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US Set to Ban Carry-On Laptops for Flights from UK: Report

The US authorities are set to ban laptops from carry-on baggage on all flights from Europe and the UK, with an announcement expected as early as today, according to reports.

The rumor-mill has been in overdrive about such a decision since both Washington and London made moves in March to institute a similar ban for flights coming from several countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

Now, unnamed “European security officials” have told The Daily Beast that the ban would be announced on Thursday.

An official Department of Homeland Security statement on the affair at the time of writing claims only that such a move is being considered:

“No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration. DHS continues to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes when necessary to keep air travelers safe.”

A ban on electronic items larger than a regular-sized smartphone would play havoc with travelers’ plans, especially business travelers looking to stay productive whilst in the air.

It may even increase the risk of corporate laptops being lost or stolen as they are handled by airport staff, not to mention increasing the risk of lithium battery-related fires in the hold.

According to the report, there were 33 incidents of passenger-owned electronic devices in the cabin causing fire emergencies during flights in 2016, including three cases related to laptops and two linked to tablets.

If these had occurred while the items were in the aircraft hold the results could have been catastrophic.

Ironically, the ban itself is intended to mitigate the threat of terrorists smuggling explosive devices on board in electronic devices. Critics of the policy say such devices would work just as well in the hold of an aircraft.

A bomb hidden in a laptop is thought to have been responsible for an explosion on a plane in 2016 claimed by Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab.

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