US lifts laptop ban on Emirates and Turkish Airlines

Brittany Jones-Cooper
Reporter
Passengers flying Emirates from Dubai to the US can now place laptops in their carry-on bags.

Emirates, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines are welcoming travelers, as the US lifts the electronics ban on US-bound flights operated by the airlines.

Effectively immediately, Emirates passengers will be able to take their laptops on board US-bound flights from Dubai International airport. Similarly, Turkish Airlines flights from Istanbul and Qatar Airways flights from Hamad International airport in Doha have also been exempt from the electronics ban.

After the original ban was issued in March, Emirates cut some of its flights to the US and saw profits drop 82%. According to its annual report, the US restrictions on visas and the introduction of the electronics ban contributed to major setbacks, “all of which had a direct impact on consumer interest and demand for air travel into the U.S., one of our biggest growth potential markets,” Emirates wrote in its report.

This news came after the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) gave Etihad Airways the same permissions on Sunday. The airline received approval after enhancing screening practices at its base in Abu Dhabi International Airport. 

In a statement to Reuters, a TSA spokesperson said the three airlines became exempt from the electronics ban because they were ready to comply with TSA security measures.

The electronics ban affects US-bound flights from 10 airports in eight countries, including Qatar, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It prevents passengers from placing electronics larger than a smartphone in their carry-on bags. The precaution was taken after intelligence officials learned that Islamic State militants had explosives that could be placed in laptops and large electronics.

The other travel ban

Parts of Trump’s travel ban can now be enforced.

It can be a bit confusing, but this electronics ban is separate from the larger travel ban issued by the Trump administration on Jan. 27.

After getting blocked in January, Trump issued a revised  travel ban on March 6 that affected six predominantly Muslim countries: Syria, Somalia, Libya, Iran, Sudan and Yemen. The order placed a temporary 90-day ban on travelers from those six countries.  In addition to tourists, the ban stopped students and workers with non-immigrant visas, and prohibited any refugees from entering the country for 120 days.

The measure was instantly halted by federal judges, but on June 29, portions of it went into effect after the Supreme Court agreed to lift some of the suspensions and hear the case in October.

Currently, the 90-day ban is in effect for the six predominantly Muslim countries (90 days starting from the June 29 Supreme Court decision). But the latest twist means people with a “bona fide” relationship with someone already in the US will be allowed to enter. These relationships include immediate family like parents, spouses, siblings, and children. Not included are grandparents, aunts, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins.

During the 90-day ban, the administration says it will internally review screening procedures for visa applicants from those six countries.

Refugees are also banned for the next 120 days unless thy have a “bona fide” relationship in the US.

As for students and workers with non-immigrant visas, they will be able to enter the country because the administration already issues those visas based on bona fide relationships.

The DHS also enhanced screening practices

US Customs and Border Patrol processes travelers.

On top of all of the bans, the Department of Homeland Security announced on June 29 that screening procedures would be enhanced on all US-bound international flights.

The new measures will affect about 2,100 inbound flights on 180 airlines from 280 airports around the world. The DHS didn’t go into specifics, but they did say that additional time would be needed to screen passengers and electronics. This means that international travelers could see longer border control lines at US airports.

Ultimately, airports around the world are being asked to step up their screening procedures as well, with the DHS calling for more international airports to create “preclearance locations.” These centers can be used to inspect travelers before they board a flight to the US.

If airlines and airports don’t comply with the new DHS measures, they could face an electronics ban or suspension of flights to the US.

This story was updated on July 6 to reflect changes to the electronics ban. 

Brittany is a reporter at Yahoo Finance.

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