Expanded US laptop ban could affect flights from Europe

Just when you thought the controversy has died down, the US manages to kick up the dust again. Nearly two months after it first enacted the contentious laptop ban aboard flights from the Middle East, the US Department of Homeland Security or DHS is now expected to expand the restriction to other countries. This time, however, the ban is European countries and could even affect flights coming from the UK, a staunch ally of the US.

As before, the restrictions are being imposed in the name of counter-terrorism. The fear is that devices such as laptops and tablets could be used to hide explosives. There is also the risk of the lithium ion batteries used in otherwise harmless electronics posing a threat to safety, as demonstrated by banned and devices like hoverboards and the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Unsurprisingly, the ban that was imposed in March targeted non-stop flights coming from what the US government considered to be havens for terrorist factions, particularly those that target the US. Those included UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, among others.

The DHS, however, is said to be mulling over expanding that laptop ban to include still unnamed European countries. Some European nations have also been associated with militant factions, anti-US groups, or, at the very least, refugees seeking safe haven in the US. However, the ban might even affect flights from the UK to US according to a European official.

The DHS has yet to confirm any such plan though it will surely be met with intense criticism. Airlines and passengers affected by the first ban already took their grievances to the United Nations. An even more expansive ban that covers a different continent will undoubtedly ruffle even more feathers at this point.

SOURCE: Reuters