International travelers evaluate new in-flight electronics restrictions

Mark Ross
By Mark Ross
March 22, 2017World News

March 21

International travelers at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City had mixed opinions after the United States and Britain imposed restrictions on carry-on electronic devices on March 21. Restrictions apply to planes coming from certain airports in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The moves were prompted by reports that militant groups want to smuggle explosive devices inside electronic gadgets, U.S. officials told reporters on a conference call on March 20.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said passengers traveling from those airports could not bring devices such as tablets, portable DVD players, laptops, and cameras that are larger than a mobile phone into the main cabin. Instead, such items must be in checked baggage.

Britain took similar steps, with a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May saying that there would be curbs on electronic items in the main cabin on flights from six countries in the Middle East.

The airports covered by the U.S. restrictions are in Cairo; Istanbul; Kuwait City; Doha, Qatar; Casablanca, Morocco; Amman, Jordan; Riyadh, and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates.

Officials did not explain why the restrictions only apply to travelers arriving to the United States and not for those same flights when they leave from there.

There were mixed opinions about the new rules at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.

Mohsen Ali, who is from Egypt and was at the airport to meet a friend, said, “Security for some people, and other people none? You know, it’s not for everybody, right? And in the airplane, you have people from different nationalities. So the person who would do anything, he would carry his laptop and go to a different airline and do it. So, I don’t know how smart it was to make this decision.”

Denra, who was helping his mother board a flight to India said, “There must be something, otherwise they would not take a decision like this. Because it was never there before and now it is there.”

Angelo, returning from a trip to the Philippines doubted he would be affected by the new rules. “Me, it shouldn’t because I don’t even carry my laptop. I don’t. I just carry my phone. I’ve got everything on my phone.”

The carriers—Royal Jordanian Airlines, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Etihad Airways—have until March 24 to heed the new policy, which took effect early on March 21 and will be in place indefinitely.

The policy does not affect any American carriers because none fly directly to the United States from the airports affected, officials said.



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