A couple of weeks ago the US declared that not only wouldn’t they extend the ban on electronics larger than a standard cell phone to European flights, but they’d remove it from flights coming from Mideast airports, provided each airport around the world changed its security procedures to U.S. specifications.
The ban has been lifted from a majority of countries where it had earlier been imposed. It remains in place for Royal Air Maroc flights from Casablanca, Morocco and Saudia flights from Jeddah and Riyadh although Saudia has said the ban will be lifted on them in a matter of days.
However there are new security procedures in place in airports where the ban had previously been in effect.
Credit: Hans Mast
Hans Mast shares what the procedures are like in Doha flying Qatar.
They’re asking before you enter gate side security whether you have electronic devices larger than cellphone and then they shunt you into separate line where you remove all aforementioned electronics.
They use explosive trace detector (Smith Ionscan 500DT) on all those electronics and then they seal them into a duty free bag with a sealing sticker and send you through regular gate side security procedures.
Once you go through that, you’re allowed to remove your electronics from Duty Free bag and repack.
Credit: Hans Mast
All of the new procedures are costly — billions of dollars across more than 200 airports airports and each day’s flights. Explosive trace detection equipment alone costs $25,000 to $50,000 per individual unit and of course those units have to be staffed. 3-D scanners for checking luggage are far more expensive. Some airports will have to create physical modifications to ensure new procedures are targeted at U.S. flights.
Hopefully this is a response to a real high probability threat and these techniques are both targeted and effective. Selfishly though I’m just glad not to have to travel on flights with large quantities of lithium ion batteries in the cargo hold.