US, EU officials discuss ban on in-flight laptops

Friday, 19 May, 2017

According to the BBC, a four-hour meeting between USA and European Union officials beat out a compromise over the looming threat of all of Europe being added to the Americans' laptop-in-the-cabin ban, with European Union partners promising to boost departure security and checks on devices.

The probable expansion of the ban, which was imposed in March on flights to the United States from 10 mostly Middle Eastern airports, has raised concerns in Europe that it would disrupt travel and have little security payoff.

A 1 percent shift in business travel costs could lead to the loss of 71,000 jobs, almost $5 billion in economic growth, $3 billion in wages and $1.2 billion in tax collections, according to the GBTA.

In a letter to the US Department of Homeland Security and the European Commission, IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac called on officials to explore "alternative measures", including better bomb detection technology and behavioral screening.

However, De Junaic said it was hard to estimate the impact on carriers' bottom lines, but warned it could be significant given the reliance many have to the lucrative trans-Atlantic market. Many parents are able to keep their kids in check by sitting them in front of a laptop or tablet. Recently it was also announced that it could be applied to flights coming from the United Kingdom, and now they are saying it could expand to Europe.

A DHS spokesperson couldn't immediately be reached for comment for this story.

In a statement, the E.U. said European and US officials talked about security enhancements, including large electronics in checked baggage.

If the ban is expanded, Katz recommends that travelers upload vital documents to the cloud or email them to colleagues. Officials have said a decision could come in the next few weeks.

"Traveling with your laptop is part of everyday life", De Juniac told Bloomberg. The US had proposed the idea because of security concerns, but airlines opposed the move, and some experts said putting laptops in checked luggage actually posed a bigger concern of their lithium ion batteries igniting.

"Eventually I'd hope we could work to a solution that doesn't ban laptops in the cabin", Kelly said. Besides, he said, he sees plenty of business travelers who spend the flight sleeping. "Travelers will also be less inclined to purchase flights without entertainment systems if you're prohibited from bringing your own device".

Here's why they're anxious: The route between Europe and the the busiest global corridor in the world.

US anti-terror officials are looking at other areas "not exclusively Europe", David Lapan, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, told reporters in Washington on Tuesday. Other possibilities include deploying more specially trained security officers and explosives-detecting dogs.

The U.S. administration official said intelligence "continues to point to terrorist groups targeting commercial aviation and they are gradually pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks including smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items".