Electronics Banned From Middle East Travel: What You Need to Know

Packing your carry-on? You might have to skip everything but the smart phone.

Packing your carry-on? You might have to skip everything but the smart phone.

In late March, it was announced that the United States and the U.K. would be banning electronics on direct flights from the Middle East region, regardless of citizenship. How exactly does this affect you?

For starters, no U.S. carriers are affected by this rule. The sudden ban only applies to Middle Eastern airlines flying direct into North America, and no U.S. carrier currently flies non-stop from the restricted countries. U.S. carriers departing to the restricted countries are also not impacted.

If you do happen to be on one of these itineraries, any of your electronics larger than a smartphone must be placed in your checked baggage. This includes laptops, iPads, e-readers, gaming devices, cameras, etc. but exempts medical devices required during flight.

If you forget, you'll find that the airlines will be very helpful in boxing up your electronics for safekeeping in the cargo area... and some are taking the opportunity to showcase their in-flight entertainment.

The nine airlines impacted by the U.S. electronics ban are:

  • Royal Jordanian
  • Egypt Air
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways

The ten departure cities impacted by the U.S. electronics ban are:

  • CMN - Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco
  • IST - Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
  • CAI - Cairo International Airport, Egypt
  • AMM - Queen Alia International, Amman, Jordan
  • JED - King Abdulaziz International, Jedda, Saudi Arabia
  • RUH - King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • KWI - Kuwait International Airport
  • DOH - Hamad International, Doha, Qatar
  • AUH - Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • DXB - Dubai International, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

For the latest information, maintained by the Department of Homeland Security, please refer to the DHS Factsheet and the DHS Questions & Answers.

There's no word as to exactly why the sudden ban came into effect or for how long it will be enforced, but for now, make sure you allow extra time for inspection and check-in and keep a few of your favorite travel books on hand.