(USA Today ) – Society may be addicted to its gadgets, but more international travelers may have to learn how to do without them while flying into the United States — if the federal government has its way.
The US Department of Homeland Security is looking at adding more airports to its ban on certain electronic devices in cabins on flights coming into the US from other parts of the world. In March, the agency enforced such a ban on flights from 10 Middle Eastern airports in Jordan, Cairo, Istanbul, Saudi Arabia (two), Kuwait, Casablanca, Qatar, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Now, the agency is considering expanding that to include flights from more airports in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, department spokesman David Lapan told USA TODAY.
The ban would cover any device larger than a cell phone or a smart phone — and would, of course, include laptops and tablets. Those items could be stored in checked luggage instead. Medical devices would be exempt but the Department of Homeland Security wants airlines to figure out how to handle approvals of such items. The agency says the move would help keep people safe.
“It’s a matter of looking at the threat to aviation posed by terrorist organizations and trying to minimize that threat — recognizing that this will inconvenience people, that certainly is clear to us,” Lapan said. The agency will make a decision “in the coming weeks,” he added.
It can be hard to keep track of what you can and can’t bring on a plane these days. For starters, you can bring sand, your light saber and maybe your drone, but you can’t bring a golf club or a cordless curling iron. If it all gets too confusing, you can snap a photo of the object in question and sent it to AskTSA on Facebook Messenger or Twitter.
Here is a checklist provided by the Department of Homeland Security of many of the items allowed on board:
- Up to 3.4 ounces of liquid (including water) in individual containers.
- Baby carriers, baby food and formula, and baby wipes. Breast milk is allowed too, though it must be screened separately.
- Alcoholic beverages less than 140 proof in containers less than 3.4 ounces and bottle openers too.
- If you’re a foodie who likes to be surrounded by food-related items, you can bring your bread machine, coffee/espresso maker, crackers and even “creamy dips and spreads,” not to mention fresh eggs, meat, seafood, vegetables and ground coffee. Bring your tortilla press or your waffle iron, because they’re allowed too. Sadly, your microwave is not.
- For the beauty-minded, you can bring your electric curling iron, but you cannot bring your cordless curling iron, which may contain a gas cartridge that holds butane.
- External medical devices such as ostomy supplies, feeding tubes, insulin pumps and other devices. Travelers may need to provide documentation describing medical condition. Contact the Transportation Security Administration for more information.
- Sports-related items such as baseballs, basketballs, footballs, golf balls and tees and even bowling balls are all allowed, but no baseball bats, pool cues, golf clubs or ski poles. In a nutshell, anything that can be used as a bludgeon is a no-no. For bicycles, check with the airline.
As for those items that always seem to raise confusion – you can bring scissors, if they are less than 4 inches from the pivot point. You also can bring on screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers if they are all less than seven inches in length.
As for the items that don’t fit into any category, DHS reports you can come on board with your antlers, artificial skeleton bones, adults toys, balloons (uninflated), body armor, Harry Potter wands, live fish and, yes, even rocks.
Top: Being aware of hand luggage restrictions at the airport is an important issue as it can cause issues when checking in and going through security checkpoints in the airport itself. Photo: Holidaygems.co.uk (www.holidaygems.co.uk ) (CC-BY-2.0)
SOURCE: USA Today written by Melanie Eversley