WASHINGTON, D.C.– Airlines are preparing for the possibility of a laptop ban on flights from Europe to the U.S. Electronic devices larger than a smartphone were banned from carry-on luggage back in March on flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa; that ban may soon expand to all flights coming from Europe to the U.S.
The Department of Homeland Security met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill yesterday to lay the groundwork. They say intelligence suggests terrorists can hide explosives in larger electronic devices.
But, the travel industry isn’t on board. For one, they don’t think it’s any safer for electronic items to be in checked luggage. CNN Technology Correspondent Samuel Burke explains, “Experts are very concerns about all of a sudden having all these lithium ion batteries in the bottom of an airplane. If one catches on fire and explodes, and if they have other lithium ion batteries around it, it’s like having matches all next to each other.”
Another hang-up is booking, especially for business travelers who count on having time to work while in the air. More than 350 flights a day travel from Europe to the U.S. And it’s not just the airlines that would be hit; 40% of overseas travelers are from Europe. And those travelers tend to be big spenders once they get here, averaging between $3,000 and $4,000 per trip, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
As of now, there are no definitive plans to expand the ban to flights leaving the U.S.