Following a similar controversial ban from the US, Britain has announced a cabin baggage ban on electronic devices from six Muslim-majority countries. The ban will affect direct passenger flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia.
It affects devices larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide, or 1.5cm deep which simply means that you can carry your smartphone and nothing else. The prohibition will influence only cabin baggage in that flyers can still carry these devices in their hold luggage but not in their carry bags.
The UK government called the move "necessary, effective and proportionate".
The ban covers six UK carriers including British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook, and Thomson, and eight overseas carriers comprising of Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Egyptair, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air, Saudia.
The move will also hit UK-bound passengers from other countries that may have connecting flights from the aforementioned countries. The UK ban, unlike the US one, directly impacts national carriers and may cause a diplomatic ruckus for the country. But, the government firmly maintains that the move is a cautionary one.
UK Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling said:
"We understand the frustration that these measures may cause and we are working with the aviation industry to minimise any impact."
The bans are being pinned on previous attacks on passenger planes in Russia (2015) and Somalia (2016). "Evaluated intelligence," the Department of Homeland Security added, "indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items."
It is up to individual airlines to decide when to enforce the ban so affected travelers should contact their chosen carrier for more information.