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Airline laptop, phone and tablet ban: Everything you need to know before you fly

Man using tablet on an airplane
Man using tablet on an airplane

The British government has introduced a ban on carrying personal electronic devices in the cabin of some commercial airlines flights landing in the UK.

The ban, which means all implicated devices must be stored in the hold on certain flights, comes in the wake of similar restrictions being enforced in the US, and could impact passengers travelling to the UK from six countries in Northern Africa and the Middle East.

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Here is everything you need to know about the ban:

Which airlines are affected by the electronic device cabin ban?

Unlike in the US, where the ban only concerns foreign airlines, the UK ban affected both foreign and domestic carriers. These are:

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  • British Airways

  • EasyJet

  • Jet2.com

  • Monarch

  • Thomas Cook

  • Thomson

  • Turkish Airlines

  • Pegasus Airways

  • Atlas-Global Airlines

  • Middle East Airlines

  • Egyptair

  • Royal Jordanian

  • Tunis Air

  • Saudia

Which countries are affected by the electronic device cabin ban?

Passengers travelling on direct flights to the UK on any of the above airlines cannot carry electronic devices like smartphones, laptops and tablets in their carry-on bags. They must be put in luggage checked into the hold. The ban affects passengers flying from the following countries:

  • Turkey

  • Lebanon

  • Jordan

  • Egypt

  • Tunisia

  • Saudi Arabia

Which devices are banned from the cabin?

A press release issued by the British government states passengers will "not be allowed to take any phones, laptops or tablets larger than a normal sized mobile phone or smartphone into the cabin of the plane."

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Electronic devices brought into the cabin cannot be any larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide and 1.5cm thick.

Despite the initial statement, this does not include most smartphones. For example, an iPhone 7 measures 13.8cm long, 6.7cm wide and is 0.7cm thick. The larger iPhone 7 Plus is 15.6cm long, 7.8cm wide and is also 0.7cm thick.

The most basic Amazon Kindle e-book reader is 16cm long and 9.1cm thick, but is 11.5cm wide and, if considered a tablet by airlines, cannot be taken into the cabin of affected flights.

"Any such devices will need to be placed into hold luggage and checked-in before going through central security. Normal cabin baggage restrictions will continue to apply," the statement continues, adding: "The additional security measures may cause some disruption for passengers and flights, and we understand the frustration that will cause, but our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals."

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