A new report seems to confirm what frequent flyers and fans of European travel have been worrying about for some time now. According to the Daily Beast, the Department of Homeland Security will unveil new guidelines Thursday that require passengers to check their laptops on flights to Europe. News of the expanded "large electronics ban," aka the "laptop ban" reportedly comes from European security officials.
The move would expand a ban that already applies to nonstop flights to the US from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa, justified by the notion that terrorists could more easily conceal bombs by grafting them onto laptops or other devices. As many outlets pointed out at the time, the move could actually make air travel less safe for passengers, especially now that we live in a world where battery-operated headphones, smartphones, and laptops alike run the risk of exploding on planes. The worry is that if those devices -- rigged with bombs or not -- were to catch fire in a cargo hold, as opposed to in the cabin, the fires would be impossible to control mid-flight.
Right now however, the official line from the Department of Homeland Security is that any expansion of the ban is still "under consideration" but that no decisions have been made. That's what DHS spokesman David Lapan tweeted this afternoon:
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Of course Lapan's assurances did nothing to stanch the Twitter flow of distress, invective from frequent flyers, and jokes that came following The Daily Beast's report. Several were quick to point out that is not yet confirmed, but business travel would be hit the hardest by a potential ban.