Laptop flight ban still on the table, DHS insists

The ban on large electronics on flights from Europe is not here yet. Officials deny the ban has been nixed, however, saying the option remains open.

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
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Approaching Airplane

You soon might not be able to count on killing time with FreeCell on international flights.

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The back and forth on the laptop travel ban has just gotten a bit more dramatic.

Earlier today, Politico ran an article citing a source saying that that the US has decided not to introduce a ban on laptops on flights between the US and Europe. In response, the Department of Homeland Security said all options are still on the table.

The DHS in March temporarily banned passengers from carrying devices larger than mobile phones on flights from 10 Middle Easter and African countries. Instead, those items had to be placed in checked baggage. Then earlier this month, the DHS said it may ban laptops on all flights from Europe as well. It enacted the ban after intelligence revealed terrorists were developing an explosive that could be hidden in portable electronic devices.

David Lapan, the deputy assistant secretary for media operations, said in a statement sent to CNET Tuesday:

"Secretary Kelly had a call today with European Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc to discuss aviation security. Three items were discussed. First, they agreed on the need to raise the bar for aviation security globally, including through a range of potential seen and unseen enhancements. Second, the parties agreed to continue to work together to secure global aviation and to maintain clear lines of communication and cooperation. [...] Finally, while a much-discussed expansion of the ban on large electronic devices in the cabin on flights to the United States was not announced today, the Secretary made it clear that the an expansion is still on the table. Secretary Kelly affirmed he will implement any and all measures necessary to secure commercial aircraft flying to the United States -- including prohibiting large electronic devices from the passenger cabin -- if the intelligence and threat level warrant it."

In short, there's no decision yet one way or another, but it's probably a good idea to think of something other than your laptop to ease the pain of a long international flight.


Tens of millions of people fly between Europe and North America every year. Putting in place a ban on large electronics would cause "logistical chaos," with the ban causing the equivalent of $1.1 billion in lost time to passengers, according to the International Air Transport Association, which represents 265 airlines.