U.S. bans most carry-on electronic devices on flights from 8 nations in Middle East, North Africa

Flights from UAE will not be allowed to have most electronic devices in the cabin
(Image credit: Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images)

Early Tuesday, the Trump administration announced that passengers on direct flights from 10 airports in eight majority-Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa will not be allowed to bring electronic devices larger than a cellphone into the airplane cabin with them. The new rule is effective immediately, and any of the foreign airlines that fail to comply in 96 hours may be barred from flying to the U.S. Trump administration officials said the ban was not linked to any specific or credible terrorist threat and was meant to fill gaps in airport security in the eight countries — Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Kuwait, and Morocco.

The Trump administration said foreign officials were informed of the ban starting Sunday, but it still caused confusion in the targeted nations Tuesday morning. Officials at Cairo's international airport said they have received no instructions from the U.S., and Royal Jordanian airlines says it has not yet started to ban laptops, tablets, and other electronics from the cabin.

Aviation security expert Jeffrey Price pointed out some downsides to the indefinite ban. "There would be a huge disadvantage to having everyone put their electronics in checked baggage," he told The Associated Press, including batteries exploding in the hull and a sharp increase in thefts from baggage, as happened when Britain tried a similar ban in 2006.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.