If you thought TSA’s heightened pat-down security measures sounded like an ordeal, guess again.
On Monday night, the Department of Homeland Security instituted a measure banning any electronic carry-on items “larger than a cellphone” on American-bound flights departing from eight majority muslim countries. That means iPads, handheld gaming devices, laptops, cameras, travel printers and tablets of all models are now checked baggage when departing for American soil from 10 airports across the Middle East and Africa.
Only foreign airlines are affected by the indefinite ban, which takes effect today, per the Trump administration’s directive. The airports included are in the following cities according to the New York Times:
- Amman, Jordan
- Cairo, Egypt
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- Kuwait City, Kuwait
- Casablanca, Morocco
- Doha, Qatar
- Dubai, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
In case you’ve never looked at a map, traveling from the Middle East or North Africa to the United States is a long journey. Without the help of your cherished iPad, it might be worthwhile to invest in some serious sleep aides.
As one’s mind logically jumps toward the reasons why such a measure was enacted, the DHS cited no credible intelligence regarding a known terrorist plot stemming from any of the countries in question. Critics have called the move hastily conceived -- similar to both immigration bans enacted by the Trump administration that have been blocked by federal judges. For example, Gizmodo notes the rule’s inclusion of flights departing from Abu Dhabi that already let travelers receive pre-clearance from US Customs before boarding a flight. There are 14 other airports worldwide that employ pre-clearance techniques in conjunction with the DHS, so including Abu Dhabi in this specific program seems incongruous with the broader policy. Needless to say, there’s definitely some grey area here that the administration hadn’t considered -- and it's already sowing confusion throughout the world.