The United States has barred electronic devices like laptops, gaming consoles and tablets like iPads being carried in the passenger cabins of flights heading for the US from certain airports in the Arab world, Turkey and North Africa. The UK has taken similar action. The US may have acted on intelligence that extremists might use such devices to plant bombs. Most people won’t protest if governments act to protect their nations from terror, and while those hit by the ban might cry foul about discrimination, it’s a fact that the biggest threats emanate from such areas. Of course, the UAE and Qatar could have an axe to grind as they suspect a devious US plan to cut their productive airlines to size as they are competing well with American carriers on the trans-Atlantic routes, and the UK hasn’t red-flagged them.
Ever since 9/11 in 2001, Americans have been paranoid about risks posed by aircraft in the air being used as projectiles or bombs. The more effective airport scanners can pick even a touch of explosive in checked baggage, but passenger-area scanners aren’t that advanced. It has been revealed that the banned devices may “contain all the component parts of an improvised explosion device, except for the detonator and actual explosives, and by adding those elements it might be possible to assemble an IED”. That might explain why smartphones aren’t seen as threats but bigger devices are. Travellers will of course be somewhat inconvenienced, but then no price can be regarded as too heavy to keep everyone safe and thwart the aims of the terrorists.