The US Electronics Ban begins to fade


Dubai and Istanbul joined Abu Dhabi as three airports where large electronics are once again allowed on board for flights to the United States.

Since March flights originating at 10 airports in eight countries – Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey – saw the ban in place. When it was announced there was no set of criteria under which an airport or country could be removed from the list. Since the United States announced such rules airports have rushed to implement the new security measures, hoping to return to normalcy for the passenger experience and for passenger demand. Saudi Arabia’s Saudia airlines indicated that it expects to be similarly approved within two weeks as it adjusts its screening approach in Riyadh and Jeddah.

I wrote earlier in the week about how I mostly find this to be a performance of security theatre rather than real security. And I’m still struggling to get past that. The knee-jerk reaction on the part of US authorities to implement a hard ban with no set of criteria under which airlines or airports could demonstrate compliance was a mess. The fact that Abu Dhabi was the first to clear off the blacklist should not be surprising given that it is a US CBP preclearance facility, subjecting passengers to immigration, customs and security procedures that match those in the USA, at least in theory. That it was blocked at all raises more questions than probably should be considered.

Read More: Did the US-EU electronics ban idea really die?

I’ve got no problem with security processes that address real risk and that are implemented in a logical manner. This electronics ban appears to have been neither of those, especially with the inconsistent application between the US and UK and lack of application by others based on the same intelligence reports. But at least we’re starting to see the inconsistencies fade that now as the US government is able to set a framework of policies and rules, moving beyond the flailing of prior policies.

Read more: Destroying the global economy, one Electronics Ban at a time

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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, and LinkedIn.
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