A ban on laptops and other electronic devices on flights entering the UK from six countries will be introduced “in the coming days”, Downing Street has confirmed.
The move was ordered by Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday in the latest of a series of meetings on aviation security, although it was not immediately clear whether it was in response to a general terror threat or a specific attack from the likes of Islamic State or al Qaida.
Which countries are affected?
The restriction prohibits airline passengers from carrying laptops in cabin luggage on inbound direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
Passengers travelling on these flights are advised to check online with their carrier if they require further information.
Which devices will be affected?
Large phones, all laptops and all tablets and e-readers will be affected under the ban.
Devices including Kindles and other e-readers will be banned from the cabin, along with hybrid devices such as the Microsoft Surface and iPad Pro, as well as the new Nintendo Switch gaming system, the Press Association reports.
What are the dimensions allowed?
The move, which mirrors rules implemented in the US on Tuesday, will see devices that are larger than a typical smartphone measuring 16cm by 9.3cm by 1.5cm banned from carry-on luggage and will have to be placed in the plane’s hold.
Any phones, laptops or tablets larger than the above dimensions will not be allowed in the cabin, regardless of whether they were purchased in duty free.
Which mobile phones will be allowed on the cabin?
The Department for Transport said most smart phones will be allowed in the cabin, except those with dimensions exceeding the allowance.
Some of common handsets allowed in the cabin include:
- iPhone 7 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3
- LG G3
- Sony Xperia Z2
Which airlines will be affected?
UK airlines operating direct flights which will be hit by the new measures are British Airways, easyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson, while overseas airlines affected are Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airlines, Middle East Airlines, EgyptAir, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air and Saudia.
Affected airlines were informed immediately, but may take a few days to implement the new security measure, said Number 10.
It follows a similar measure announced on Tuesday by the US authorities affecting flights originating in a longer list of eight mainly Muslim countries.
What are the financial implications of the ban?
Some travellers will be forced to pay extra fees for a checked bag if they want to use these gadgets at their destination.
Travel trade organisation Abta warned that laptops and tablets are not typically covered by travel insurance policies for loss, damage or theft if they are placed in the hold.
A spokeswoman for the organisation said: “Passengers travelling to the countries affected may wish to consider leaving their electronic devices at home, although this may be difficult for many, especially business travellers and families travelling with children.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We understand the frustration that these measures may cause and we are working with the aviation industry to minimise any impact.”
The tightening of security comes just weeks after it was revealed that UK security services have foiled 13 potential attacks in less than four years, while counter-terrorism units are running more than 500 investigations at any time.
Last year the insurgent group al-Shabaab smuggled an explosive-filled laptop on a flight out of Mogadishu, blowing a hole in the side of the plane.
What are the rules for all other flights?
For flights to or from any other countries except Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia: