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The BBC reported yesterday that plans to expand the electronics cabin ban to flights from Europe to the USA are now off the table:
“US and EU officials have decided against a ban on laptops and tablets in cabin baggage on flights from Europe. But after a four-hour meeting in Brussels to discuss the threats to aviation security, officials said other measures were still being considered”.
I’ll be the first to admit that I find this latest development surprising and it isn’t what I expected to happen next – but it is definitely good news for transatlantic travellers!
It seems that the EU’s negotiating team actually managed to persuade their US counterparts to change tack on this, which is quite impressive given the briefings that were coming out last week. It’s also possible, of course, that there may have been a little bit(!) of lobbying in Washington by the big US airlines, who were increasingly concerned about the commercial impact of extending the ban to include flights from Europe.
An article in The Independent carries a bit more detail about the “other measures” still under consideration,
“Further talks are to take place next week in Washington DC. Aviation sources say that Europe will seek to placate American concerns by promising closer scrutiny of laptops at the gate of US-bound flights, including routine electronic-trace detection”.
So, some form of enhanced security concerning electronic items may still be implemented in the coming weeks and months.
Given the unpredictable nature of the current US administration, I wouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t the last time we hear about an electronics cabin ban on flights from Europe to America – but in the short term at least, it looks like travellers will only have to get used to lesser inconveniences.