The US has banned electronic devices on flights from eight majority-Muslim countries. The ban, which involves any device larger than a mobile phone, will stop passengers from bringing laptops, iPads, electronic games and cameras in carry-on luggage.
According to the US media, the order was sparked by intelligence gathered overseas. Officials said that the ban has no end date.
The US ban applies to flights from 10 airports in eight countries and nine airlines are affected – Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.
Following the US ban, on 22 March, the UK Government announced a cabin baggage ban on laptops and tablets on direct flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
Although the UK Government has not given a start date for the ban, it has said that airlines are in the process of implementing it. The UK carriers affected are British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook, and Thomson.
Passengers will need to place affected devices into hold luggage.
Commenting on the ban, Mark Shepherd, head of property, commercial and specialist lines at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said: “Passengers travelling from the affected countries with laptops and tablets should check their policy and speak to their travel insurer to double check what cover they have for valuables placed in the hold. Some travellers may find they also have additional cover under a household contents policy for gadgets outside of the home. We do know some insurers already take a flexible approach to claims if a passenger has been forced to put items in the hold by circumstances out of their control. Wherever possible travellers should keep valuables, including tablets and laptops, with them on flights and, if travelling from destinations affected by the new regulations, it may be sensible to leave valuables at home. If devices are damaged during a flight, there’s also the potential to seek compensation through the airline.”
Meanwhile, Charlotte Lee-Field, head of claims at TIFGroup said: “We understand that the sudden ban on large electronic devices on specific routes will have an impact on travellers and as such we will be looking to try and support customers by extending cover for these items under TIFGroup underwritten schemes. We will be extending coverage for policyholders, up to the normal limits shown in their policies, for items on these specific routes that are lost, stolen or damaged while placed in the hold and where cover for these items is specified in the policy. Where separate gadget cover is attached to a tifgroup policy but not underwritten by URV, we are currently working with our partners to ensure the best customer outcome under the circumstances.”
Lee-Field added that if travellers do not adhere to the new conditions of carriage and their items are confiscated as a result, TIFGroup will not be able to offer cover for any loss or damage incurred as a result.
Allianz Global Assistance UK has confirmed that it will cover UK customer travel insurance claims made because of loss of, or damage to, electronic devices checked in with hold baggage by passengers flying to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
Australian insurer 1Cover has also announced that it will cover any electronic devices transported in the cargo hold if a passenger is forced to stow the item due to new airline regulations. Fast Cover’s policies also provide cover for Australians whose travel plans are affected by the device ban.