Aviation Screening

Banning Laptops on All European Flights

By Paul Rosenzweig
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 4:49 PM

Meanwhile, in other news, the Department of Homeland Security is expected to announce tomorrow that it will ban all laptops and other large devices (like tablets) from being held in the cabin on flights originating in Europe.

The decision should not come as a surprise (except that it took so long). After all, if laptops are a danger on flights originating in the Middle East then, by any measure of equivalence, they must also be a danger when inside cabins on flights from Europe.

Unfortunately for everyone, the logic doesn't stop there, does it? Laptops are also a danger on flights from Asia and from North, South, and Central America. More to the point, they are also a danger on flights originating domestically. If DHS is justified in its fear, it should also ban laptops on internal US flights and, of course, on flights outbound from America.

Two further points: 1) Given how frequently lithium batteries burst into flames, it is an open question whether we are making planes safer by putting combustible electronics in the cargo hold; and 2) Expect a backlash -- a severe one -- from Europe and from American travelers. For myself, I think the entire ban is nonsense.