Carry-on electronics rules changing on flights from some Middle East airports

and Liz Nagy
Monday, March 20, 2017 10:32PM
Changes are on the way for some air travelers. An announcement is expected Tuesday from Homeland Security Officials.


CHICAGO - Changes are on the way for some air travelers. An announcement is expected Tuesday from Homeland Security Officials.

Royal Jordanian Flight 263 landed a little while ago at O'Hare International Airport and is likely to be the last nonstop from Amman, the capital of Jordan, to Chicago in which passengers will be allowed to carry on a full array of personal electronics.

According to an announcement the airline posted on Twitter citing instructions from concerned U.S. departments, many popular electronic devices travelers carry on board planes, especially on long flights, including DVD players, tablets, computers, games and cameras, will be barred from being transported in carry-on luggage and instead must be put in checked baggage on those flights.

The tweet from Royal Jordanian Airlines was taken down Monday afternoon - apparently the airline jumped the gun on the announcement - but the information is correct and apparently the result of a terrorism concern. One top U.S. airline official told the I-Team that Homeland Security and Transportation Security officials anticipate releasing details Tuesday, but have communicated to U.S. carriers that the policy will not impact them. It will not apply to American, Delta and United; only certain foreign carriers with bases outside the U.S.

Flight attendants on board Flight 263 had no idea this would be their last flight to the U.S. from Jordan without restrictions on passengers' electronics.

"My father-in-law has a heart issues, so it's always good to have devices because we have to keep track of them," said Hannah Salman.

Passengers on those certain flights flying out of a specific list of airports in the Middle East and elsewhere will be banned from taking certain electronics on board the plane. They will be allowed to carry on cell phones and medical devices.

"I would like to use all the electronic stuff, like iPad," said Mike Jaber.

More than a dozen airlines flying into the U.S. will be covered by the new directive. American carriers are expected from the ban because they do not fly non-stop to the named Middle Eastern cities.

According to senior White House officials, the electronics ban stems from a specific security concern. A little more than a year ago a laptop loaded with explosives handed off in an airport detonated in a Somali airliner. Beginning Tuesday, the ban will affect nearly a dozen airports and countries in the Middle East.

"It makes it difficult to plan, both for us and for the travelers we're trying to help here," said Max Schleusener, one of the attorneys who have been stationed at O'Hare to help people coming from the countries affected by President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration and travel.

Once in place, the restrictions are expected to impact about 50 flights a day in and out of Chicago.
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