It’s all over the news so most people will have heard of the restrictions on electronic devices which includes laptops, tablets and even cameras on flights departing 10 airports headed for the USA and a variety of airports headed to the UK.
Flights departing for the USA: Cairo, Egypt; Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Istanbul, Turkey; Doha, Qatar; Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; and Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The U.K. list is shorter. It covers all inbound flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia but omits airports such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.
Although most of the publicity has been about laptops, birders will be more worried about being forced to check expensive and delicate camera gear. It is well known that baggage handlers are not gentle and many items do get stolen out of checked bags. This is why many people, including myself will do anything to avoid checking a bag.
To me, this whole thing is ridiculous and I really hope the insanity doesn’t spread any further. If it’s a true threat, why just these specific countries? Do they think terrorists can’t book connecting flights via Europe to avoid the direct flights? Do they think that laptops in cargo holds are safer, an alleged bomb can’t be set on a timer? Why would terrorists even be bothering with bringing laptop sized bombs on a plane when they can fix them to a drone, easily purchased by anyone.
The most logical explanation is that the US administration is trying to stick it to the ME3 (Emirates, Etihad & Qatar) which are competing with their own airlines in certain markets. The UK ban doesn’t affect the ME3 so this supports the theory.
ECO-TOURISTS MOST LIKELY TO BE AFFECTED
Since this blog targets people using miles and points to facilitate eco-tourism:
- People using Star Alliance awards on Turkish Airlines, Egypt Air between the USA or UK and Africa, Asia or Australia.
- People using One World Alliance awards on Qatar Airways (USA only) or Royal Jordanian between the USA or UK and Africa, Asia or Australia.
- People using Emirates on any of the afore mentioned routes.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF
- If you are forced to check your laptop or camera, make sure they are very securely wrapped to protect against baggage handlers. Use layers of whatever you have-clothes, bubble-wrap, crumpled newspapers to cushion cameras.
- Carry on the lenses separately if allowed.
- Back up your photos and personal documents to a usb drive and carry on board, also bring the camera’s SD cards with you.
- Put them inside a box securely wrapped and taped up, then put the box inside a suitcase with a TSA approved lock (if you have one) or another box. Double boxes.
Can anyone think of anything else? I haven’t been in this position and I hope I won’t be (if Australia doesn’t join the insanity)!