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EU Trying to Convince U.S. Officials to Drop Laptop Ban

EU Trying to Convince U.S. Officials to Drop Laptop Ban

The U.S. already has the ban in place from airports in the Middle East, North Africa.

Earlier this week, U.S. officials began discussions over banning electronics larger than a cell phone on flights to America from Europe as a way to deter terrorism. Our officials have already placed this ban on flights from ten airports in the Middle East and North Africa.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly discussed this ban today after many European officials expressed worry about the ban and want to persuade Kelly to change his mind.

From CNN Money:

Passengers on flights covered by the restrictions are required to carry anything bigger than a smartphone in checked baggage. But aviation experts say storing large numbers of devices with lithium batteries in the cargo hold constitutes a fire risk.

European officials, including EU transport commissioner Violeta Bulc, underscored those concerns in a call with U.S. Secretary for Homeland Security John Kelly on Friday.

“Commissioner Bulc highlighted the potential safety implications of putting a large number of electronic devices in the aircraft hold,” a European Commission spokesperson said.

The European Aviation Safety Agency mentioned these risks last month. The agency reiterated that its officials prefer for the passengers to carry laptops “in the passenger cabin.” CNN Money listed a few incidents that back up these claims:

Aviation experts worry about how lithium batteries are stored because they can produce fires that are extremely difficult to put out with on-board fire extinguishers.

The risk is documented. Two Boeing 747 crashes — a UPS freighter in 2010 and an Asiana Cargo plane in 2011 — happened after fires broke out in the cargo holds. Those were traced to palettes of lithium ion batteries.

DHS briefed officials with American, Delta, and United on Thursday on the ban. These officials did not provide details on the meeting, but the AP reported “they were resigned to its inevitability.” But the officials hope they can have a say on the restrictions.

Kelly and the White House spoke with European officials earlier today. From The Hill:

DHS Secretary John Kelly held a conference call with a number of European ministers and members of the EU’s European Commission (EC) in what was described as a “very constructive exchange of views on the way forward between the U.S. and the EU,” according to an EC spokesperson.

The administration also briefed U.S. senators and major airlines on the potential laptop ban expansion on Thursday.

DHS said it will not have a final decision before the end of the day.


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because they can produce fires that are extremely difficult to put out with on-board fire extinguishers.

They’re even more difficult to put put out when they happen in the cabin. In the baggage compartment it’s possible to use fire-suppression techniques which would injure or kill the passengers.

buckeyeminuteman | May 12, 2017 at 3:01 pm

The EU doesn’t care about terrorism, just ask Merkel. DHS doesn’t need to waste their time consulting with those idiots.

Has there ever been an instance of a passenger’s laptop catching fire in the cabin?

If terrorists can use a laptop as a bomb, does it make any difference if it is in the passenger cabin or baggage compartment?

How are the airlines going to account for the multitudes of lost/stolen electronic devices that will be sure to happen if the devices are in “baggage” – never mind the damage from poor handling?

What about all those laptops used for business/governmental purposes that have proprietary information on them and aren’t supposed to be out of the owner’s possession?

Seems like a mess in the making to me.

    Liz in reply to Granny. | May 12, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    There have been some cases of those Samsung phones catching fire in the plane.

    I see a new industry developing – carry your important information on an external hard drive which I think you can still carry on board since they have no batteries. Or on a secure cloud drive. Get a certified safe laptop at your destination. It’s charged to your credit card until you return it when you leave the country.

    And, since you did your work before traveling, you actually get to relax during the flight.

    Besides, can you really work on a laptop on those little tables, especially when the jerk ahead of you drops his chair down?

      Granny in reply to Liz. | May 12, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      I haven’t actually seen anyone trying to work on a laptop unless they are in business class. I do like to carry my iPad with me when I fly because I like to read but my older eyes really can’t see to read much of anything on a phone without scrolling up, down and sideways, which of course eliminates all the fun.

      I’m not at all sure I would trust my info to somebody else’s computer though, particularly not if it was sensitive in any way. The only “certified safe” computers I would trust are ones I’ve certified myself. After all, The Geek Squad (Best Buy) has been deliberately installing backdoors and spy ware in computers they sell/repair for years and have only recently been caught red handed.

        Liz in reply to Granny. | May 12, 2017 at 7:56 pm

        That’s why I called it a new industry. But, for larger companies, it will be easy to do. You have a PC in Saudi and the company IT guys in NYC or Houston give you a PC to use while in the US.

        I used to pull out my laptop to clean up files, etc but gave up since I usually got that jerk in front of me.

        Based on a few articles, it’s going to necessary to carry your own pillow, blanket, lysol wipes, latex gloves, etc since plane cleanliness has decreased in recent years.

        Did you hear about the scorpions that been on planes recently… shudder!

          stevewhitemd in reply to Liz. | May 12, 2017 at 11:51 pm

          Liz, if you need a business partner… 🙂

          It’s an interesting idea. You’d have kiosks at the airports. Pick up your rental PC/Mac, stick in your own encrypted USB stick (or log into your cloud account) and it works. It’s pre-loaded with secure software (you pay in part for knowing that the kiosk company is renting you a virus-free, malware free computer). Use it and on return to the airport, drop it off at the kiosk. You then only need to carry around your USB drive or cloud account info.

          Larger companies could do this on their own but why bother? Let the small company contract with the IT department at the big corporation to provide these laptops.

          There would be issues: lost/stolen machines, of course. You’d need rigorous security protocols for the laptops and software. And so on. But I see it as a viable business in some interesting ways.

      Paul in reply to Liz. | May 13, 2017 at 7:35 am

      A ChromeBook can do what you’re describing with all your data in the cloud or running remote desktop to serve as a terminal to a machine elsewhere. You can get a good one for less than $300. Now, about the rentals….

    NavyMustang in reply to Granny. | May 12, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    “If terrorists can use a laptop as a bomb, does it make any difference if it is in the passenger cabin or baggage compartment?”


    The terrorists will simply adjust. They have some very talented bombmakers.

Thin server software and wireless keyboard on board with connection to cloud.

Is there any difference now between the Middle East and Euarbia? None.

The EU sounds like a drug addict asking for my social security number.

Just a little reminder … all of this BS, the endless delays at airports, the searches for weapons and bombs, annoying body searches of passengers, the long lists of normally harmless objects you can’t bring along on a flight … all of it is caused by one thing.

The “Religion of Peace”.

“palettes of lithium batteries”?

And it’s in the original! Oy vey.