, Istanbul, Turkey
King Abdulaziz, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Kuwait International, Farwaniya, Kuwait
Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco
Doha International, Qatar
Dubai International, United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates
The United Kingdom joined the ban on Tuesday as well. The British rules will affect flights from six countries -- Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.-- and will bar passengers from taking similar items onboard.