By Casey ONeill on 28 March 2017

On March 21st US authorities announced that those flying into the USA from certain Middle Eastern destinations will not be allowed to carry large electronic devices, such as laptops or tablets, with them on their flight. Just under a week ago, UK authorities announced that they will follow suit.

If you have an upcoming trip to the USA or UK via the Middle East and are planning on taking electronic devices with you, then there is some important information that you need to be aware of:

What devices have been banned?

Those travelling into the UK from certain Middle Eastern countries will not be allowed to take electronic devices into the cabin if they are larger than 16cm (6.3ins) long, 9.3cm (3.6ins) wide or 1.5 cm (0.6ins) deep. 

The USA has not provided specific size guidelines. They have stated instead that the ban will apply to all electronic devices that are bigger than a smartphone.

Common electronic devices affected by the ban include laptops, tablets, cameras, e-readers, portable DVD players, electronic game units (larger than a smartphone), travel printers and travel scanners. 

Who will the ban apply to?

The ban will apply to those flying into the UK from:

  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey

The ban will apply to those flying into the USA from:

  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Morocco
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates

Please note: Flights from the USA and UK will not be affected. If you are taking a flight from the USA or UK to one of the countries listed above then you can take your electronic devices as carry-on luggage as per usual.  

I have a stopover (or connecting fight to meet) in one of the countries that the ban affects - will the ban apply to me?

Yes - the security ruling applies to “last point of departure airports”. This means that, if you are heading into the US or UK and your plane is taking off from a listed country, then the ban will apply - even if the plane was only stopping to refuel. You will need to make sure that electronic devices are checked in at your original departure point.

What do I do if my electrical device is lost or damaged whist in my checked in luggage?

You need to report the loss or damage to your airline as soon as it is discovered and obtain a Property Irregularity Report (PIR).  You should seek compensation from the airline for any loss or damage that has occurred.

Will my insurance cover for an electronic device that was lost or damaged while in my checked-in luggage?

Our policies exclude cover for the loss or damage of valuable items (including electronic devices) when they are in the possession of an airline carrier. 

We can, however, provide the following cover for laptops and other computer equipment carried in the hold of an aircraft where this is a mandatory requirement as a result of a government order:

  • Theft;
  • Loss, where the bag in which the items were being carried and all its contents is lost by the carrier.

Cover in each case would be dependent upon:

  • All other terms and conditions of the policy being met;
  • A PIR having been obtained from the airline;
  • You having attempted unsuccessfully to gain reimbursement from the airline.

If I forget to check-in my electronic device, will I be covered if it is confiscated prior to boarding?

No, it is your responsibility to keep up to date with and adhere to the rules and regulations that apply to them.

If my electronic device is lost or damaged while in my checked in luggage, will my insurance cover for lost files, photos and music?

No, our insurance does not provide cover for the items stored on an electronic device. We strongly suggest that all travellers ensure their files are completely backed-up prior to travel.

Advice for those affected by the ban

  • Leave non-essential electronic devices at home;
  • If an item is lost, damaged or stolen while in the custody of an airline carrier ALWAYS obtain a PIR;
  • Check whether you have any alternate insurance to cover your devices when they are outside your home;
  • Back up your data, photos, music and other important files before your leave home.

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