The laptop ban on airplanes is about to get worse. The ban that was imposed by the US Department of Homeland Security is now likely to extend and include incoming nonstop flights from European countries to the United States. Modalities for the ban are already starting to take shape and in fact, officials from the Trump administration are expected to meet with counterparts from Europe in Brussels to discuss how the ban will be enforced. Even though there hasn’t been any official decision from the DHS on extending the ban to include Europe, many analysts in the aviation sector believe that it’s inevitable and it’s only a matter of time before the ban comes into full effect.
The ban has already affected 10 airports in the Middle East so far. The DHS says that the rules that will prohibit all electronic devices larger than cell phones on board planes. And are based on intelligence suggesting that there are terrorist organizations that have already developed ways to smuggle deadly explosives through these devices. So, with the ban now expected to expand into more countries, what will be the effects on airlines, staff, and the passengers?
In a nutshell, it’s not looking good. According to airline industry analysts, the expansion of the ban will lead to what they call a “summer of hell” in air travel. Even though the current ban only affects 50 flights by nine airlines, if it were to be extended to Europe, it will affect nearly 400 nonstop flights every day from 49 major airports in the region operated by nearly 60 airlines. Analysts also argue that because of the additional screening, passengers will now be required to arrive at the airport at least three or four hours before the flight. This will create massive congestion.
The response for many European airlines in case such a ban was to be implemented will be to discourage passengers from bringing their laptops aboard flights. There are also fears that the ban could impact the airlines negatively leading to loss of revenue and loss of jobs. Analysts argue that a significant number of customers who carry laptops with them during their travel do it because of how important such devices are in the day to day operations of their businesses. There are also passengers who have company issued laptops. There are a lot of concerns that a laptop ban would encourage companies to charter flights leading to a loss of business for major airlines.
There are, however, those who are still optimistic saying that the laptop ban onboard flights will not really have any big effect on the airlines and their financial health. The argument here is that if someone is traveling to Europe or to the US for business then they are doing it because the company they represent has significant interest in those particular regions. Arranging for a laptop upon arrival would not be a problem for such companies. Either way, a ban will still have some negative effects and while the modalities on how to implement it are still not known, one thing is for sure, it’s coming soon.