Business travelers beware: US considering laptop ban on all international flights

US Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, said that he 'might' extend an airplane cabin laptop ban on all international flights into and out of the US.

Image: iStockphoto/fizkes

A recent laptop ban on certain international flights into the US may be expanded to include all international flight into and out of the US, according to US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.

In a recent interview with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, Kelly was asked if he would ban laptops from airplane cabins on international flights in and out of the US. Kelly responded: "I might. That's a quick answer."

Kelly went on to say that terrorists are "obsessed" with the idea of taking down an airplane in flight, especially if the majority of the passengers are American. It's one of the numerous, "real" threats against aviation he said.

SEE: Laptops and tablets banned? Here's how to stay productive in flight

In general, Kelly said that his department is working with partners to up the ante on aviation security across the board, not just regarding laptop policies. There are also some new technologies coming in the future that will help with security as well, he said.

However, in terms of the expansion of the laptop ban, it's not set in stone. Kelly said in the interview that he "will reserve that decision until we see where it's going."

The original laptop ban happened on March 21, 2017, prohibiting laptops on US-bound international flights from certain airports and countries in the Middle East. The initial ban affected roughly 50 flights per day, but the expansion could affect many more.

Wallace also asked Kelly about another new policy that could require travelers to unpack their carry-on luggage and separate certain items to make it easier for the TSA to properly screen it. Kelly said that program could go nationwide.

Business travelers should watch this development closely to determine what, if any, changes they may need to make to their travel plans. In the event of an expansion of the ban, human resources should work to develop a policy helping employees travel within the bounds of the law.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly may be expanding an airline laptop ban to include all international flights to and from the US.
  2. The expansion would build on a previous ban from March, prohibiting laptops on flights from certain countries in the Middle East.
  3. Kelly is also considering new policies for carry-on luggage, to make it easier for TSA to check the contents of travelers' bags.

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