Following the US ban on tablets and larger electronic devices in the cabin of flights originating from six Middle Eastern countries, the UK has issued a similar restriction. Tablets, DVD players and laptops -- essentially any electronic device larger than a smartphone in size -- cannot be carried into the cabin on flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. More specifically, the British government says that any device larger than 16cm long by 9.3cm wide by 1.5cm deep must be placed in checked luggage prior to going through airport security.
The ban affects six British airlines and eight overseas airlines with flights originating from the six named Middle Eastern countries to the UK. The new rule says that it will be up to the airlines to decide when the ban will go into effect, and passengers should consult with their airlines for additional information. The British airliners include British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson, while the overseas airliners include Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Egyptair, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air and Saudia. While US officials noted that terrorists could conceal explosive devices in consumer electronics devices as justification for its ban, the UK government didn't specify if its ban was in response to any intelligence or terror threat. A big difference between the US and UK ban is that the US ban does not apply to any domestic airlines.
Critics of the ban claim that forcing people to place electronics in checked luggage will make screening even harder. According to the BBC, the Islamic State hid a bomb in the hold -- the place where tablets and laptops will be stowed with checked luggage -- that was used to blow up a Russian passenger plane over the Sinai peninsula. Additionally, it will make air travel less convenient, however Downing Street said that the ban was "necessary, effective and proportionate." There are concerns in US and UK intelligence circles that terror groups want to blow up a passenger plane mid-flight. It's unclear if other European Union nations will follow the US and UK with similar bans.