Airline passengers flying to the UK from Turkey and five other countries across the Middle East and north Africa will no longer be able to carry laptops and other large electronic devices in their cabin luggage. Here's a rundown of which airlines are charging extra to put devices in the hold and what insurers are doing.
The ban, which covers devices that are larger than a typical smartphone, affects all inbound flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. It will be fully implemented by all airlines no later than Saturday, and has already been brought in by Easyjet for flights from Turkey and Egypt.
The UK Government's decision to implement the new security policy comes after the US authorities introduced similar measures for flights originating from 10 airports in eight mainly Muslim countries.
14 airlines to implement ban
The UK Government's ban will apply to flights from ALL airports within the affected countries. The following six UK airlines will be impacted:
- British Airways
- Thomas Cook
UK-bound flights from affected countries with the following eight overseas carriers are also impacted:
- Atlas-Global Airlines
- Middle East Airlines
- Pegasus Airways
- Royal Jordanian
- Tunis Air
- Turkish Airlines
If you have imminent travel plans you should contact your airline. More information can be found on the Department for Transport website and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice pages on Gov.uk.
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Laptops and tablets banned from the cabin - but most phones are fine
Larger electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and Kindles won't be permitted in the cabin of aircraft flying affected routes, and will need to be put in the hold instead.
You shouldn't have any problem taking a standard-size smartphone on board. However some larger phones may not be permitted.
Under the new arrangements, any devices larger than the following dimensions will not be allowed into an aircraft's cabin on selected flights:
- length: 16 cm
- width: 9.3 cm
- depth: 1.5 cm
It's also worth mentioning that the restrictions extend to duty-free purchases bought at the airport - so even if you buy a larger electronic device after going through security, you won't be able to take it into the aircraft cabin.
You MAY be charged extra to put devices in the hold
While the same security rules will be applied across all affected flights, each airline has its own policy on whether you'll have to pay to put devices in the hold. Here's what we know the airlines are doing so far:
|Extra cost of putting hand luggage containing devices in the hold||How are they informing passengers?||Other notes|
|British Airways||None||In process of contacting passengers||If you're about to start or are part-way through your journey and feel you're unable to comply with new rules, you can re-book your flight free of charge|
|Easyjet||None||Texting passengers||Recommends passengers only take "essential items" on board|
|Jet2.com||None||Emailing passengers pre-departure||N/A|
|Monarch||We're checking with the airline||Emailing passengers pre-departure||Passengers who've paid for hold luggage will get extra 3kg allowance for devices|
|Thomas Cook||None||Info letter provided at check-in||Thomas Cook Travel Insurance will now cover the loss, damage and theft of laptops, tablets and e-readers stored in the hold on direct flights from affected countries|
|Thomson||We're checking with the airline||We're checking with the airline||N/A|
|Turkish Airlines||None||We're checking with the airline||The airline says it's offering a "safe and secure method of carrying electronics in a special area in the cargo hold of the aircraft"|
We're checking with other affected airlines what their policy will be and will update this story when we hear back.
Not all insurers cover valuables in the hold - but some are making exceptions
While some specialist travel insurance policies cover you for damaged or stolen valuables that have been stored in an aircraft's hold, most cheaper standard policies usually offer less coverage and may include an exclusion on this.
Yet some of the big travel insurers have told us they'll make an exception for claims relating to items which have been put in the hold as a result of the new security measures. Here's what to expect if you have a travel insurance policy with any of the following providers:
|Does a standard policy cover valuables in the hold?||Will the insurer make an exception under the new measures?|
|Allianz||No||Yes - but a property irregularity report (PIR) must be obtained from the carrier in support of your claim|
|Aviva||No||No - you'll need to buy a specific add-on for laptops put in the hold|
|Axa||No||Yes - claims will be considered while the security measures are in place|
|Churchill||No||Yes - claims will be considered while the security measures are in place|
|Direct Line||No||Yes - claims will be considered while the security measures are in place|
|LV||No||Yes - but you'll need evidence to support your claim|
If in doubt over whether you're covered, it's always best to check directly with your insurance provider.
Meanwhile, it's worth noting that you may also be covered if you've a home insurance policy that includes 'all risk cover' - usually an optional extra which covers certain items for loss, damage or theft when they're away from your home, see our 'All risks' add on guide. This should provide protection for larger electronic devices that are stored in the hold.
Ban is 'necessary, effective and proportionate'
The new security measures were ordered by Prime Minister Theresa May in the latest of a series of meetings on aviation security.
Announcing the new restrictions, a Government spokesperson said: "The safety and security of the travelling public is our highest priority. That is why we keep our aviation security under constant review and put in place measures we believe are necessary, effective and proportionate.
"The additional security measures may cause some disruption for passengers and flights, and we understand the frustration that will cause, but our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals.
"Decisions to make changes to our aviation security regime are never taken lightly. We will not hesitate to act in order to maintain the safety of the travelling public and we will work closely with our international partners to minimise any disruption these new measures may cause."