Over the past couple of days the US and UK have announced they will be enforcing an electronic gadget ban from carry-on luggage on flights from several Middle Eastern and North African countries. After reading this information all I could hear were the breaking hearts of parents with small children from all over the world, not to mention the business people using every moment available to carry on with work while flying.
So what does this mean and what do we do now? For starters, don’t panic! Take the time to inquire about your flight and what rules have been put in place to ensure you abide by them. Flights that stopover in the UAE may have to check in devices before you connect onto the UK and the US. This information will become available over the next few days as airlines get their information out to customers.
Phones and medical devices are not included in this ban.
This is currently a temporary ban although it is likely it could stay and other countries could take on the same rules, such as Australia.
The countries affected include Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“I think it would be prudent for [Australian] passengers travelling through the Middle East, those particularly going on to the UK or to the US at this stage, to determine whether they need to take those devices with them and if they do, to put them into their checked baggage.” – ABC News
How to pack a device in your checked luggage:
If not bringing your device with you on your trip is not an option then you are going to have to pack it into your checked luggage.
- Ensure you have your device in a protective case/bag and pack it between your clothing for added protection. Having your clothes in a packing cube will make the job of a security officer much easier should they need to go through your bag and check your device. (You don’t want undies, bras and clothes falling out everywhere!)
- Make sure your device is completely switched off before packing. Not just in sleep or flight safe mode.
- Lock your bag with a TSA approved suitcase lock. Don’t use any old padlock as they are more likely to be cut open by security leaving your bag unlocked on arrival.
- Use a hard shell suitcase for added protection.
- List your portable devices on your travel insurance in case of theft.
- Back up your device before your trip to ensure no loss of files and data should something happen during your travels.
- Keep your eyes peeled when you arrive and your baggage is coming on the carousel. Baggage theft increased the last time a ban like this happened so make sure your bag easily identifiable and get to the arrival hall as soon as you can.
How do I entertain my kids?
I understand that not having their personalised iPad with them on a long haul flight is a daunting thought but don’t panic just yet, we have options!
- First of all, check out what inflight entertainment is available on board your flight. You’ll find that often there is plenty of options for kids to watch, play and enjoy on a flight.
- Decide if that part of your flight should be a sleeping leg and if so plan for that. Change your kids into their pyjamas, give them their comforter/dummy/toy that they sleep with, get them comfortable with a travel pillow or even a flight hammock such as Fly Legs Up, and put them to sleep. I know they probably won’t sleep for the whole flight but take whatever you can get.
- Pack a Airplane Headphone Adapter so they can watch the in flight entertainment with their own fitted headphones.
- Pack other forms of entertainment such as colouring, activities, games, small toys, sticker books and snacks.
- Charge up your smartphone and download a few games and/or shows for them to watch as a back up.
- Take advantage of the kids entertainment pack that many airlines have available for their little travellers.
Make sure you leave plenty of time, and possibly a little extra, at the airport. Security may have been increased and certainly customer questions will hold up airport and airline staff.
Over time more information will become available but for now we need to adhere to these rules that have been put in place for our safety and be understanding that not only is this a headache for us but also for the airlines and airports affected.
*For more information be sure to check with your airline and airports you are flying through.