Ben Schlappig OpenSkies camera
Photograph ©2008 by Brian Cohen.

Interim Joint Statement on Pending Electronics Ban Expansion by Europe and the United States

F rom the office of the press secretary of the Department of Homeland Security of the United States earlier today comes an interim press release pertaining to the pending expansion on the ban of most electronics aboard airplanes on flights between Europe and the United States.

Interim Joint Statement on Pending Electronics Ban Expansion by Europe and the United States

The following text is the press release containing the interim announcement in its entirety:

BRUSSELS – Today, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, hosted a delegation from the United States in Brussels, led by Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, to discuss issues related to aviation security and safety.

At the meeting, both sides exchanged information on the serious evolving threats to aviation security and approaches to confronting such threats. Participants provided insight into existing aviation security standards and detection capabilities as well as recent security enhancements on both sides of the Atlantic related to large electronic devices placed in checked baggage.

The United States and the European Union reaffirmed their commitment to continue working closely together on aviation security generally, including meeting next week in Washington D.C. to further assess shared risks and solutions for protecting airline passengers, whilst ensuring the smooth functioning of global air travel.

Reaction to the Pending Expansion of the Electronics Ban

“It only takes a relatively small number of business travelers to stay home to make a flight unprofitable and consequently drive down demand for and yields on all Business and First Class seat sales”, Kevin Mitchell — who is the current chairman of the Business Travel Coalitionwrote in this open letter to Violeta Bulc. “There is evidence that this already is happening. Despite creative efforts by Gulf carriers such as gate-side check-in, separate secure inflight storage and dedicated arrival pick-up, not to mention onboard loaner tablets, early indications are the negative impact on bookings has been significant.”

Actually, use of the word ban with regard to the possible upcoming restrictions is really a misnomer. “The European electronics ban does nothing to stop terrorists from bringing explosives into planes to crash them. It also makes air travelers potentially less safe because it forces passengers to put their electronic devices, powered by lithium-ion batteries, in their checked luggage, which is stowed in the plane’s cargo hold”, according to this article written by Ned Levi of Travelers United. “The European electronics ban isn’t really a ban. It doesn’t actually keep electronic devices, with potentially secreted explosives in them, out of any plane. The ban merely relocates the electronics, which could potentially be bombs, from commercial aircraft cabins to their cargo holds.”

According to this article written by Christopher Jasper, Guy Johnson, and Marine Strauss of Bloomberg, the “widening of a U.S. ban on carrying electronic devices aboard aircraft to include flights from Europe would cost travelers more than $1 billion”, as estimated by the International Air Transport Association. “While existing curbs on some services from the Middle East and North Africa affect 350 U.S.-bound flights per week, extending it to the 28 European Union states plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland would impact 390 a day, or more than 2,500 a week…That would cost passengers $655 million in lost productivity, $216 million for longer travel times, and $195 million for renting loaner devices on board.”


The aforementioned figures are some serious numbers which need to be considered. As I mentioned in this recent article pertaining to the alleged revealing of highly classified information to two representatives of the Russian government by Donald Trump — who is the current president of the United States — expanding the ban on most electronics to including flights between the United States and Europe “is like using nuclear weapons to kill a roach”.

I am vehemently opposed to the increased restrictions of not allowing passengers to carry aboard airplanes most electronics on flights between Europe and the United States.

I completely agree with the statement by Kevin Mitchell that “Simply put, the ripple effects of this could create an economic tsunami of the likes of which terrorists are dreaming of but instead it would be at the hand of government directive.”

How ironic…

Cameras are amongst the items which would not be permitted aboard airplanes on flights between Europe and the United States if the restrictions of most electronics in the passenger cabins aboard airplanes is expanded. Photograph ©2008 by Brian Cohen.

  1. All this is interesting. So I’m guessing all the hot air about this just being something Trump dreamed up on his own awhile back aren’t accurate?
    I wonder how I would handle this. Say we have good intel that a bomb attempt by ISIS is eminent and that they likely will put the bomb in electronics like a laptop, camera, etc. How do we protect from this? Do we worry that banning all electronics from flights will have a negative impact on economics? What if we do nothing and bomb brings down a plane killing hundreds. Wouldn’t that have a negative impact as well? Have the terrorist already won?
    I was just in Turkey and their tourist economy has been ruined by terrorist and political instability. Hopefully we can avoid this. I left my big camera, laptop and ipad at home. Funny how I got by just fine with my phone and pocket camera but then again I wasn’t there trying to do business.

  2. it is my belief that this discussion is dominated by those that have their mind mad eup in advance, possibly based on politics. I will just throw in a few facts that are generally ignored.
    1, Checked luggage goes thru more complex procedures than carry on. It is possible that these procedures can better assure explosives do not get on board.
    2, There is no plan to pack laptops in the luggage so densely that problems are likely. I also imagine that small explosions are better contained in the luggage hold than in the cabin.
    3, Unless we reach a point where neurosurgery is done via remote joysticks online during flights, most things can wait. Most people work 8 hour shifts and get time off overnight. I do not travel that much but I have done the trans-atlantic trip at least 30 times, about half in premium cabins. I have rarely, if ever seen any work being done. If safety relies on not having laptops in the passenger cabin, ban them today.
    4, With today’s cloud computing and portable memory devices, it is possible to work around even a total laptop ban. If you are really that important, have the firm keep a laptop in their foreign office or store yours in a Hotel between visits, as I did.

    1. Actually, my work was very close to freelance in that I worked for myself.
      I never had the opportunity to have a local corporate office to back me up with logistics but there were Hotels that did. I had a laptop that stayed in my major transit city in Europe whenever I flew back to the states. I will state that I did most of my intra-European travel by train because of some bad flights within Italy and a desire to live another day.
      If, by chance, you are in some way referring to a special need to have a laptop during an 8 hour flight, I totally miss the point.

  3. Charles – just because you don’t or haven’t needed it doesn’t mean others don’t. Many business travelers have productive time on planes, some are literally preparing for something upon landing or next day. Some…that’s how a large chunk of their work gets done, especially those traveling frequently, such as monthly or even weekly. It adds up.

    And as to your statement (#2) about it being safer in a cargo hold – take a look at Pan Am flight 103…

    1. OK, Lucas. You kind of have a point.
      Funny thing is that I rarely see any real work being done during long trans-atlantic flights.

      While there is room to argue about this entire issue, are people really suggesting to not do the safest possible policy simply to allow work be done?

      I vividly remember PanAm 103, I do not remember security in those days. It might have involved a suitcase of explosives which should not happen today.

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