UH OH: Delta Already Has Signs for Electronics Ban on Flights to US from Europe, Says Ban Started Today

SFO 1K photographed a Delta sign, all professionally produced, announcing the electronics ban has begun on flights from Europe to the U.S.

The electronics ban is not in fact in effect, however it was expected to be apparently even by Delta Airlines.

There’s tremendous pushback from US airlines (who didn’t seem to mind at all the electronics ban on flights from airports they do not serve, funny that). There’s tremendous pushback from European governments including European safety agencies. And there’s no current word of similar restrictions being imposed by other governments like Canada that see similar intelligence as the U.S.

I’ve been somewhat skeptical that the electronics ban would be extended simply because of the lobbying power of the airlines and countries a European ban would hurt. However the chances of the ban going forward remain significant.

JT Genter tweets:

Get ready to route your international travels US to Europe, and then return Europe to Canada and back to the U.S.

Otherwise pick up a Chromebook or burner laptop and work from the cloud while abroad (don’t save any sensitive information on these disposable machines, don’t check them it, leaving your data outside your possession or leaving machines vulnerable to theft or installation of malware is not good security).

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Insane. BTW, from where exactly does this new fear of laptops stem? Have terrorists actually found a way to make a laptop appear to be a working computer to a TSA agent and make it explode in the air? I’m skeptical.

  2. I suspect DL is doing this on purpose to express thier displeasure at what DHS is trying to do with this ridiculous ban by being the one to implement the new restrictions “proactively” not waiting for them to make the announcement with little to no advance notice for implementation.

    Hopefully the backlash will be strong enough that they will reconsider this ridiculous ban.

  3. Do we know (or have good reason to believe) that all Chomebooks would be OK to bring on-board even if they ban laptops? I guess the battery packs are smaller?

    I have a couple of Chomebooks. Personally, I think they are fantastic to travel with, especially the smaller ones. They’re cheap (don’t have to worry much about damage or loss), lightweight and reliable. I’m sure there are travelers who need fancier mobile devices, but I would think 90% of folks would be just fine bringing a Chromebook.

  4. FYI, I’ve been told no laptop ban today or this weekend. Homeland Security Secretary Kelly plans to travel to Europe next week to discuss this issue. No decision has been made one way or the other on the ban.

    Hopefully, the more they talk, the more rational the decision will be.

    Personally, I’m travelling to Europe, too, and am going to bring a Chromebook and not a laptop, just in case a ban happens before I get back.

  5. BTW, the news is from a journalist. I’m sure it will be reported this afternoon.

  6. It’s amazing how lobbying can delay a “safety” directive. Yet, they had no issue slapping it on ME3 immediately, despite more terrorist attacks occurring Europe then UAE/Qatar.

  7. I find it curious that the language of the sign indicates that the only allowed devices are cell phones, as opposed to what has been previously reported (i.e. devices smaller than a cell phone, such as certain headphones, would be okay).

  8. Of course lobbying matters. In air travel, the more things negatively impact the elite, the less likely they are to happen.

    I mean, that’s why there’s pre-check, right?

    Obviously, the elite care a heck of a lot more about bringing their laptops to Europe than the few flights to the Middle East. A know this may come as a shock to some, but most elites still don’t travel to the Maldives via Dubai. 🙂 They do fly to London, however.

  9. tommyleo, in addition to the Somalia incident already mentioned, reportedly security forces conducting a raid in Yemen discovered that ISIS has managed to rig an iPad as a bomb while still retaining its functionality as a device (at least for a very short time, until the much smaller battery they swapped in to power the device while making room for explosives runs down). It wouldn’t be much of a bomb, but it would pass the “turn the device on and show it works” check at airport security, and it could do some damage if pressed directly against a window or the fuselage. So this is a real safety issue. That doesn’t mean, though, that an all-out electronics ban is the best way to deal with the problem.

  10. So how does this not eventually apply to all flights – domestic or international. If this really is a threat, is there some magic boundary that prevents the plot from being hatched on US soil? that would mean if you want to bring your laptop on a domestic flight, you would have to check your bag. good luck with that….

  11. All this is going to do is piss people off. And I’m quite bothered by the sign not specifying Europe or any other destination. I’m flying to Athens in September & figure that these TSA fools will adopt the policy by then. But the sign, and I know it’s been taken down, just says International flights. This better not refer to Cancun as we leave in a week with our 7 year old. If they do insist on these measures, they’re going to have to make IFE better. This really sickens me. What are airlines going to do with carry-on passengers? The TSA has a chance here to not overreact. Let’s hope they take it.

  12. BTW, I’ve read through some stories and I see nothing that would suggest that I could bring a chromebook on board. I think these are also banned under the current Middle East rules. True?

  13. @iahphx I think the Chromebook suggestion was not that you could bring it on board but that they are cheap (so less of an issue if lost or stolen) and store in the cloud mostly (so less risk of data exposure). I do not believe they would be allowed onboard per the ME ban.

    @Jim L I suspect this will apply to all flights eventually. It would cause chaos to implement all at once. I suspect they are implementing where they see the greatest risk and at a pace so everybody can learn how to scale the solution. That said I think this sucks and I don’t believe this is the best way to deal with the situation.

  14. Right @iahphx not today and these things rarely get announced over the weekend unless there’s a real dire threat which there isn’t.

  15. @iahphx – Chromebooks won’t be permitted, my point was that they’re more disposable. And you store everything in the cloud, if it’s stolen your data won’t be.

  16. Can’t wait to see how this plays out. Airlines removing seat back screens etc. and replaces them with streaming systems because “everyone” brings their own now. Now the US Gov bans personal devices airlines now have to? A: Restore seat back systems. B: Spend X amount of money and time lobbing to remove ban. C: Do nothing.

  17. Who is liable for airline or airport crew stealing your electronics or damaging them while throwing your bags? Anyone?
    Also, if someone wants to detonate such a device in the US they could easily check it then grab it before rechecking and boarding the final domestic segment, or connect through another North American city as already mentioned.

  18. I think British Airways must have anticipated the ban too, since not a working power outlet was to be found in the First Class section of the Galleries lounge in T3 LHR yesterday. They probably figured we wouldn’t need them….
    OK, yes, thread creep and a shot at BA, who deserve it.
    The electronics ban is, IMO, either:
    1) Entirely justified because of intelligence to which we are not privy. Although, the other four members of the Five Eyes must not be privy to it either since they aren’t planning similar measures, OR
    2)Just another government-led goat rope encouraged by airlines who otherwise can’t compete internationally. Hallo, Delta? Since Ed Bastion became CEO that airline has rapidly headed into the toilet, at least in its attitude to its customers.

    Woofie, Diamond on DL and Exec Plat on AA through 2019. Yes, I fly too much.
    If the laptop ban from Europe goes into effect I will leave a SugarSync’d laptop in London and make LHR my international fly base. Hence, the US airlines will suffer accordingly.

  19. And if you’re flying in very basic economy, the airlines will monetize this move by replacing the entertainment in the seat in front of you with a continuing roll of advertising. You must sit facing the screen, because the seat is too small for you to turn away. There is no way to get out of your seat, because the load factors are too high. So you will sit and watch ads for eight hours (because people don’t bring books with them any more). Mission accomplished for the airlines — another golden revenue stream!

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