Electronics larger than phones banned from cabins of some flights to the US

Update: The ban is now official for certain non-stop flights to the US, and a similar one has been launched for some direct flights to the UK.

The US ban restricts large electronic devices, such as laptops, tablets and gaming devices, from the cabin of direct flights from 10 airports. Smartphones are allowed. The UK ban restricts devices larger than 16.0cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm, including smartphones.

Original story continues below...

Electronic devices larger than cell phones will soon be banned from inside the cabin of some flights bound for the US, according to reports Monday. 

The ban reportedly impacts flights conducted by airlines from more than 12 Middle Eastern and African countries. Passengers can check the banned devices, which include tablets, laptops, electronic games and DVD players, however they cannot bring these devices into the plane cabin, according to CNN

Cell phones and medical devices needed during flight are allowed inside cabins, according to one impacted airline.

One official told CNN there is a security concern regarding passengers aboard non-stop flights to the US from specific countries with airports where security screening may not be trustworthy. The ban, described as limited in duration, will reportedly take effect as soon as Tuesday and is intended to bolster security measures at these airports.

On Monday, Royal Jordanian airlines tweeted and then deleted a message addressed to passengers arriving from and departing to the US, which stated that "carrying any electronic or electrical device on board the flight cabins is strictly prohibited" from March 21. 

The airline cited "instructions from concerned US departments," and said "[c]ellular phones and medical devices needed during the flight are excluded from the ban." Prohibited devices include laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games, the airline wrote. 

Though Royal Jordanian's first tweet was deleted, the airline later tweeted: "Further updates will be announced soon regarding #electronicsban."

When asked about the ban, the Department of Homeland Security sent TechRadar the following statement:

"We have no comment on potential security precautions, but will provide an update when appropriate."

Though we have no word from US officials on what the specific reason for ban is or how long it may last, there's little doubt the ban wouldn't be in place unless a credible threat was determined. 

We'll continue to monitor this story and provide updates as more information becomes available.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.