The Department of Homeland Security has added enhancements for select, “last point of departure airports” with commercial flights to the United States. The “enhancement” is that all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone or a smart phone must be placed in checked luggage.
In layman’s terms, passengers traveling on flights from the following airports to the United States, effective immediately, will likely see additional airport security procedures because there has been, “credible evidence” in the past that such devices can be used for terrorist activities.
Purportedly, there is a “threat” at large. As such, in the near-term, if any passengers are originating or connecting from the following cities, then they will be impacted by the new procedures:
- Amman, Jordan
- Cairo, Egypt
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- Kuwait City, Kuwait
- Casablanca, Morocco
- Doha, Qatar
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The scope of these new procedures will effect thousands of passengers traveling daily to the United States. As such, it is imperative to know what to expect if you’re flying on the following routes in the near-term future.
From Amman Queen Alia International (AMM)
- to Chicago O’Hare (Royal Jordanian)
- to New York JFK (Royal Jordanian)
- to Detroit via Montreal (Royal Jordanian)
From Cairo International (CAI)
- to New York JFK (Egyptair)
From Istanbul Ataturk (IST)
- to Atlanta Hartsfield – Jackson (Turkish)
- to Boston Logan (Turkish)
- to Chicago O’Hare (Turkish)
- to Houston Intercontinental (Turkish)
- to Los Angeles International (Turkish)
- to Miami International (Turkish)
- to New York JFK (Turkish)
- to San Francisco International (Turkish)
- to Washington Dulles (Turkish)
From Jeddah King Abdul-Aziz International (JED)
- to Los Angeles International (Saudia)
- to New York JFK (Saudia)
- to Washington Dulles (Saudia)
From Riyadh King Khalid International (RUH)
- to Los Angeles International via Jeddah (Saudia)
- to New York JFK (Saudia)
- to Washington Dulles (Saudia)
From Kuwait International (KWI)
- to New York JFK (Kuwait Airways)
- to New York JFK via Shannon (Kuwait Airways)
From Casablanca Mohammed V (CMN)
- to New York JFK (Royal Air Maroc)
- to Washington Dulles (Royal Air Maroc)
From Doha Hamad International (DOH)
- to Atlanta Hartsfield – Jackson (Qatar Airways)
- to Boston Logan (Qatar Airways)
- to Chicago O’Hare (Qatar Airways)
- to Dallas/Ft. Worth International (Qatar Airways)
- to Houston Intercontinental (Qatar Airways)
- to Los Angeles International (Qatar Airways)
- to Miami International (Qatar Airways)
- to New York JFK (Qatar Airways)
- to Philadelphia International (Qatar Airways)
- to Washington Dulles (Qatar Airways)
From Dubai International (DXB)
- to Boston Logan (Emirates)
- to Chicago O’Hare (Emirates)
- to Dallas/Ft. Worth International (Emirates)
- to Fort Lauderdale International (Emirates)
- to Houston Intercontinental (Emirates)
- to Los Angeles International (Emirates)
- to New York JFK (Emirates)
- to New York JFK via Milan (Emirates)**
- to Newark Liberty International via Athens (Emirates)**
- to Orlando International (Emirates)
- to San Francisco International (Emirates)
- to Seattle – Tacoma International (Emirates)
- to Washington Dulles (Emirates)
From Abu Dhabi International (AUH)
- to Chicago O’Hare (Etihad)
- to Dallas/Ft. Worth Intercontinental (Etihad)
- to Los Angeles International (Etihad)
- to New York JFK (Etihad)
- to San Francisco International (Etihad)
- to Washington Dulles (Etihad)
Each of the cities isolated on this list has only a single airport offering service between city pairs to and from the U.S. As such, the DHS has notified all ten carriers impacted on this list (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Saudia Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Jordanian, Royal Air Maroc and Egyptair) and they have 96 hours to comply, beginning at 8:00 AM Eastern Time on March 21.
It is noteworthy that from the Middle East, Tel Aviv is excluded from this list. However, it is well known that Ben Gurion airport has extremely stringent security procedures for outbound passengers.
Morocco has been isolated as the sole African nation on this list, excluding other countries which offer nonstop air transport to the U.S. (South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Togo, Ethiopia, Cabo Verde).
It is also noteworthy that flights from Pakistan are excluded from this list. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) operates scheduled service from New York JFK nonstop to Lahore, although the return service makes a security stop in Manchester, England.
It is unclear whether fifth-freedom routes such as Emirates’ Milan – New York JFK or Athens – Newark flights will be impacted, but it is presumable given the fact that these routes originate in the home countries impacted by the devices ban. It is also interesting from a timing perspective, given that Emirates’ highly controversial fifth-freedom route from Athens to Newark commenced a week before this ban was put into place.
Per its website, the DHS claims that this will only impact a, “small” number of airports given that these are only 10 airports out of the 250+ with “last points of departure” service to the United States. However, a cursory look at data per OAG shows that collectively, these airlines offer over 125,000 weekly seats between the impacted countries and the United States. This is more than the number of weekly seats offered from the U.S. to major cities like Tokyo, Frankfurt or Paris, and just slightly less than London or Toronto. In other words, the impact will be much larger than the DHS is projecting.
The recommendation is for passengers to check their devices into their checked luggage at their point of origin. Examples of PEDs that fit within the criteria are large cameras, tablets, laptops and e-readers.
This will undoubtedly be a huge pain for airline travelers, given how many people rely on completing work during extensive journeys (using a laptop) or may be concerned about liability (placing an expensive camera into a checked back in-flight is nerve-wracking) or rely on their tablets or e-readers to catch up on books.
What are your thoughts on the travel ban? Are you or someone you know personally impacted?