back to article Aviation regulator flies in face of UK.gov ban, says electronics should be stowed in cabin. Duh

Europe's aviation regulator has warned that electronic devices should not be stowed in an aircraft's cargo hold, advice that contradicts the recent ban on laptops and tablets in cabin baggage on certain flights by UK authorities. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a reminder to airlines that devices containing …

  1. SkippyBing Silver badge

    This is also pretty much the CAA's guidance* in that lithium battery powered items 'should' be carried in the cabin or switched off if out in the hold. Of course I'm sure whoever came up with the ban on them in the cabin area consulted fully with the CAA and didn't completely ignore the advice of the people who're supposed to deal with flight safety...

    * https://www.caa.co.uk/Passengers/Before-you-fly/Baggage/Items-that-are-allowed-in-baggage/

    Not hugely surprising they can be stricter than EASA but not more lenient.

  2. Haefen

    Cabin security isn't about safety

    Does anyone still think passenger searches are about safety? It is well known that having people dance to get on a plane isn't about safety, it's about getting them to dance.

    1. Scott Broukell

      Re: Cabin security isn't about safety

      @ Haefen - Dancing maybe, but don't forget the shopping, lots of shopping, lots of bargains, shop shop shop then fly and then hurry back for more of the same soon.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Cabin security isn't about safety

        "but don't forget the shopping"

        God I hate shopping. I hate shopping in all forms, Airport shopping is close to the top of the list, but it does have some redeeming features:

        You dont get middle eastern style market traders in your face . much. I think thats all actually.

        The bad things are :

        constant bullshitting that these items are in some way cheaper than buying them elsewhere

        the need to cart the shit around with you on holiday

        the actual product list - who is buying this stuff? why do airports = Toblerone+perfume+watches?

        oh, another good thing , and not a one off - ive sen it twice now. In one of the newsagent type shops at manchester airport you can get an egg or cheese sandwich for one pound!

        1. Mike Richards Silver badge

          Re: Cabin security isn't about safety

          Don't knock the giant Toblerone.

          Buying them is my preflight ritual - safe in the knowledge that I will be able to eat something on the plane; and in the event of the plane crashing, use it to beat one of my fellow passengers to death if there's a fight for the last gin bottle.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cabin security isn't about safety

          also Tuna mayo, and Chicken mayo. They are in Boots the chemist BTW.

    2. Roq D. Kasba

      Re: Cabin security isn't about safety

      Theatre of security

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's fine

    It's fine to put them in the hold. No-one minds dying in an accident, just as long as they don't get killed by terrorists.

    That's what I'm inferring from what the politicians and media are saying, anyway.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It's fine

      "No-one minds dying in an accident, just as long as they don't get killed by terrorists.

      That's what I'm inferring from what the politicians and media are saying, anyway."

      What you should be inferring is that politicians don't mind you dying in an accident just so long as you don't get killed by terrorists because they won't be blamed for that.

  4. Wiltshire

    Yorkshire Airlines has got a solution for this. If it's not made in Yorkshire, it's not allowed inside t'aircraft in t'first place. Park it in the outside toilet like all the rest. Eh oop and away. And wipe tha bloody feet.

    1. ARGO

      Re: Yorkshire Airlines

      You mean this one?

      https://www.twayair.com/main.do?_langCode=EN

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yorkshire Airlines

        "https://www.twayair.com/main.do?_langCode=EN"

        Not sure I would trust that airline. They show a US flag, even though the language setting clearly says English...

      2. Wiltshire

        Re: Yorkshire Airlines

        No, this one:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VLYpKGVBUg

        Captain Boycott would sort it.

  5. Schultz
    Unhappy

    Please discharge battery before entering the aircraft.

    Another good reason to make air travelers come 2 hours early and wait.

    1. Sir Alien

      Re: Please discharge battery before entering the aircraft.

      Actually a fully discharged Li-Ion battery can be just as susceptible to spontaneous combustion. This is why many Li-Ion batteries ship with a partial charge in them. Most devices I have received by post have had at least a 20% charge but I imagine this can vary by device.

      1. Haku

        Re: Please discharge battery before entering the aircraft.

        The reccomended storage level of lithium batteries is 40%, the individual cell voltage being about 3.8v. Some hobbyists who fly/drive RC vehicles only at the weekend will put their 40% charged batteries in sealable plastic bags then in the fridge until the next weekend. The plastic bag stops condensation from getting to the battery when you take it out and let it warm up before charging.

      2. Walter Bishop Silver badge

        Re: Please discharge battery before entering the aircraft.

        "a fully discharged Li-Ion battery can be just as susceptible to spontaneous combustion"

        I wasn't aware of this, do you have any links to such occurrences?

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Please discharge battery before entering the aircraft.

      There are two billion passenger flights a year. Coming in 2 hours early equates to over 6000 lifetimes wasted every year in 'security'. We effectively kill more people every year in airports than have ever died in air terror related incidents.

      1. Ian Tunnacliffe

        Re: Please discharge battery before entering the aircraft.

        "There are two billion passenger flights a year"

        More like three and a half billion on scheduled airines.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Please discharge battery before entering the aircraft.

          @walter

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4957210/

          the copper dissolves into the electrolyte, making the electrolyte unstable (a higher risk of internal shortcircuit)

    3. Jamesit

      Re: Please discharge battery before entering the aircraft.

      I believe Lion Batteries get unstable if the voltage is less than 2.8V/cell.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Please discharge battery before entering the aircraft.

        I believe Lion Batteries get unstable if the voltage is less than 2.8V/cell.

        How about Tiger batteries? Or are Ocelot batteries better?

        Enquiring minds and all that. Plus, it's Friday.

    4. PNGuinn
      Flame

      Re: Please discharge battery before entering the aircraft.

      Use't 6 inch nail 'an hammer hanging on't string on't hook in't shittus.

      It'll be quite safe 't bring 't onboard then.

      Oop yers,

      Our Dad.

    5. eldakka Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Please discharge battery before entering the aircraft.

      @schultz

      Another good reason to make air travelers come 2 hours early and wait.

      Ewww...glad i'm not a cleaner there.

  6. anothercynic Silver badge

    That was not unexpected...

    For obvious reasons, just because government says it shall be so does not mean the aviation regulators agree. If anything, the aviation regulator's ruling should be the one deferred to, unless the government rulings refer to mitigation that make it possible to resolve the security problem in the regulator's ruling (in this case, lithium batteries in the hold). Given that this latest security 'spiel' is more just to make the paranoids in the White House happy, I'll side on the side of the aviation experts and aviation regulators who actually consider these things carefully.

    Sorry Trumpet, sorry May. *shrug*

    1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: That was not unexpected...

      good luck explaining that to the security monkey.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: That was not unexpected...

        good luck explaining that to the security monkey.

        If it was a monkey the process would be considerably easier. Just more expensive in banannas and peanuts..

        Hmmm.. Banannassssss..

    2. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: That was not unexpected...

      For obvious reasons, just because government says it shall be so does not mean the aviation regulators agree.

      Trouble is that the 2 "authorities" are addressing different problems; the government came out with its edict on the basis of a perceived terrorist threat whilst the regulator came out with its decision based on the fire risk posed by Lithium - ion batteries.

      I am willing to accept that both instructions are correct in terms of the problem each is seeking to address; it's just that the two "solutions" are (obviously) mutually exclusive.

      Might be worth stocking up on popcorn while the two sort it out between them. If they can...

      1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

        Re: That was not unexpected...

        But only one of those problems is real.

        1. Commswonk Silver badge

          Re: That was not unexpected...

          But only one of those problems is real.

          Are we to conclude from your statement that you believe that a Threat Assessment is only valid after the perceived threat has actually happened?

          Oh dear... you might wish to consider the adage that "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance".

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Re: That was not unexpected...

            The price of freedom is actually that some twat can blow you up or drive a car at you.

            The price of security is eternal vigilance, snooping, barriers, restrictions. It is the opposite of freedom.

            Do you realise how easy it is to blow up a train (Madrid, London)? There is not a thin blue line protecting us from nutters who want to blow us up, there just aren't as many nutters out there as the security services would like us to think.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: That was not unexpected...

              "there just aren't as many nutters out there as the security services would like us to think."

              And rather more spontaneously combustible batteries than they've taken into account. It's more a matter of weighing up the risks of alternative courses of action than deciding to follow one on what are, in effect, PR grounds.

            2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: That was not unexpected...

              there just aren't as many nutters out there as the security services would like us to think.

              Although (as reported by TechDirt) the US security services are pretty good at making up spurious entrapment^w plots mainly populated by poorly-educated and credulous fools (the wannabe plotees, not the Ferals..)

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: That was not unexpected...

              >Do you realise how easy it is to blow up a train (Madrid, London)?

              Several of the Madrid bombs detonated at Atocha station. This station is split into two sections, "Atocha Cercanías" for the commuter trains and "Puerta de Atocha" for the high speed ones. Already on 2004 the state-owned railway company, Renfe, screened every passenger's baggage using the Puerta de Atocha station.

              After the bombings Renfe installed metal detector archways and made baggage screening more pervasive, you must even take off your coat and screen it as baggage. Also pre-boarding screening was mandatory on several other high-speed train stations.

              Atocha Cercanías, like every other commuter station, had no security improvements at all.

              You guessed right: the bombs exploded at Atocha Cercanías.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: That was not unexpected...

            > Are we to conclude from your statement that you believe that a Threat Assessment is only valid after the perceived threat has actually happened?

            He is not unreasonably suggesting that this "threat assessment" comes from the same hand that penned the "40 minute" claim. Because there are gullible *and* pusillanimous people out there, and I am not looking at anyone in particular, Commswonk.

            Or we could all just take the London approach: "Oh, that was rather inconsiderate of you sir, to have committed that outrage. I am now very sorry and would like to apologise to you for failing to be in the least intimidated by your actions."

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm confused now, is it dangerous in the hold or the cabin or is it that there needs to be a constant perceived terror threat to keep everyone in check while all privacy and rights are taken away?

    1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
      Meh

      re: I'm confused now,

      Yes.

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: re: I'm confused now,

        No

        1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

          Re: re: re: I'm confused now,

          Maybe.

          1. Youngdog

            Re: re: re: I'm confused now,

            It's classified

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: re: re: I'm confused now,

              Thanks for clarifying it for me.

              1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
                Meh

                Re: re: re: I'm confused now,

                "Thanks for clarifying it for me."

                you're welcome.

                1. TonyJ Silver badge

                  Re: re: re: I'm confused now,

                  "...you're welcome..."

                  No you're not.

      2. Chemical Bob

        Re: re: I'm confused now,

        Valvoline

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: re: I'm confused now,

          Seems to me this news is that we are all potential bombers , and apparently the solution isnt to leave our bombs at home , its to put them on our laps rather than in the hold

        2. PNGuinn
          Boffin

          Re: re: I'm confused now,

          Vasoline

      3. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: re: I'm confused now,

        @IsJustabloke

        Yes

        Intelligence Services: "Mission Accomplished!"

      4. druck
        Flame

        Re: re: I'm confused now,

        Stanstead security monekys are confused now too, so they've taken to smashing phones in the x-ray trays with a heavy bag, <irony>just to make sure it's not going to explode</irony>.

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: First AC

      It's dangerous in the hold (fact). It's *supposedly* (according to the UK and US security apparatus) dangerous in the cabin, and yes there is a constant perceived terror threat (from the Trumpet regime in the WH) while all privacy and rights are taken away.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: First AC

        This constant perceived terror threat has been going on for years. Trump has only been in the White House for a few months. It would appear that you trying to create your own perceived threat in order to justify your actions - no different than the politicians that came before, and you have just as much credibility (none).

        1. soulrideruk Bronze badge

          Re: First AC

          Even worse, it was us Brits who went terrorist mad first. We were already dealing with the IRA, but once Lockerbie happened, Britain started this whole wave of anti-terrorism and began pushing it on other countries. The US was very much 'it's their problem' on the matter, until they suffered a 'terror attack' of their own.

          Then they just started implementing what the British Government had been clamouring for and the rest of the world knew about it!!

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: First AC

            "The US was very much 'it's their problem' on the matter"

            In fact, it was so much of a matter of "it's their problem" that it extended to letting their own citizens finance it providing it was on the other side of the pond.

    3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: re: re: re: re: I'm confused now.

      It's... complicated.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > I'm confused now, is it dangerous in the hold or the cabin or is it that there needs to be a constant perceived terror threat to keep everyone in check while all privacy and rights are taken away?

      It's all the Russians' fault, as you know.

      If they hadn't fucked up and their pre-1989 system hadn't collapsed we could still be enthusiastically supporting those brave freedom fighters in Afghanistan and elsewhere while worrying about Mutually Assured Destruction and the red hordes crossing the Rhine and stuff like that, which gave us a whole spy genre with some pretty good films and books.

    5. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Why do you want to know - citizen?

  8. SMabille
    Flame

    Damaged lithium batteries present a serious risk. Anyone ever watched luggage throwing competition (aka plane loading/unloading) will understand that it's probably safer to carry your laptop, tablet, explosive device in your hand luggage.

    1. sal II

      luggage throwing competition (aka plane loading/unloading)

      The baggage handlers can now claim they are doing it for our safety - any flimsy IED present in one of these suit cases will either fell apart or detonate on the ground after the beating.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: luggage throwing competition (aka plane loading/unloading)

        I always hope something detonates among baggage handlers... maybe after the event they would become more careful...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Entirely predictable

    Next move - ban devices altogether.

    It's a wonderful revenue opportunity.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Entirely predictable

      One thing wrong with your argument.

      If no devices are allowed how will the TSA get all your contacts, Social media passwords and also be able to pillage your bank accounts at will when you arrive in the USA?

      No devices ===== No information on ordinary people and less cavity searching.

      1. Your alien overlord - fear me

        Re: Entirely predictable

        No smart phone on you? They'll do what the prisons do and definitely do cavity searches. Probably multiple times to show you the meaning of smart arse !!!

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Entirely predictable

        If no devices are allowed how will the TSA get all your contacts

        Easy: convince all the mugs to cloud all the things. No more difficult stop and search at airports and relying on the Charlies (sic) in security to do things right, just fax a letter to the tame provider of your choice and have all the data delivered by them.

      3. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Entirely predictable

        "If no devices are allowed how will the TSA get all your contacts"

        Oh, that's the beauty of it - they'll kindly offer to hold on to them until you return. Just to... keep them safe, of course.

      4. Swiss Anton

        Re: Entirely predictable

        "No devices ===== No information "

        Wrong, no device means you having to put your data onto the cloud so that you can download it onto a rented laptop after arrival at your destination. I'm guessing the spooks will definitely have access to the cloud.

        1. Kernel

          Re: Entirely predictable

          ' I'm guessing the spooks will definitely have access to the cloud."

          Yours maybe - but my 'cloud' storage is sitting here on my desk at home, right where I can see and touch it - and yes thank you, I can access it securely from some random connection to the interwebs.

          I'm not entirely sure why I would want to store my personal data files on someone else's computer, especially in another country - at least here PC-plod will need a warrant or reason to believe that I'm about to destroy evidence to even get inside the door.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Entirely predictable

          "download it onto a rented laptop after arrival at your destination. I'm guessing the spooks will definitely have access to the cloud."

          Why bother. They can get access to it when you hand the laptop back before you depart.

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Entirely predictable

      No,

      With having to use checked in baggage, certain people then can be targeted and either the device "stolen" for analysis or have spyware / root kit monitoring installed.

      Doing it to everyone means the target is not sup

      Arrrgh

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Entirely predictable

        the device "stolen" for analysis

        Or just plain stolen.

    3. Aus Tech

      Re: Entirely predictable

      I can't see how it would be a a wonderful revenue opportunity, as that would mean that people who usually fly will no longer fly.

      That sounds like a loss of revenue to me.

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Yay for security theatre

    How does this work, do planes stop at Sealand so that people can pack their shinies in their hold luggage before continuing on to the UK?

    It's the only way to be safe.

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Yay for security theatre

      One of the ME3 airlines offers precisely this service... use the device all the way up to the gate, then on boarding, the device is powered down and packed into a box and sealed in front of you. All boxes are then loaded into the hold (one can only assume in a fireproof, blast-resistant LD container). The boxes are then returned to the respective passengers on arrival.

  11. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Logic

    "Not in the cabin" + "Not in the hold" = "Not on the plane at all".

    For years, an important defence against aeroplane bombings - which would be a lot more common otherwise - is to ensure that a person's luggage goes on the plane only when the person also does. (this doesn't allow for suicide attackers but it seems that the Mad Mullahs etc. are running out of willing suicide people - it makes sense after all).

    I wondered however about putting all the luggage on a separate plane, at least the hold stuff. Then if it does blow up then people probably lose their clothes and stuff but nobody dies, well, probably give the luggage plane pilot a parachute, in case. Or have that plane programmed automatically to follow the plane with people on, and yes I see that could go wrong as well sometimes.

    Or send it by a totally different route. Which happens a lot anyway.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Logic

      I'd attach a glider behind the airplane, carrying luggage. On arrival, it can be detached and land automatically. If something goes wrong, it will happen away from passengers. Hard to tow in bad weather, though...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Logic

        "I'd attach a glider behind the airplane, carrying luggage."

        I had the same thought. Maybe we should patent it. Next step, the flying caravan...

      2. Orv Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Logic

        "Hard to tow in bad weather, though..."

        Oh, I don't know, we did it all the time in WWII...

        1. Jay 2

          Re: Logic

          In the book Chickenhawk one of the (Vietnam-era) helicopter pilots few gliders in WW2. It was said that he only swore when talking about gliders and that "they didn't land, they fucking crashed".

  12. John G Imrie Silver badge

    It's all verry simple

    Devices go in the hold. Batteries have to be removed and kept with you in the cabin.

    1. nsld

      Re: It's all verry simple

      Not so easy with many sealed unit items without removable batteries.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: It's all verry simple

        Tough.

        Mine's the one with the Nokia Asha 205 in the pocket.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: It's all verry simple

        "Not so easy with many sealed unit items without removable batteries."

        The item might have started off sealed but with sufficient determination...

    2. tfewster Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: It's all verry simple

      Unfortunately it's the batteries the counter-terrorism types are now worried about:

      Bag check

      But what happened to the idea of getting passengers to switch their laptops on to prove the battery hadn't been replaced with a "berm"?

    3. Eltonga

      Re: It's all verry simple

      I'd like to see you removing the batteries from a sealed tablet wile you wait for TSA inspection. Not that it's impossible to do, but it would be something to behold.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        I'd like to see you removing the batteries [...] while you wait for TSA inspection

        Especially when you take out the heat gun to soften the glue... or some blade to remove components...

  13. sjoram

    There was a Nat Geo episode of the Air Crash Investigation series on this. Not only am I a techie, but a (student) private pilot. These things don't usually get to me, but watching this on Nat Geo did.... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UPS_Airlines_Flight_6

    1. Vic

      Not only am I a techie, but a (student) private pilot

      Good luck!

      The *only* downside of getting your licence is the kicking you give yourself for not having done it ten years earlier :-)

      Vic.

    2. Orv Silver badge

      I assume the logic behind prohibiting bulk shipments is that a single battery fire can potentially be dealt with by the on-board fire suppression system, but a large quantity will be overwhelming?

    3. Michael Hoffmann
      Coat

      Aaaah, the two words that strike more terror into the heart of ATC than a 7500 transponder code... "student", "pilot".

      Mine's the one with the C150 ops manual in the pocket.

  14. Bob Rocket

    Uber Tech.

    Why are all you people carrying your tech. devices around the world now that all your data are (belong to us) in the cloud.

    You should just rent a device at your destination, ownership of things is apparently so passe in the new age digital sharing economy.

    You won't want to own an autonomous car so why do you want to own an iPhone, a house or a wife now when you could just rent one when you need it?

  15. Ilmarinen
    Thumb Down

    That explainer...

    ... (linked in last sentence of article) is still as crap as the first time it was wheeled out.

  16. Richard 12 Silver badge

    The Government didn't do any risk assessment

    At all, as far as I can tell.

    El Reg, put in an FOI request for the risk assessment done on placing the thousands of such lithium batteries in the hold, and how many additional planes are expected to be diverted due to fires in the hold, and how many crashes.

    If they refuse to answer, we can be sure that they did none whatsoever and have absolutely no 'ing clue how much unnecessary danger they are putting air travellers in.

    1. Brenda McViking
      Holmes

      Re: The Government didn't do any risk assessment

      I recieved the answer to that FOI request (by fax). I can reveal that the standard government risk assessment for aviation security is as follows:

      Iz risk uf terrirism? Yes = over 9000

      -----EOF-----

  17. chivo243 Silver badge

    The voice of reason

    Glad to hear someone speak up regarding this insanity. Once you're in a sealed tube at 35,000ft, it doesn't matter where the possible weaponized device is sitting....

  18. Eltonga
    Go

    Next advancement: Emergency chute for devices on cabin

    Ditto.

  19. one crazy media

    What is the idea behind putting electronic devices in the cargo hold? Is it to prevent terrorists for blowing up an aircraft.

    They can easily blow up an aircraft with a Laptop or something else easily from a cargo hold. It can be argued that, this makes it easier for them.

  20. martinusher Silver badge

    Just showing solidarity with the US

    The UK government, as usual, plays the lap dog to the US, often getting things wrong in the process. The US ban doesn't affect all flights from the listed countries, just flights using that country's carriers. US airlines are not affected. This little detail led people to speculate that this is more about helping the US carriers with their business than anything to do with security. (Ever tried boarding a Turkish Airlines flight to the US? Its a bit of an involved process -- lots of checks, rechecks, yet more checks and then you find that the 'gate' isn't, your plane is parked in a heavily secured area away from the terminal buildings.) The UK government comes charging up behind -- "Yip, yip, yip", like the little lapdog it is -- and just puts a blanket ban. Its no surprise that the aviation regulator has told them to grow up and get real.

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