UK follows US in limiting Middle Eastern cabin baggage

The United Kingdom has announced a cabin baggage ban on laptops on passenger flights from six Middle East and North African countries.

Following the lead of the United States, passengers from these countries will no longer be able to carry tablets, DVD players or phones over a certain size. Eight UK airlines and six foreign airlines are affected.

The ban affects direct in-bound flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

A UK government spokesperson said: “The additional security measures may cause some disruption for passengers and flights, and we understand the frustration that will cause, but our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals.

“Direct flights to the UK from these destinations can continue to operate to the UK subject to these new measures being in place.

“Travellers are advised to keep up-to-date with the latest FCO travel advice and to check online with their chosen airline for further information.”

Phones over 16cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm are included in the UK ban, but all phones are exempt from the US ban.

A statement from ABTA argued: “The immediate priority must be making sure travellers are aware of the new rules and are advised to pack their bags correctly to help minimise disruption through security and protect their items from confiscation.

“We will be working with our members to make sure that their customers are aware of the new requirements and pack their bags accordingly.

“If passengers are travelling with laptops and tablet computers, such as iPads and Kindles, they are advised to contact their travel insurance company ahead of travel as these devices are typically not covered by travel insurance policies either for loss, damage or theft when placed in the hold.

“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.”