A complete electronics ban on Royal Jordanian flights to the United States


The now-deleted tweet from Royal Jordanian that spilled the beans on the latest travel ban for inbound flights to the United States
The now-deleted tweet from Royal Jordanian that spilled the beans on the latest travel ban for inbound flights to the United States

Royal Jordanian will no longer permit electronics in the cabin on its flights to the United States. The new policy was stated on the company’s Twitter account Monday afternoon and takes effect on Tuesday. And it is absolutely bizarre.

UPDATE: As many as 13 countries may be affected by this new policy; details are evolving.

The company cites “instructions from the concerned US departments” as driving the move, one which excludes only cell phones and medical devices needed during the flight. Laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games are explicitly listed as items to be “carried in the checked baggage only.”

The now-deleted tweet from Royal Jordanian that spilled the beans on the latest travel ban for inbound flights to the United States
The now-deleted tweet from Royal Jordanian that spilled the beans on the latest travel ban for inbound flights to the United States

https://twitter.com/RoyalJordanian/status/843860881947725825

The first flight affected by this policy will be the carrier’s flight to New York’s JFK airport on Tuesday leaving Amman at 10:05a local time. Passengers have only 15 hours to adjust to the new rules.

And by “adjust” I mostly mean find a different airline to travel with that doesn’t have such a ridiculous set of rules. Airlines will not assume liability for electronics in checked bags and even if they did the impact of having them “lost” or broken during a trip is far greater than just the cash value of the replacement. On the plus side, I do suppose this means fewer things for inbound passengers to have to surrender to legally questionable searches at Customs when they arrive in the United States.

More to come should RJ update the announcement with any additional details but, for now, I’d stay away.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

78 Comments

  1. i wouldn’t only stay away because of the inconvenience and risk of lost/stolen laptops, but because RJ have obviously received a very specific security threat

    1. I’ve been thinking about the specific security threat angle a bit. Obviously that’s a reasonable inference to make from the policy announcement and short implementation timing. But does the checked baggage screening offer that much greater detail/sensitivity/whatever to justify the implied outcome that a ‘device” will be caught on one set of scanners but not the other?

      Not to mention that a malicious device in the hold (along with all those extra batteries down there) is still rather risky.

  2. I’d like to see someone carrying a DVD player on a flight. I’m assuming they meant a portable DVD player with a screen, but I’d like to see someone holding the stand alone DVD player on their lap throughout a flight.

    1. I did have a DVD/BluRay player in my carry-on luggage when I returned to the US from living in China. Didn’t trust the airline to not have it stolen and wanted it to play the discs I had with me until my stuff was shipped from China.

  3. Now hearing rumor that other countries are likely included in the new policy, as many as 13 possibly. Lots of unknown bits at this point but this is not the whole story at all.

  4. According to a friend – All airlines flying out of the Middle East to the US will have to comply with this policy. Airports with a US pre-clearance facility (Abu Dhabi) will be exempt. It will start on the 21st. It’s gonna suck.

    1. A Saudia exec shared that 13 countries are affected and that they have 96 hours to implement. This is essentially an end-run on the EO that was blocked in the courts. If you cannot ban the passengers just make the experience so unbelievably horrid that they won’t want to make the trip and the flights so financially troubled for the airlines that they’ll cut services.

      In other words, all sorts of shitty.

      1. Yep. That was my thought was well. If we can’t ban the pax, we’ll ban their stuff so they don’t want to come here

        1. Talk about jumping to conclusions… no conspiracy theorists here… Bahaha

  5. If they are concerned about terrorism allowing cell phones seems strange. A smartphone is essentially a computer with the advantage of wireless communication built it.
    Maybe it’s because customs is getting overwhelmed (or about to get overwhelmed?) by the number of (or thoroughness) of the electronic searches they are doing. Discouraging people to bring electronics by making it a pain in the ass would be one way to limit that. One the flip side how do you search a laptop that have been crushed in someone’s carry on?

    1. Then why allow electronics at all?

      The last time an inbound flight to the US was blown out of the sky due to a bomb concealed in a personal electronic device was PA 103. A timer with nobody on board to trigger the device hidden in checked baggage did what it was supposed to do.

      Banning electronics just from carry-on bags, and requiring them to be checked as luggage doesn’t really secure anything. And, it raises other accidental risks with lithium batteries.

  6. Immediate pause to airlines considering removing IFE thinking passengers will bring their own device for entertainment?

  7. Not sure how horrid this is for most passengers. Do all that many carry a laptop?

    A pain for some biz travelers, especially those that don’t have an office on both ends.

    Seems like a classic trade war salvo. Go after a pain point that hurts a minority of those involved, but enough to get some concessions.

  8. @ Greg it is any electronic device other than a phone or medical device so not just laptops. I would guess the number of passengers impacted would be pretty high, probably the majority. Many folks will likely be carrying a camera, tablet, or game device. Heck I still carry an MP3 player and that would technically have to be checked based on RJ’s write up even though it is very small.

    1. Then they are thinking along the lines of people forcing batteries to explode inflight. However as others have said if that then results in baggage bins full of batteries, it’s another issue.

  9. Shouldn’t be difficult to figure out 13 ME and Africa destinations that are not served nonstop by US airlines..right, Seth? 🙂

    1. It was mentioned somewhere that US airlines are unaffected because they don’t have nonstop flights to/from the destinations in question. So that eliminates DL, LY, and UA.

  10. This won’t apply to you if you have never flown their airline.because it applies only to their “dearest” passengers, 🙂

  11. I don’t trusted TSA & DHS behaviors. There’s no such things. There’s no banned laptop, iPads, camera and etc. That’s not right. It’s free country. Those passengers had it right to work on laptop.

  12. From a security point of view, this makes no sense at all. Those wishing to do harm will travel by carriers / cities outside the ban.

    Allowing cellphones appears to go against the gist of the ban

    Forcing all that equipment with those batteries into the hold is inviting problems with fire etc

    The fact that the Government agency is saying nothing while the story is well publicised at this stage is strange

    I wonder if this is a politically motivated move and nothing at all to do with security

    1. In some respects yes in some respects no. I do think the me3 got lumped into it because it made sense. I don’t get why AUH is on the list since us CIS is there. But then again….

      I do think there is a legitimate reason for the ban otherwise the UK wouldn’t have joined in. However, putting this stuff in the hold doesn’t solve anything and make some things worse.

    2. I can see how smaller explosives could be more dangerous in the cabin than in the cargo hold.

      I don’t understand why ME3 airports are on the US list, but not on the UK list. Different intelligence sources? Unlikely.

      I don’t understand what this accomplished, in reality, since it appears once can make a connection through airports where transit passengers don’t have to clear additional security.

    3. I also don’t see why Nigeria is exempt from this ban. Is security situation in Lagos much better than, say, in Dubai?

      Is Pakistan not a country with a fairly large radicalized population?

  13. Exactly what I was thinking Igor Matlin!

    IT’S A TRADE BARRIER.

    What? You didn’t think all those AMERICAN Airlines’ CEOs were at the White House just to discuss free markets?

  14. With a whoosh of a pen, you just made it entirely inconvenient to connect or O&D on any ME3 carrier or the national flag carrier from any of those airports. What’s brilliant about it is that since no US3 carrier had direct flights to those cities, there is no direct benefit to them, so you they can plausibly deny it isn’t a barrier.

    European carriers are just as complicit, guess how many more people are going to transit in FRA, LHR, etc.

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