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What You Need to Know About the Electronic Device Travel Ban

The UK recently followed the USA’s lead in announcing a ban on certain electronic devices in cabin baggage from six countries. The ban comes with a number of very specific and quite confusing rules, so here’s everything you need to know about travelling with electronic devices under the new restrictions.

What devices are included in the ban?

There’s no blanket rule about what types of devices are included in the ban – instead the government have released a set of dimensions that clarify the size limit. Any devices measuring more that 16cm in length, 9.3cm in width or 1.5cm in depth must be placed in hold luggage, while anything smaller will still be allowed in hand luggage.

Most phones are smaller than these measurements, so it’s likely you’ll be able to keep your smartphone in your hand luggage. However, phones are not automatically exempt from the rule so if you do have a big handset you should check its exact size. Many tablets, e-readers and laptops will have to be packed in hold luggage.

Does this mean I can’t take my larger devices on holiday with me?

No. If your electronic devices are larger than the specified dimensions you still have the option of packing them in your hold luggage. You’ll only have to leave your larger devices at home if you’re travelling with just hand luggage.

What countries are included in the ban?

The ban will affect all flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Note that the rule does not apply to flights from the UK to the listed countries, but you’ll have to remember to put your devices in your checked luggage on the return flight.

Which UK airlines will be affected by the ban?

The UK airlines impacted by the ban are British Airways, easyJet,, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson. The airlines will be responsible for enforcing the bans at the check-in desks and informing customers if they need to put their devices in the hold.

When will the ban start?

No official start date has been released for the ban, but it is expected to be put into action almost immediately. Therefore, anyone flying to and from one of the listed destinations should be prepared for the ban to be activated at any time. The government have not said how long they expect the ban to last.

Why has the ban been put in place?

No specific details have been released about the motivation for the ban, but it is understood that the British Government have received new intelligence reports regarding the terrorist threat. It is believed that concerns are related to the possibility of explosives being hidden inside electronic devices of certain sizes.

Why does the device ban only apply to cabin baggage?

It is believed that an explosion in the hold would be a lot less destructive than an explosion in the pressurised cabin, and that it would be much more difficult for a bomb to be detonated when it is in the hold. Hold baggage is also subject to more detailed security checks than cabin luggage, making it more difficult for an explosive to be smuggled onto a plane in a checked bag.

Will my devices be covered by insurance while in hold luggage?

Generally speaking, insurance policies do not cover items that are damaged or go missing from unattended belongings, which – from the point at which you check it in to when you pick it up at your destination - includes checked baggage. You should contact your insurance provider to confirm this, and if you feel worried you may prefer to leave your devices at home.

Worried about the effect the device ban could have on your holiday? Call your travel agent for more information - you can find their number on our Contact Us page.