Sat Mar 25, 2017 01:18PM
Passengers traveling to the United States from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries will be prohibited from bringing laptops, tablets and other portable electronic devices on board with them when they fly, March 21, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
Passengers traveling to the United States from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries will be prohibited from bringing laptops, tablets and other portable electronic devices on board with them when they fly, March 21, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

A US and UK ban that forbids electronic devices larger then a cell phone from being carried into cabin baggage on flights from certain states has come into effect.

The ban affects Turkey and some countries in the Middle East and North Africa such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia and Lebanon.

Turkish airlines have already started to implement the ban after what American and British officials claimed that there is an increased risk that  larger electronic devices measuring 16x9.3x1.5 cementers could contain explosives.

The US Department for Homeland Security has cited attacks on planes and airports over the past two years as the reason for the ban. Bombs had been hidden in such items as a soft drink can and laptops, it said referring to the downing of a Russian airliner over Egypt in October 2015 with the loss of 224 lives and the unsuccessful Somali attack last year, respectively.

However, the Turkish transport minister has harshly criticized the new measures. And, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the US and the UK to lift the ban as soon as possible.

The US ban affects airlines from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Jordan, Qatar, Egypt and Kuwait.

Britain has followed the US lead, imposing restrictions on carry-on electronic devices on planes coming from certain airports in 13 Muslim-majority countries including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. The British restrictions however do not include the UAE or Qatar.

A man puts his laptop inside his suitcase at Kuwait International Airport in Kuwait City before boarding a flight to the United States on March 23, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Canada is also considering taking similar measures. Ottawa said it will examine all the related information presented by the US and Britain. 

Passengers can still take most smartphones, games consoles and DVD players onto the plane, a UK government spokeswoman said.

However, experts and technologists have been critical of the measure, saying it contradicts with the basic computer science.

European security experts are to meet next week to discuss the US and the UK bans, The Guardian newspaper reported.

Last week, the US transportation safety administration announced that passengers from thirteen countries, travelling to the US, would no longer be allowed to carry onboard gadgets larger than a cell phone.

The new regulation bans passengers from bringing laptops, tablets and cameras larger than cell phones into the cabin. Airlines had been given 96 hours to abide by the rule. Saudi Arabia’s Saudia Airlines and Royal Jordanian airlines are among the affected ones.

Royal Jordanian Airlines has tweeted suggestions of things to do during a long flight instead of using an electronic device.

Royal Jordanian Airlines has tweeted suggestions of things to do during a long flight instead of using an electronic device. (Twitter Photo)

Ironically none of the countries affected by this order were in the list including the controversial travel ban decree issued by President Donald Trump after taking office in January.

In the Initial executive order signed by Trump, people from Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen faced a 90-day entry ban, indefinitely barring refugees from Syria. However, in the revised order Iraq was taken off the list. But the revised also faced court hurdle as a federal judge in Hawaii issued a sweeping freeze of ban citing discrimination against citizens of six Muslim-majority countries.