21 Mar 2017

US bans devices in flights from Asia and Africa

Since the Trump administration can’t ban travelers from various Muslim countries, it has dedicated all its powers of making their trip to the USA the most boring ever. Today a new flight restriction was enacted barring travelers from specific countries to carry on them devices largen than a smartphone, inside the passengers’ cabin.

This restriction concerns passengers headed to the Unites States from ten airports in eight Muslim countries. The new policy must be followed within 96 hours by airlines, flying to the US, from the following airports: Istanbul, Cairo, Amman, Jeddah, Riyadh, Kuwait, Casablanca, Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The restriction applies only to people that travel with foreign airlines and not any American-owned. The discrimination between airline companies is an obvious effort by the Trump administration, to divert customers to American-interest airlines.

The Department of Homeland Security announced that the restricted items include laptops, cameras, tablets and portable video games devices. Aircraft crews are also included in the restriction. Homeland Security officials, who spoke to journalists, said that it is not known yet how long the ban will last, or if it is going to be extended to other airports in the future. Asked if there is information about an imminent terrorist attack that is associated with the ban, officials answered that the new policy is only an attempt to address gaps in foreign airport security that have been detected.

A senior administration official told the USA TODAY, that “the effort is not focused specifically on any location or country. It is addressing the threat and how we perceive it. We are doing everything that we can to guarantee the safety of our travelling public.” He didn’t have an answer on the question about what could happen if a terrorist used a connecting flight to the US, and he didn’t disclose why it will be safer to have electronics in cargo and not in the passengers’ cabin.

An estimated 50 flights per day heading to the US are going to be affected by the new policy. The Dubai International airport is already employing Homeland Security preclearance techniques for passengers travelling to the US. Passengers are undergoing a thorough check by the US Customs officials before boarding flights. The nine airlines affected are the following: Turkish Airlines, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Egypt Air, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Royal Air Morocco.

It should be noted, that the new restriction affects different countries than those of the first travel ban that Donald Trump’s administration imposed two months ago. The new ban is aimed towards countries that are firm US allies such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan. The first travel ban was targeted at countries that had poor relationships with the US, like Yemen, Iran and Somalia. The two combined restrictions mean that 15 Muslim countries in Asia and Africa are facing some kind of travel restriction. No one knows how long the restrictions will last, but it seems that Donald Trump is delivering his promise to stop Muslim people from coming to the US.