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UK follows US in restricting electronic devices on flights

Devices larger than phones won't be allowed in cabins on inbound flights to the UK from six countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Kent German/CNET

The UK government announced a ban on electronic devices being carried in cabins on some flights into the country on Tuesday afternoon.

The exact details are different from those included the similar electronics ban issued by the Department of Homeland Security in the US late Monday. Unlike the US, the UK ban does not include incoming flights from the UAE or Morocco. Instead it only applies to aircraft originating in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

Devices larger than a phone, including tablets and laptops, are included under the ban. In true airline fashion, the exact maximum dimensions for a device have been specified: 16.0x9.3cm, with a depth of 1.5cm. They won't be allowed in aircraft cabins, and must instead be checked into the hold.

"The additional security measures may cause some disruption for passengers and flights, and we understand the frustration that will cause, but our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals," said a government spokesman from the 10 Downing Street press office in a statement.

UK carriers affected by the ban are as follows:

  • British Airways
  • EasyJet
  • Monarch
  • Thomas Cook
  • Thomson

A number of foreign airlines will also be affected included:

  • Turkish Airlines
  • Pegasus Airways
  • Atlas-Global Airlines
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Egyptair
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Tunis Air
  • Saudia

"Decisions to make changes to our aviation security regime are never taken lightly," said the government spokesman. "We will not hesitate to act in order to maintain the safety of the travelling public and we will work closely with our international partners to minimise any disruption these new measures may cause."

The meetings to decide which countries would be affected by the ban in the UK were chaired by the Prime Minister herself. UK security officials have seen the same intelligence as their counterparts at US agencies and have been formulating plans for the ban over the last few weeks, according to sources speaking to the Telegraph.

"We have been in close touch with the Americans to fully understand their position," said the spokesman.

The ban in the US does not affect any US airlines, but does apply to the big three gulf carriers: Qatar, Emirates and Etihad. Flights operated by these three airlines into the UK will not be affected.

"Following an announcement by the UK Government we are advising customers departing from affected airports to arrive in good time at check-in and to refer to for the latest information. Our flights continue to operate as normal," BA responded when asked for comment.