The government have issued a Ban on certain electronic devices on inbound flights from 6 middle eastern countries, this follows a similar policy by the US recently. It encompasses a cabin ban on all electronics larger than a smartphone, this includes laptops and tablets. Direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia with the airlines British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2, Monarch, Thomas Cook, Thomson and eight foreign airlines effected.

This will not apply to flights where it needs UK travellers to change in Europe, however, it does come in with immediate effect.

What is the ban?

The government have stressed that this has no connection with Donal Trump’s Muslim ban and not a ban in response to a specific terrorist threat but a concern over methods by terrorist organisations. The ban itself is over growing concerns that terrorists will target consumer flights using technology that will fit in smaller electronic devices such as laptops and tablets.

However, the US ban is more peculiar than the UK’s sweeping ban by the fact that they have targeted nine specific airlines that fly from 1o specific airports, including Dubai International and Abu Dhabi International which do not appear on the UK ban. Canada are considering introducing the same ban as concerns grow.

Does the ban have any merit?

The ban though is pointless with Turkey looking to “stop or soften” the ban after they claim it is impractical for them to suddenly implement such a ban. But what makes the ban unusual is that if someone wanted to put a bomb in an electronic device, this ban will do nothing to stop its effectiveness.

This is due to the nature of the ban, where it says that electronic devices no larger than a smartphone are permitted in the cabin and must be in the hold with the passenger’s main luggage. If a terrorist were to place a bomb in one these electronic devices it would work just as well in the hull. Technical experts have considered the ban to not be credible.

professor at the University of California, Berkeley law school, Paul Schwartz said “One potential problem with this approach where you single out countries is that you ignore the extent to which the terrorist threat is kind of state-less,” he said. “The terrorists have cells throughout the entire world.” He also pointed out that the 9/11 hijackers had a terrorist cell based in Germany. This premise underlines the issues with the ban and how it is likely to just annoy travellers as opposed to being effective in stopping terrorist threats.