Homeland Security: Flight Laptop Ban May Be Massively Expanded

John Kelly says it might cover all flights to and from US
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2017 12:17 AM CDT
US May Ban Laptops on All International Flights
Terrorists are obsessed with bringing down planes, Kelly says.   (Susan Walsh)

Bad news for frequent fliers, good news for airport bookstores: Homeland Security chief John Kelly says officials are seriously considering banning laptops, tablets, and other large electronic devices from cabin baggage on all international flights to or from the US, reports the BBC. When asked on Fox News Sunday whether he would expand the ban, which currently applies to flights from 10 cities in Muslim-majority countries, Kelly said he might, adding that a "real threat" exists. Terrorists, he said, are "obsessed" with "the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it's a US carrier, particularly if it's full of mostly US folks."

Kelly said the US plans to "raise the bar for, generally speaking, aviation security much higher than it is now." The ban now in place affects around 50 flights a day, none of them on US carriers, but there were reports earlier this month that the Trump administration was considering expanding it to flights to and from the European Union, which would affect around 65 million travelers a year, the AP reports. The airline industry is worried that an expanded ban on electronic devices could lead to a drop in demand, Reuters reports, though execs including United's Oscar Munoz say they are in close contact with Homeland Security on the issue and have thanked the administration for giving them a "heads up." (Officials say intelligence on al-Qaeda led to the original ban.)

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