Tips for Dealing with the New Electronics Travel Ban

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As you have probably seen, a ban for any electronic carry-on item larger than a cell phone is about to kick-in for flights to the US from 10 international airports including those in:

Cairo, Egypt; Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Istanbul, Turkey; and Abu Dhabi and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

There are a whole lot of flights to/from a whole lot of parts of the world that will connect in some of those cities to get back to the US – especially via airports like Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai. In other words, this will impact a whole lot of people who are justifiably used to using their iPads, laptops, personal DVD players and more in their carry-on bags while in-flight. Holy smokes, I hope these planes all have functioning in-flight entertainment…and pack books and other non-electronic toys for you and your little ones. 

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I’ll withhold too much personal commentary since it doesn’t really matter, but what does matter is what will happen to the expensive cameras, computers, and more that are now out of your sight and in your checked bags….and yes, you will now have to check a bag if you have electronics with you on flights coming to the US from those cities even if you otherwise would have just had a carry-on.

For reasons I cannot remember now, I once had a nice camera in my checked bag in college and guess what happened…yes, it was stolen from my checked bag. The airline I was flying, United, ultimately did give me a travel credit roughly equal to the value of the camera after some back and forth, though their policy and recommendation was of course to not have electronics and valuables in your checked bags. I never again made that mistake, but if you are now traveling from one of these ten airports you won’t really have a choice if you travel with electronics other than your cell phone. In other words, this is a much larger problem for personal property beyond just being “bored” in-flight.

Tips for Dealing with the New Electronics Travel Ban

If you can’t leave your electronics and such at home, here are a few early initial thoughts and recommendations:

  1. If you were simply connecting via one of these airports to get back to the US, see if you can get re-routed to connect at a non-impacted airport. 
  2. Brush up on the baggage coverage policy for the airline you are flying to see what is covered in the event of theft or damage.
  3. Pack your electronics and valuables in cases and protective wrapping to minimize damage. 
  4. Look at the coverage provided by the credit card you used to purchase the airline ticket. To save you some time, the Chase Sapphire Reserve appears to cover up to $500 towards damaged or lost electronics in your checked bag per trip. The Citi ThankYou Prestige or Preferred cards appear to be better than most and cover up $3,000 per covered traveler, per trip ($2,000 per bag for New York residents), or up to $10,000 in total for all covered travelers with no current electronic exclusions, the Amex Platinum considers photographic or electronic equipment “high risk” and thus only covers it to $250 for each covered person on a covered trip.
  5. If sufficient coverage isn’t provided by either of those entities, consider purchasing a third party travel policy to cover your luggage, but look out for “high risk” or “high value” exclusions similar to what some of the credit cards spell out. You may be able to purchase excess value checked baggage coverage directly from the airlines.
  6. If you need to travel with a breast pump or other ‘medical’ device I would get some documentation from your physician as to what it is and that it is needed in-flight. I absolutely expect some traveling with breast pumps to now have a (larger) problem coming from these airports.
  7. Load up your iPhone or similar with games and videos if needed. 
  8. Don’t travel with your best tablets, laptops, etc. If you have the option to travel with an older laptop, less expensive tablet, etc. that may be a better option than packing and checking the latest and greatest electronics that you own.

This ban took effect at 3 a.m. Eastern today, Tuesday, however the airlines have 96 hours to comply, so flights leaving for the US in the next couple of days may still be operating as usual.

How will the electronics travel ban impact you and your family? What are your plans to protect your electronics and keep your family entertained while in transit?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. Those Emirates EU-US flights will certainly be profitable now, quite contrary to their financial outlook a couple days ago.

  2. With kids do you prefer ultra longhaul or splitting it up? I was thinking of flying Etihad from AUH-JFK nonstop but now this ban leads me to think AUH-LHR-JFK might be better. I would definitely overnight in LHR which would probably be better for a baby anyways but part of me was leaning towards just getting it over with in 14 hours straight.

    • How old are the kids? There are still plenty of movies and games on the personal screens to keep them occupied, or on our phones if needed for a few hour break. For me, unless there is a price difference, a better quality of flights, or a sightseeing stop, i dont want to split up the flight for just one night with kids. I would rather just get there ASAP and then be able to adjust in that destination or home location.

  3. As a flight attendant, this sounds like a new level of hell to me… I can’t imagine having a plane full of people with nothing to do for 14 hours!!! yikes!

      • Wouldn’t that be easy enough at security?

        I think there are going to be a lot of unhappy people on board these planes. I feel bad for parents especially. Electronics are a crucial peace of the puzzle on flights with kids.
        It would also be rather annoying for anyone that is trying to work while on board.

  4. UK just announced they will do the same. I still think this is a way to cripple the M3. Delta, UA and AA probably helped to write the rules of this ban. Ridiculous!!!

  5. I’m thinking the same as Jack Edwards. Planning a trip to Amman, Jordan and have to stop somewhere so might as well stop in Paris or Amsterdam and get around the ban. That assumes that France and the Netherlands doesn’t follow suit, and we can get the electronics onto the flight to Paris. Otherwise, does that mean collecting bags? And no, I really don’t want to spend the night in Paris. By that time, I’ll be ready to get home.

    But this does explain why the flights to Amman are suddenly less expensive.

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