Our reliance on electronics and desire for constant connectivity means it’s rare to travel without at least one gadget. Technology has silenced our children’s cries of ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ and with summer approaching, the skies will be full of children glued to their devices. We adults are no better with very few of us embarking a plane without a gadget.
Following new rules set in place by Donald Trump, last week the UK government introduced new security measures concerning travelling with larger electronic devices from six specific countries. So let’s talk about the rules regarding devices.
What gadgets can you travel with?
For direct flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia all phones, tablets or laptops must be checked in with your hold luggage if they are larger than:
* 16cm (length)
* 9.3cm (width)
* 1.5cm (depth)
To put it in context, large smartphones such as the iPhone 7 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge are still allowed in your carry-on luggage. You can’t take any phone, tablet or laptop that is larger than this as hand luggage, even if you bought it at the airport (for example, at a duty free shop). These rules also apply to connecting flights via these countries, even if your journey started elsewhere. For more information visit the UK Department for Transport’s website.
How will the electronics ban affect flying?
Initially British Airways is the UK airline most affected as it flies from all the named countries except Tunisia, followed by EasyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson. Inevitably the electronics ban will cause confusion and frustration. There are already reports of a lack of uniformity from country to country regarding how thoroughly checks are made. Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) was quick to denounce the measures, questioning their effectiveness and calling for an alternative – see below video by Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
On a financial note, travellers preferring a cheaper fare that allows hand luggage only will now have to pay to check a bag in if they are carrying large electronic devices. For both travellers and industry insiders there are strong concerns including the possibility of a government ban on laptops and tablets from cabins on all flights. And if you need tips on really flying on a budget check our previous blog on 5 tips.
If you have any concerns or are not completely clear on what you can take always contact the airline that you are flying with in advance.
Jo Fernandez is a leading UK travel journalist, with much of her career spent working for the London Evening Standard where she was Travel Editor until 2015.
Now a freelance travel journalist and copywriter, she lives in Essex and has one daughter. As a travel expert, she still enjoys jetting off to write travel pieces, with favourite destinations including Mexico, Croatia and, of course, Essex.