Good news for travelers to the United States: the electronics ban has been lifted on Etihad, Emirates, and Turkish Airlines. The ban will be lifted on flights from Saudi Arabia in the next couple weeks as well. So what was that experiment about?
Although I am tempted to take this post in a very cynical direction right now, I’ll not do so. I am elated that this ban has been lifted and also appreciate that the U.S. Administration has struck a more reasonable compromise. Laptops will be searched, but still allowed in the cabin. I argued from the start this was a better solution. These airports are also likely already much safer than U.S. airports…
Just Don’t Make Every Airport Security Experience Like Tel Aviv!
I flew out of Tel Aviv on Monday morning and experienced the most invasive, comprehensive security check I have ever experienced in my life. All together the interview + screening took 30 minutes.
I’ll have details in a separate post, but the Israelis do not mess around with security: nothing is left to chance.
Still, it was overkill: particularly the interview. But the bag check to. Rather than running a swab inside the carry-on bag, every item was removed and closely scrutinized. Then left in a heap…
So while perfect security is possible — we fly naked with no carry-on baggage — let’s hope that a reasonable balance is struck.
Prepare for Longer Security Queues
As a condition to removing the laptop ban, carry-on baggage will be more closely inspected, particularly electronic devices. You will likely need to power on all devices. So-called explosive swabs tests will also likely be more regularly used. That will mean boarding times for U.S. flights may be pushed back as far as two hours prior to boarding. It will be annoying for sure, but at least you will not be separated from your electronic devices on longer flights.
I was against the in-flight electronics ban from the very start and am still against it. I am happy to see it lifted on Emirates, Etihad, and Turkish. Let’s hope that the new screening alternative will not be worse.
top image: Etihad