back to article America 'will ban carry-on laptops on flights from UK, Europe to US'

America is prepared to ban laptops from cabins on flights to the US from UK and Europe, Homeland Security officials said today. Earlier on Wednesday, European security officials whispered to The Daily Beast that the US will require notebooks and similar devices to be secured in checked baggage and placed in the cargo hold, on …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More 'Walls'

    Business travelers aside, If you can somewhere go else folks please do... Even if you arrive safely with your laptop without border control slurping it, US cities aren't safe. There are no buddy-movie-cops coming to save you etc.

    I left USA Inc behind in 2012. Why? I had family murdered there, but the cops did nothing! Most of my friends and family too have been held up at gunpoint at some time or other, and those incidents could have gone either way as well. Lazy prosecutors solve crimes by waiting untill some low life rats another perp out in order to get his own sweet deal.

    So Travel elsewhere... The rest of the world is amazing! To my friends in Latam / Asia who often see the US as Nirvana... Maybe it was once, maybe that was all illusion, but now its just a shitty place to waste away your dreams:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-10/the-six-hour-workday-works-in-europe-what-about-america!

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: More 'Walls'

      I am presuming that your average Trump FSB handler Russian citizen is not affected by this. No doubt Russian airport security far exceeds the average British airport standard.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: More 'Walls'

        Through 3 US airports last week carrying a bag containing a laptop and about 6 chargers and other devices, nobody in TSA was interested.

        But AA on both the transatlantic and internal flights had reasonably good inflight Wi-Fi, which will become a bit less useful if there are no devices to use it.

      2. GrapeBunch Silver badge

        Re: More 'Walls'

        Acronym warning for oldsters (like me): FSB is not Front-side Bus (my first guess) or FernSchach Bundesrepublik (yeah, really nobody's first guess because there's no such thing) but rather the inheritor of the NKVD > KGB. In Russia.

    2. boltar Silver badge

      Re: More 'Walls'

      "So Travel elsewhere... The rest of the world is amazing! To my friends in Latam / Asia who often see the US as Nirvana... Maybe it was once, maybe that was all illusion, but now its just a shitty place to waste away your dreams:"

      I'm sure the USA is like most countries - it has some good places and some bad places. If you think latin america or asia don't have their areas where criminals shoot first then rob you or even just shoot you for looking at them in the wrong way then I suspect you're in for a nasty surprise one day. And here in the UK there are plenty of parts of London & Manchester I sure as hell wouldn't venture alone at night because I wouldn't be certain I'd make it out again on foot rather than in an ambulance or a bodybag, and I'm quite a big guy.

      1. GrapeBunch Silver badge

        Re: More 'Walls'

        Come to Canada. We keep our violence on the hockey rink, where it belongs.

      2. Snorlax Silver badge

        Re: More 'Walls'

        @boltar: so you're basically saying that violence-wise, the USA is about on the same level as some third-world Latin American shithole?

        Yeah, I agree

    3. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      Re: More 'Walls'

      To the best of my knowledge, I am the only person in my family, counting out to numerous first cousins, who has ever been held up at gunpoint (1983). The rates of violent crime are up a bit from five years ago, but are not nearly comparable to what they were in the 1980s. Nirvana? No. "Shitty place to waste away your dreams?" Some parts may be; some may depend heavily on the dreamer.

      However, if you are planning to come to the US in order to explain to me how terrible it is, by all means, "Travel elsewhere".

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I remember the old joke...

    that one time might have been the answer....the way to stop hijacking is to issue guns to every passenger and then take them away after landing.

    The problem now is the suicide types that will die willingly for X amount of virgins...

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: I remember the old joke...

      Hmm...

      How do you think stories like this one, or this, might read, if everyone concerned was armed? And they all knew it?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. JustWondering

      Re: I remember the old joke...

      Would people blazing away in an airplane be a good idea?

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        FAIL

        Would people blazing away in an airplane be a good idea?

        Mythbusters tested the effect of a bullet penetrating the hull of a plane (pressurised so that it would be similar to cruising height), and nothing much happened. Even if a bullet would hit some vital electronics or hydraulics, those systems are supposed to be sufficiently redundand to be able to deal with that.

        But 300 gun-wielders close together, a lot of them untrained for this scenario? There will be several dead and several tens wounded, and that's just because someone said "Booh" and the actual terrorist (if there's one) not even lifting a finger..

      2. Raedwald Bretwalda

        Re: I remember the old joke...

        There exists special ammunition for people who are meant to be armed aboard passenger planes. The bullets fragment on impact, reducing the danger from ricochets and (I guess, the larger concern) bullets passing through the target.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: I remember the old joke...

          Glaser safety rounds. Not used by air marshals, for some reason.

          Generally, the fewer guns there are on a plane the better. If a suicidal terrorist or a homicidal maniac doesn't have to get a gun past security because they'll be handed a gun upon boarding, that just makes it easier to go on a mid-Atlantic killing spree, three hours from any hospital.

          1. tekHedd

            Re: I remember the old joke...

            I said "frangible", not "fungible."

      3. GrapeBunch Silver badge

        Re: I remember the old joke...

        "He is Jack" Bang. "No, you are Jack" Bang. "Stop this dangerous behavior or I'll sh-" Bang.

        But I have the solution. Arm everybody, but only if they are Swiss.

    3. GrumpyOldBloke

      Re: I remember the old joke...

      > issue guns to every passenger

      Finally a solution to the problem of the person in front of your reclining their seat.

    4. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: I remember the old joke...

      The problem now is the suicide types that will die willingly for X amount of virgins...

      What they don't realize is this is the sort of virgin theyd be getting:

      http://www.ataritimes.com/images/movies/roadtrip.jpg

  3. Jez in Syd

    So what about the battery

    Airlines here prohibit putting Li-ion batteries in checked luggage, for very good reason - they have a habit of spontaneously combusting.

    That is bad enough in the cabin but at least the crew can take some action. If it happens in the hold, then what?

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: So what about the battery

      AFAIR, airlines let you put devices containing li-ion batteries in the hold, but not separate batteries. So a laptop, fine. A replacement battery, not so fine.

      C.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: So what about the battery

        They have weird rules.

        They don't like devices without batteries, because powering a device up proves (to them, bless their cotton socks) that it isn't a disguised bomb.

        They don't like tools like power drills, because someone might drill a hole in a staff member.

        They don't like spare battery packs, because they mighty catch fire.

        This results in having your checked-in luggage scanned because it contains tools. And bizarre regulations about the size of spare batteries. I can't remember if they have to be carried or checked-in, but it's terribly important that you do the right one.

        There's no logic to it : it's just a collection of least-bad restrictions to try to stop lots of conflicting fears without stopping a passenger travelling somehow.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: So what about the battery

        They think loose batteries have more chances to short than those inside a device, and forbidding every battery in the hold would have been a problem, because some devices have non-removable batteries and bring then in carry-on luggage could be another issue, so they had to find a compromise.

        There are also limitations regarding the battery capacity, see http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/cargo/dgr/Documents/LithiumBattery_PassengerFlyer.jpg

        Note they also ask to protect the terminal of spare batteries, and ensure devices cannot be turned on accidentally.

        So, actually, to follow the US silly rules you should put devices in the hold, and bring any spare with you. The result IMHO will be that a lot of people will also put spares in the checked luggage, and if not spotted, they will just increase the risk of a fire, and the harsh treatment those luggage gets, will just only add to the risk.

        1. Mayhem

          Re: So what about the battery

          Not to mention that due to the substantial risk of damage or theft, putting a laptop into checked baggage is specifically recommended against at check in, and any electronic equipment that is checked in (as opposed to taken off you at the gate) is not covered by your travel insurance policy.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So what about the battery

        "AFAIR, airlines let you put devices containing li-ion batteries in the hold, but not separate batteries. So a laptop, fine. A replacement battery, not so fine."

        It was polite of you not to mention how bonkers that rule is. A battery you can't see is somehow safer than one that you can?

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: So what about the battery

          It was polite of you not to mention how bonkers that rule is. A battery you can't see is somehow safer than one that you can?

          Indeed. After all, there is only a 50% chance that the superposition will collapse into an "opps, BOOM" state..

    2. Smooth Newt
      Mushroom

      Re: So what about the battery

      Airlines here prohibit putting Li-ion batteries in checked luggage, for very good reason - they have a habit of spontaneously combusting.

      Devices containing Li ion batteries are more likely to catch fire in the hold too. Rough handling damages batteries. Passengers treat their fondleslabs with a great deal more care than baggage handlers would.

    3. caffeine addict Silver badge

      Re: So what about the battery

      Do we still do oblig xkcd links?

      1. D@v3

        Re: oblig xkcd

        yes we do, and always will

    4. Mage Silver badge

      Re: So what about the battery

      It's about installing surveillance. It's MORE dangerous to have them in hold.

      It's not about bombs or safety.

      The screening of carry-on is more than adequate to spot a bomb.

      Likely your insurance doesn't cover loss from checked in baggage?

      The "Agency" can install root kits etc on gear of selected travellers, or simply take them, the user will think it's theft.

      Make everyone check in baggage, so less expert targets won't realise they are a target.

      This has zero additional security benefit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So what about the battery

        "Likely your insurance doesn't cover loss from checked in baggage?"

        Just been renewing my travel insturance and the website did have a notice to say that laptops etc would be covered in checked-in luggage on the flights where this was required ... however they required the case to be locked - that will be interesting with the US requirement for cases to be unlocked so that they can inspect the contents (and as someone I know discovered, if you don't know this and lock your case on a flight from the US you can find it arrives in a large plastic bag with the locks broken and a note to explain "we broke you case to ensure your safety")

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "with the US requirement for cases to be unlocked"

          Ask them if a TSA lock is a still a covered lock (despite it uselessness, of course). Guess they have to say yes.

          TSA otherwise will break any locks it likes, and may damage the case as well.

        2. Jay 2

          Re: So what about the battery

          Some years ago I recall noticing at LHR tube that my lock was missing and in my bag found a note from TSA that said something along the lines of "It's your fault we broke into your bag to have a look and if there's any loss or damage it's your fault, so fuck you there's nothing you can do about it".

          I had a small last laugh/cuckle as the iPad box was empty (contents in my hand luggage), so they couldn't steal it.

          1. caffeine addict Silver badge

            Re: So what about the battery

            Doesn't even matter if you have a TSA lock - my wife flew Atlanta->Heathrow last year and they cut off her TSA lock to search her bag. They even put the remains of the TSA labled lock in her case... o.O

            1. LDS Silver badge

              Re: So what about the battery

              Guess the bolt cutter is more difficult to lose and easier to find than TSA keys, and much funnier to use...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So what about the battery

      "Airlines here prohibit putting Li-ion batteries in checked luggage"

      Jesus Christ, it's a Li-Ion!

      GET IN THE PLA... I mean, out of the pla... oh ****.

    6. PyLETS
      Mushroom

      Re: So what about the battery

      They can use kevlar bags in hold to contain luggage explosions up to a certain size. And then use fire suppressants which they wouldn't be allowed to use in the cabin.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-33650713

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Real Reason?

    Security? Or, an opportunity for eGoons to rummage/clone/infect laptops?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Real Reason?

      Or tomorrow's announcement that they have "listened to concerns" and the ban won't apply to US carriers who have "enhanced security"

  5. Drew 11

    Just. Stop. Flying. To. The. USA.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Well, that's been my approach for over a decade now.

      But it's not realistic for everyone. Some people legitimately need to go there, for business or whatever. What I suggest in those cases is, don't take a computer.

      1. Tell your hosts at the other end that you'll need them to lend you a PC of some description. Specify as many requirements as necessary

      2. Put all your required files/information in some cloud storage facility.

      3. When you arrive, put the two together.

      4. When you get home, delete the cloud account.

      Of course, this requires you to trust the party you're visiting. But if you don't trust them, you probably shouldn't be doing business with them anyway.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        . Put all your required files/information in some cloud storage facility.

        So that all USA agencies can inspect them and the corporation maintaining the cloud can make profit monetizing them. Yeah. Right. Screw that for a laugh.

        1. Neil 44

          Encrypted container on cloud storage?

          Store your data in an encrypted (VeraCrypt) container and stuff that onto the cloud storage...

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "2. Put all your required files/information in some cloud storage facility."

        So USA will have your data even before you fly?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "2. Put all your required files/information in some cloud storage facility."

        Or put your Linux image and all the required files on a micro sd and take that with you. You can hide it in plain sight in a burner phone.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: "2. Put all your required files/information in some cloud storage facility."

          It will work as long as you don't need your own hardware equipment. I guess that if this is confirmed, many people heading to US for the solar eclipse this Summer won't be happy to have to put all their precious and expensive devices inside checked baggage.

    2. Youngone Silver badge

      As I arrived in Melbourne recently, I overheard an American woman ask the Border Control bloke "Do I have to take my shoes off now"?

      He looked at her like she was drunk and replied "No, why would you do that"?

      Made me wonder why anyone would need to do that upon arrival in the US, but apparently that's what happens.

      1. Ralph the Wonder Llama
        Joke

        It's just in case...

        ...you've hidden a laptop in your shoes. Duh.

      2. Named coward

        shoes

        In many airports they make you take off your shoes if they are heavy boot-type shoes, which "might" be understandable: if for nothing else, the metal on the shoelace holes is sometimes enough to set off the xray beep. The US went all the way and requires ALL shoes to go through the scanner in a separate container.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: shoes

          The US went all the way and requires ALL shoes to go through the scanner in a separate container.

          That's probably why Trump had to neutralise the EPA: the smell alone would have led to complaints..

        2. [a-z][A-Z]*

          Re: shoes

          ... except at JFK T7 where they take your shoes out of the tray, place them on the belt, then surprise! they can fall off and get lost underneath the table. I was very nearly arrested a couple of months ago when my shoe got lost and I started asking for help 'You need to calm down sir or you will be under arrest for creating a distubance'. Jeez.

      3. Thoguht Silver badge

        The last time I flew into Melbourne I had to take my shoes off. Mind you, this was at the peak of the UK foot and mouth epidemic so they were disinfecting all pommie footwear.

        1. sebt

          Re: foot'n'mouth

          Yep, same for me when I went to Australia at the same time. Seemed like a pretty sensible precaution - and that was before I even became informed about how keen Australians are on preventing agricultural disease from spreading. (Wasn't there even a - voluntary, honor code - fruit-bin on the highway between Victoria and NSW?)

          This latest, though, is pure security-theatre bullshit. I can only hope this will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. More and more people will realise just how bullshit even current measures are, start demanding real, effective security checks, and tell the USA to go shove its idiotic rules.

      4. Uffish

        Re: "why would you do that"

        Always wear slip-on shoes when flying and check whether your trousers are likely to fall down when you remove your belt. Why would you do that? Why indeed? You think that security theatre reassures passengers? It damn well doesn't.

      5. MR J

        Border Control

        In the USA you don't need to go through scanners when going through Border Control. At least, not unless the airports I fly into have changed in the past 2-3 years.

        If your going on a connecting flight you will need to go through scanners again (and some border control points do have connecting and exiting passengers going through the same doors - thus a need to scan!) and a few airports require you to scan again at every terminal. I seem to think I had to be checked 3 times once in a Texas airport.

        I wore some hiking shoes by accident last year when flying to the USA, they had steel support in them (I didn't know) so it set off all the alarms. We did everything short of de-robing at the gates and it finished off with some guy touching me all over. I said ... If a body scanner, chemical swipe test, hand metallic scanner, and walk through metal detector all failed - why should I feel safe... He looked at me with utter confusion, that's what the rubdown is for... I said most people don't get the rubdown - so they could have all sorts of stuff as the scanners are crap right?... He told me to leave the area as there were others waiting to get touched.

      6. Ivan Headache

        shoes

        for many years I used to always wear Birkies when flying.

        Everytime when boarding at LHR or GTW I would have to take them off and put them through the scanner. Iwas at a loss as to how I could hide explosive in a pair of Bairkie.

        Eventually I got fed up wih this (along with 'always' getting taken aside to have my bag swabbed (every single outbound flight for the last 4 years - why me?)) and started wearing those rubbery 'all-terraine' sandals.

        Since then I've never had to take them off (still getting swabbed though).

        Finally, what is the purpose of taking the belt out out your trousers?

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: shoes

          Finally, what is the purpose of taking the belt out out your trousers?

          The buckle may make the scanner beep, and that couldn't be distinguished from having something illicit in your pocket, so they would then have to do a manual search. No belt means less chance of a false alarm, so each of the few remaining beeps is worth investigating.

          1. Philip Lewis

            Re: shoes (belts)

            The reason, is that a lot of belts that are of medium width, have a zipper pocket in them (I have one myself and keep a C note in it. It is completely feasible to secret a small weapon i there as well. I am reliably informed, that contraband is confiscated very, very regularly from this source.

            So tere you have it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This isn't going to go down well amongst aviation security officials. To date there has been strong cooperation amongst the nations, and this new ban will (if it actually happens) be taken as an insult, certainly by many European and UK airports. If the Americans are saying that they no longer trust European airports to spot a laptop bomb, they should impose the ban in their own country also; they haven't got anything better.

      I was faintly surprised that the UK went along with the initial ban that applied to flights from the Middle East (though the UK didn't apply the ban on flights from the UAE?). Believe me, there's some very motivated people involved in aviation security in that part of the world and a fair amount of cross training and inspections (e.g. Beirut airport staff training in the UK, etc). Despite the likely many attempts to defeat the systems by terrorists, nothing has got on a plane through airports there in recent times (for those who are geographically challenged, Somalia is not in the Middle East). The trend in recent times has been to attack the airports themselves; Ataturk, Brussels, Moscow.

      Of course, there is a certain amount of theatre involved in aviation security, but that's the case everywhere. There's nothing magical about the systems they have in the USA that makes them any more likely to spot a bomb. If someone could succeed in getting a laptop bomb past security in Europe they can succeed in Dulles, Washington DC. The arguments that are going to break out now will feature the secondary factors; things like the differing levels of domestic surveillance, and the potential of spotting a plot before the bomb arrives at the airport. I wouldn't mind betting that politics is playing a role too. It will be interesting to see if the ban applies to Moscow airport too (I don't know if there's direct flights).

      I strongly suspect that news of the ban was leaked to deliberately stimulate some preemptive push back. The ban has not been imposed. They can still choose to not impose it, dismissing the leak as inaccurate. If they go ahead anyway then they shouldn't be surprised at the diminished cooperation that will result.

      1. Ralph the Wonder Llama
        Meh

        "I was faintly surprised that the UK went along with the initial ban that applied to flights from the Middle East"

        Really? This country does as the US tells it, for the most part.

        "(though the UK didn't apply the ban on flights from the UAE?)"

        Ah, that's because we sell them lots of guns.

        As TFA said, this is mostly theatre, and tiresome theatre at that.

      2. pavel.petrman Bronze badge

        ...leaked deliberately...

        I strongly suspect that news of the ban was leaked to deliberately stimulate some preemptive push back.

        - I'd subscribe to the first half, and disagree with the latter. This smells to me like a typical salami-cutting-method(TM) known oh so well from other political theatres. Some comes up with a huge pile of nonsense, only to loosen a bit later on to a great relief of the other party. The only problem is that had there not been the smokescreen, the tuned down version would have rightfully caused the same amount of outrage and not the undeserved feeling of "Thank God they at leas didn't do that thing".

    4. streaky Silver badge

      Just. Stop. Flying. To. The. USA.

      It's not that simple here's why:

      Most western nations copy-paste these security standards when they're higher standard than what they have from the US. Give it a few weeks this will need to be corrected to "Just. Stop. Flying." - and I'm fine with that.

      The issue with this rule is that either x-raying of hand luggage isn't up to scratch pretty much globally - in which case what the hell are we doing - or what's stopping people doing something like putting an RTC wake-up on the laptop to make it trigger the bomb somewhere over the north pole.

    5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      If this was 5 years ago I would not have been able to justify it

      I wrote half of our product at the time on flights. There was a running gag around the office that if we desperately need to deliver a new feature they will send me on a round-the-world trip via Australia.

      In any case, if we go down that route, an explosive can be concealed in nearly anything. A modern laptop is actually one of the worst places to stick it - too thin and too cramped.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Give it a few weeks this will need to be corrected to "Just. Stop. Flying." - and I'm fine with that.

        Which is exactly what Islamic State is trying to achieve, of course. Well done the USA, who needs terrorists when you've got the TSAssholes to do the job for you.

  6. scrubber

    Home of the brave

    There might be a legitimate reason for this panic, but given the past hysteria I am dubious and would rather travel unsafe and unmolested than what they offer me now.

  7. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Go

    Eh, I prefer to look at the upside of this.

    I live in the uber-pricy SF Bay Area, so after business travel collapses we will be able to bulldoze at least one of our three international airports. We could use the land for housing or some more offices. And the empty hotels convert to apartments/condos pretty easily.

    And think of what this will do for Citrix and Cisco. Local companies make good!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Eh, I prefer to look at the upside of this.

      But what about 1000s of homeless redundant Boeing engineers cluttering up the sidewalks

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Eh, I prefer to look at the upside of this.

        "But what about 1000s of homeless redundant Boeing engineers cluttering up the sidewalks"

        Eh, that's Seattle's problem!

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Eh, I prefer to look at the upside of this.

          Until Ca decides to build its own wall you might find them migrating south in search of warmer climes

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "And think of what this will do for Citrix and Cisco. Local companies make good!"

      I wouldn't get too excited about that.

      When Regan attacked Qaddafi's villa I figured US citizens would hole up and do most business by tele-conferecing.

      Didn't happen.

      Then 9/11 rolled by and I thought, That's got to hit the airlines hard. But somehow it didn't.

      Logic says when you take their laptop off a senior business executive that's 90% of their reason for going somewhere, so why go at all? I think video quality is good enough and broadband speeds high enough it can feel like you're in the room and be able to pick up those non verbal cues people set such store by.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: "And think of what this will do for Citrix and Cisco. Local companies make good!"

        If you really want to stop senior business executives travelling by plane you must ban bringing golf clubs on board.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "And think of what this will do for Citrix and Cisco. Local companies make good!"

          If you really want to stop senior business executives travelling by plane you must ban bringing golf clubs on board.

          Now, that is just not cricket.

          1. Soruk
            Joke

            Re: "And think of what this will do for Citrix and Cisco. Local companies make good!"

            > Now, that is just not cricket.

            If you're using golf clubs to play cricket - you're doing it wrong.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "And think of what this will do for Citrix and Cisco. Local companies make good!"

        Logic says when you take their laptop off a senior business executive that's 90% of their reason for going somewhere, so why go at all?

        I guess that's to push all the cloudy stuff which they can just reach from anywhere, provided the TSA/CIA/(fill in any other TLA) didn't get there first and zapped it as terrorist material.

        To be honest, if we still did business in the US (which we stopped about 2 years ago), a laptop ban wouldn't hit us at all as we had already banned business laptops crossing the US border. All our people carried were iPads with some public data on them. We take customer confidentiality rather serious, and we found a ban is easier to enforce than limit the data sets people work with (interestingly, it was easier to get accepted as well as it's a one-hit policy instead of the drip, drip, drip nuisance of "denied" alerts which made people think of Windows Vista :) ).

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Eh, I prefer to look at the upside of this.

      We could use the land for housing or some more offices.

      Then 20 minutes later the San Andreas wakes up and drops it all into the sea.

  8. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    No problem

    Vancouver International Airport is a quick hop across the border for me. From there, the EU is reachable with my laptop in hand.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: No problem

      Or fly via Moscow, mother Russia is excluded from the ban of course

    2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: No problem

      Its not the travel FROM the U.S. with good, God-fearing, Red-White-and-Blue American laptops. It's those commie-sympathizing, terrorist-coddling foreign-owned devices that would be banned, plus of course now-suspect American laptops coming back from overseas, where they have doubtless been browsing Karl Marx.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: No problem

        But you can't bring them back - thus boosting American exports (of Chinese made laptops)

  9. aussie-alan

    They fired the wrong guy

    We should have kept the FBI Director in place and fired the DHS and/or TSA directors - they spend billions every year on security theater, but a couple of terrorists in a shed somewhere can build a bomb our technology can't detect.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: They fired the wrong guy

      Maybe these news will be used exactly to take most people focus away from Comey firing...

      Also, do they trust Far East and South American airports more than European ones? I can understand some of them are more busy trying to load drugs on planes than explosives (and Trump looks to have less issues with drugs than immigrants), but, really, do they trust them more?

      1. stephanh

        Re: They fired the wrong guy

        Europe is apparently filled to the brim with Syrian refugees which, as you could have known from reading Breitbart, are all secretly IS terrorists. Something like that.

  10. martinusher Silver badge

    Fly via Canada?

    I might try flying through Canada. Canadian flights to the US clear customs and immigration in Canada rather than at the US airport so you just pick up your bag and go when you arrive in the US just like a domestic flight.

    I can see the airlines having to introduce a special form of checked baggage for electronic devices -- you can't really put them in the hold so they'll have to be held in a secure area in the cabin.

    What a shambles. But then, what do you expect from the current administration?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Fly via Canada?

      Or Thule could offer a special 747 roof box !

      1. Wensleydale Cheese

        Re: Fly via Canada?

        "Or Thule could offer a special 747 roof box !"

        A quick mod of the AWACS housing might do the trick.

      2. TheRealRoland

        Re: Fly via Canada?

        They discontinued that when the Space Shuttle was retired.

    2. Philip Lewis

      Re: Fly via Canada?

      "What a shambles. But then, what do you expect from the current administration?"

      Wearing your bias in public I see.

      Given that the current "theatre" is a complete shambles (according to the commentarderie) and mostly bollocks, and it was all implemented by previous US Administrations, it is "Unfair, deeply unfair" to blame the current administration.

      Find something DT and his team did do that was bad, and hammer them for that - don't just knee-jerk blame the current administration because you don't like The Donald. I didn't like Obama, but I don't blame him for the Iraq war!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Fly via Canada?

        "it is "Unfair, deeply unfair" to blame the current administration."

        Not really. They are more to blame because instead of reducing the problem, they retaining it and making it worse. Two wrongs don't make a right. And didn't The Donald say he was going to reverse everything Obama did?

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Fly via Canada?

      "they'll have to be held in a secure area in the cabin."

      That'll never happen unless they can squeeze the seats closer together to make room rather than reduce seating. Except once they move the seats to make room for the new storage area, someone will realise they can put more seat in that space.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uncanny Parallels

    Does anybody remember that the cyberpunk future of 'Johnny Mnemonic' was set in the year 2021?

    A world where it was no longer safe to transmit information...

    https://youtu.be/U_8BVWHSU_o

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Uncanny Parallels

      "A world where it was no longer safe to transmit information."

      That already happened...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Promoting US Cloud services

    ... for the conspiracy minded...

    One result is that people wont take a business laptop with them or at least not one with anything important on it. So businesses shove their data into an NSA accessible cloud for access once you get off the plane.The NSA'll grab your data when you download it within the US and then the border guys don't have to worry about asking people for passwords at the border which is causing some bad press. Bonus is that commercially valuable data goes into the pot too... eg. new design for robot coal mining machine... make america great etc.

    But obviously this is not about that, its a security thing!

    1. Jonathan Richards 1

      Re: Promoting US Cloud services

      > people wont take a business laptop with them or at least not one with anything important on it

      Good business information assurance policies would make sure that the laptop was encrypted. This would protect against the risk of unauthorised disclosure should the device be stolen, and make it much harder for state-sponsored industrial espionage should the device be imaged by security authorities. Plausibly-deniable encrypted partitions are a thing, if your situation demands it. You could put encrypted material into cloud storage, of course, but you'd have to be confident about the strength of your encryption.

  13. Chet Mannly

    That Samsung S8 dock doesn't look quite so silly now eh?

    Wonder if Samsung got wind of this. That dock turning the S8 into a pseudo computer would actually be pretty handy if all you needed was email, light word processing or spreadsheeting etc.

    Certainly not ideal from a user perspective but might be a more secure proposition than handing over your laptop...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: That Samsung S8 dock doesn't look quite so silly now eh?

      Similarly, there are quite a few 'compute sticks' based on either ARM or Intel that plug into HDMI sockets. I guess you're moving the issue of trust onto the keyboard you pick up at your destination.

  14. herman Silver badge

    I put my data on an encrypted SD card and leave the computer at home.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      They can demand to "scan" that SD card at the border crossing or deny entry if you refuse (or if you do but they don't like you)

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        They can demand to "scan" that SD card at the border crossing

        True, but they have to find it first. Most people's phones have a storage-extension card, and a micro-SD isn't a hard thing to hide in your clothing or luggage.

  15. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    I despise the security theatre...

    ...as much as anyone (possibly more), and I am definitely not looking for any excuses for it, but I can't help at least trying to figure out what genuine logic could possibly lead someone to introduce this rule, especially given the arguments (some stated in the article) that a bomb/fire in the luggage hold may actually be more dangerous, etc.

    The only hypothesis I can come up with is as follows. Under the assumption that a laptop bomb must be small and not very powerful, and maybe with some extra esoteric knowledge of what such a bomb can and cannot do, is it possible that someone has estimated that the risk of a small explosion / potential fire in the hold is lower than the risk of structural damage caused by a similar explosion in a window seat?

    Maybe someone here who knows more about it than I do can comment? If that hypothesis can be refuted then my suspicion that it is just a ploy similar to $5 bottles of water past security checks will be 100% confirmed. What ploy? I don't know. Aren't insurance companies salivating over all the premium payments they'll get when they offer coverage for checked-in electronics? Just a thought in my nasty suspicious mind...

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: I despise the security theatre...

      It's fundamentally bollocks, and makes flying more dangerous.

      Crushing a lithium ion battery usually makes it catch fire - and it doesn't matter whether or not it's inside a device.

      - Just ask any airline what to do if you drop your phone into the seat. There have already been a few fires from phones being crushed by seats moving. Now make the battery an order of magnitude bigger, stack a load of weights on top at random, and bounce it around.

      The existing ban will cause fires. The only question is how often. Expanding it can only bring down more aircraft.

      The worst part is that when a plane is diverted or brought down by a lithium ion fire in the hold, they will probably insist that it was a terrorist act and ruin the life (or reputation) of a victim, and the lives of that victim's family.

      I'll be going via Canada.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: I despise the security theatre...

        This is a country that lets their kids play with machine guns so they can defend themselves from terrorists - so putting inflammable Li-Ion batteries into the hold to protect the plane from bombs follows a pattern.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I despise the security theatre...

          "This is a country that lets their kids play with machine guns so they can defend themselves from terrorists "

          Really? I thought fully automatic weapons were pretty much unavailable. My bad.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: I despise the security theatre...

            Wasn't the Uzi used by the girl who killed the "instructor" at one of "eat and shoot" facilities in the US a fully automatic weapon?

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Charles_Vacca

  16. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    In their defense (sic)

    Maybe the explosion from a laptop bomb in the hold might be better contained within the other baggage, whereby a laptop in the cabin could be held against a window/wall?

    Devil's advocate -->

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: In their defense (sic)

      Doesn't make any real difference. Even a small piece of any decent high explosive will release an unbelievably huge amount of energy, and stands a good chance of setting a fire (especially with all those lithium ion batteries mixed in) even if the fuselage does hold together.

      Some work has been done on reinforced (kevlar, etc) luggage crates, but it's the usual story; cost, weight.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Energy density of high explosives

        Even a small piece of any decent high explosive will release an unbelievably huge amount of energy, ...

        That's a common misconception. In fact energy density of all practical high explosives is quite low, for the simple reason that they need to combine the oxidizer and fuel within the same molecule or a fine mixture of molecules. For example, energy density of TNT is "only" 4.6 MJ/kg. If you can separate the oxidizer and the fuel, the practical energy density increases dramatically - e.g. hydrogen-oxygen pair is up to 13 MJ/kg. Finally, if one of the components is "free" (ie coming from the atmosphere), you can get much higher again - the humble propane contains 55 MJ/kg.

        The bottom line is that a fag lighter contains about the same amount of energy as a hand-grenade; the important bit is not the amount of energy per se, but the manner and speed in which it is released.

      2. pavel.petrman Bronze badge

        Re: In their defense (sic)

        And I'dd add to that the obvious fact that the cargo hold is packed with other flammable material, like, hundreds of other laptops with their Li cells veery close to one another.

        The nice thing about Lithium cells is that they include everything they need to burn at high temperatures, which means you can't easily distinguish the fire they produce (water doesn't extinguish the fire, it may only help to cool down the surroundings and prevent other stuff from catching fire). So if there is one cellphone or laptop on fire, it's bad enough, but with good training or thinking, you can make your plane survive. Not with tens or hundreds of these things burning simultaneously in one cramped area.

        1. Toni the terrible
          Boffin

          Re: In their defense (sic)

          Flush and fill the storage compartment with Nitrogen. No Oxygen, no fire.

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: In their defense (sic)

      Hey Winkypop,

      Sorry but you've been fooled. Aircraft are bloody well designed. They are structurally redundant, meaning that you can land a plane whilst missing vast sections of the fuselage. So blowing out a window or door is not actually going to mean the aircraft cant land, the people nearby will be in trouble, but the rest will be fine. A fire on the other hand is super dangerous for everyone. Not just the smoke, but fires spread, fires burn through electronics and hydraulic cables (taking out control systems), and eventually fires spread to fuel and go kaboom. A fire in the hold is an almost impossible situation to control, so having Laptops down their is a stupid, stupid risk.

      1. Winkypop Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: In their defense (sic)

        Thanks guys. These things I know and understand.

        Example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines_Flight_811

        Though not a bomb, the plane landed OK with a huge hole in it.

        Just trying to put my mind in the space of the Ne'er-do-wells....

        1. collinsl

          Re: In their defense (sic)

          And if you think that's a big hole look at this one:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloha_Airlines_Flight_243

          The plane lost the top half of it's fuselage due to structural issues and it landed OK - the only fatality was a cabin crew member who was blown out in the initial decompression.

          1. Philip Lewis

            Re: In their defense (sic)

            Yeah, the chick flying for Aloha did a great job bringing that one down!

  17. Timbo 1
    Joke

    This is a conspiracy between Trump and business....

    .....expect Psion like devices to be resurrected soon and one of Donny T's offspring/offspring-in-law just happening to have a large shareholding in Zebra Technologies.

  18. chivo243 Silver badge
    Flame

    Check calendar

    No, it's not April 1st. This really sucks... I am scheduled to fly to the USSA this summer in the cattle car, and with my 7 year old this will be a flippin disaster. Not to mention the Missus...

    I always joked that someday we would have to fly naked, but at least I thought we'd get to keep our lappies and fondle slabs....

    1. GJC

      Re: Check calendar

      You'll probably be able to buy NSA 'approved' laptops and tablets at vastly inflated prices at Currys and WHSmith airside.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Check calendar

      It will be fine. We just returned as a family of four, two legged flight and I can tell you that it is no problem, none of these scare stories have come to pass. There's a bit of queuing involved on the US side, especially at CBP entry check, but otherwise we breezed through unmolested.

      Perhaps we don't show up on profiling, but I think that will be the case for most.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Check calendar

        Although, we are flying via Dublin... hmmm

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Check calendar

          Then from Dublin you should be able to pre-clear the CBP part which means that all the queuing and stuff is done before you fly.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is 'that wall' in disguise

    The current Administration was elected to build a wall to stop illegal entry.

    It does not take a Nobel Prize to extrapolate that to a wall around the whole country to stop not only illegal entry but the exporting of US Jobs to 'nagliblistan' (a country where they don't speak American).

    Making anyone who wants to go to the USA really think hard about it is one way to make filtering out the undesirables a lot easier.

    I was going to ship my Motorcycle to the USA this year and spend 6 months travelling over the whole country. Not now. I'm going to New Zealand instead. That is around $20K of money that would be spent in many rural non city locations that won't go. My bike was shipped two weeks ago. I'll be off to Auckland next month. I won't be going via Los Angeles on Air NZ. Instead, I get to enjoy the delights on HK and Singapore and spend my money there instead.

    1. Mike Richards

      Re: It is 'that wall' in disguise

      I... am... not... jealous...

      Seriously, that sounds like an amazing trip. Have a blast (oops that probably tripped the terrorismometer).

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: It is 'that wall' in disguise

        "I... am... not... jealous..."

        Me neither... honestly... no, really, I'm fine...

        Anyway: safe trip, have fun!

    2. D@v3

      Re: It is 'that wall' in disguise

      bollocks to the niceties, i AM jealous. You utter swine.

      Regardless, have a great time, I'd be massively surprised if you don't. And I'd argue, you will have a better time in NZ, than you would have done in the Good Ol' US of A

  20. VBF

    As i told an American fairly recently - if I'm going to visit a 3rd world country, I think I'll stick to developing ones...

    1. Steve the Cynic

      I've heard of the idea of the "fourth world" - countries that, while notionally first-world, are working hard to degrade themselves to third-world levels. They aren't the same as genuinely third-world countries, but of course aren't first-world any more either.

  21. mr_souter_Working

    If these are so dangerous, why allow them on any flight?

    so you can't have laptops in the cabin on flights from Middle east countries - why allow them on any flight?

    if they are so dangerous, and so likely to contain bombs (or be easily made into a bomb onboard), why allow them on any flight - ban them on all flights.

    oh that's right - because they want to regularly show that they are doing things - and a blanket ban everywhere would be too much of a problem to impose, as well as not giving the security services the ability to shout about how the sky is falling every few months.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Home of the brave and land of the free?

    HA HA HAA AHAA HAA HA HA...

    I just died laughing.

    What a clown car nation.

    Best avoided entirely.

  23. Mark Talbot

    What I don't understand is why would it be any safer to have a bomb go off in the hold compared to the cabin? Surely it's not beyond the religious nutjobs to make a passive detonator.

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      The idea is that a bomb can cause more damage if it's pressed against the side of the cabin. If it's in the hold, the terrorist has no way of determining where the bomb ends up (unless he has an accomplice among the baggage handlers).

    2. Mage Silver badge

      passive detonator

      $2 quartz alarm clock innards

  24. Marc 13
    Trollface

    This is a business move...

    By a Drumphf associate:

    Here's the fag packet business plan:

    Step 1 or 2: Ban laptops,

    Step 2 or 1: setup/buy a VDI provider

    Step 3: setup "Ingress studios" to clone your Corp/Personal laptop into VDI environment (Charge £/$/E big time for this)

    Step 4: Rent "approved devices" airside (Charge £/$/E big time again) to passengers to access "their" VDI version of their device in flight.

    Step 4a: Do a deal (Charge £/$/E big time some more) with a number of three letter acronym agencies for backdoor access.

    Step 5: Pay finders fee to Don Cheeto

  25. Mike Richards

    Fine

    But we'd better reciprocate with a ban on flights to the UK to let Americans know just how inconvenient it is going to be.

    And whilst we're about it, can we start mandatory fingerprinting of Americans on arrival and exposing them to intrusive questioning by hostile, barely-literate uniformed jobsworths at the border?

    If it's good enough for us visiting their country, they can have a taste of it coming this way. IIRC they wailed and gnashed their teeth when Brasil imposed exactly the same entry procedures as were used in America.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Fine

      "Intrusive questioning"? Is that with a rubber glove?

  26. PTW
    Joke

    Have to hand it to Microsoft

    But it's a pretty extreme way to increase sales of the Surface line [is it still a line or just one model?]. I guess when your back is against the wall...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Have to hand it to Microsoft

      The original ban explicitly mentioned Kindles and iPads - basically anything bigger than a smartphone was not allowed.

    2. Feargal Reilly

      Re: Have to hand it to Microsoft

      I think it's called a 'unit'. I heard they sold one already.

  27. Mike Richards

    Worth checking your insurance

    If you do have to go to The Land of the FreeTM (terms and exceptions apply), and want to take a laptop, it might be worth looking at your insurance as many policies exclude items such as laptops or cameras which are checked in the hold, or they cap compensation at such a miserly amount it won't cover the costs of a new machine.

    Throwing a cheap, still-in-the-shrinkwrap Chromebook into your checked bag might be the only way you can work Yankside nowadays.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't it make more sense...

    If there was a size and weight limit on laptops allowed in the hold?

    I use a Yoga 700 for travelling, its 11.6", extremely thin and weighs 900 grams. Theres no room inside it to cram an explosive in it.

    If you're carrying a Lenovo x201 for example, thats a bulky old bit of kit with tons of room in it and is quite heavy.

    They have scales at baggage check in. It isn't outlandish to develop a system that is aware of the weight of all common laptops to allow for a proper check *before* security then a second check *at* security to determine any weight changes.

    You could simply tag the laptop at stage 1 and tie it specifically to the passenger. If a passenger gets to stage 2 and the weight has changed or the tag is different...inspect it.

    You could even enforce having it in a security sealed faraday bag (to help prevent tampering and remote triggering of a device). Even though you still cant use the laptop inflight with a security bag, it'd still be covered by your insurance because you can still have it in the hold.

    Obviously im being a bit rough and ready here, its a forum post, but im sure you guys get the gist.

    An outright ban is retarded and is usually implemented in cases where expertise and common sense are not present.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Wouldn't it make more sense...

      Airport security have used lists of how much empty suitcases of different brands weigh for decades. "Hmm, this 'empty' Samsonite XYZ300 weighs 0.5 Kg more than it should... "

  29. Barely registers
    Pirate

    Blue Riband?

    A new golden age of ocean liner travel awaits....

    The Atlantic crossing was done in less than 3 and a half days back in 1952.... comfort, no jet lag, satellite-based internet comms.... sounds glorious.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Blue Riband?

      Maybe there's a market for the Russians to exploit, their most recent hydrofoil as far as I know is the Comet 120M , 120 passengers at 60 knots.

      I am sure they could come up with something bigger and better, they could allow laptops via satlink and urp while you sail.

      1. sebt
        Thumb Up

        Re: Blue Riband?

        For real retro-Russian cachet, plus (as William-Gibson wrote) Bond-villain panache, you want an ekranoplan:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caspian_Sea_Monster

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Blue Riband?

      I'm afraid TSA would only be happy if it could re-open Ellis Island...

  30. TheInnerPartSystem

    Define laptop

    What is a laptop? Cue numerous arguments with TSA officials, "No, its a tablet that you can attach a keyboard to, its not a laptop".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Define laptop

      I have suddenly realised - this is a ploy to sell Windows phones with Continuum. That isn't a Russian mole in the DHS: it's a Microsoft salesman.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Define laptop

      > Define laptop. What is a laptop?

      That's moot my friend. The original ban explicitly barred Kindles and iPads by name, as well as other devices bigger than a smartphone, including portable games consoles.

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: "arguments with TSA officials"

      You'd best avoid those, you never win them and can end up wasting more time being questioned than anything else.

      Plus they don't give a rat's ass if you miss your flight - it's not on them and the airline won't reimburse your fare because TSA locked you up too long.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "arguments with TSA officials"

        You'd best avoid those, you never win them and can end up wasting more time being questioned than anything else.

        "Never mud-wrestle with a pig - it will enjoy itself and you will get dirty"

  31. Olivier2553 Silver badge

    Only valid reason for checking in

    The luggage control is more in depth for checked in luggage than for carry on: it is not only x-ray, but you can have a lot of detectors/sniffing systems (like things sniffing traces of explosives on the surface of a bag) at one control point; this would have to be duplicated at each checking station for carry-on, it is not economically feasible.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Only valid reason for checking in

      They already wipe down random items and put the cloth into a "magic chemical detector".

      Explosives residue is quite trivial to detect.

      It is much harder to do this with hold luggage as there is far more of it, and the passengers don't helpfully open their bags for you.

      So nope, not buying it.

  32. Jonathan Richards 1

    Another impact on airlines

    I recently came across a new[1] phenomenon: in-flight entertainment without a seat-back screen or common-viewing screens overhead. The concept was that passengers would place an inflight entertainment app onto their personal devices, and consume the stuff that way. I suppose I *could* watch a two-hour movie on a tiny phone screen, but it would be stretching the definition to call it "entertainment".

    Airlines relying on people having tablets etc. about their persons will be in a quandary.

    [1] New to me, anyway.

    1. D@v3

      Re: Another impact on airlines

      I also saw that very recently on the Alaska Airlines leg of my trip to / from Hawaii. They would even rent you a tablet with the service pre-loaded if you didn't have one. I chose to (try) to sleep instead.

      Mostly my trip through the various security barriers (Heathrow, Seattle and Kona) were no more intrusive than they have been in the last few years going in and out of various parts of Europe. (except for the thumb and hand printing in Seattle on the way out). Had a brief scare when the robot at Heathrow pushed my carry on bag (filled with all the electronics i didn't want in the hold) to the side, thankfully the guy with the grabby claw pushed it back.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another impact on airlines

      Qantas has had this for a while.

      I looked at the T&Cs, and as usual, they want to install their crap on your device without any responsibility for any consequence.

      No, I do not accept the terms and conditions.

      As for travel to the US (abbreviation commonly used for un-servicable? up-shit?), not something I was intending to do. There are some interesting places there, and doubtless some nice people, but culturally it seems to be entering a death-spiral.

  33. Anonymous Coward/2.0
    Flame

    So how does this work then?

    On a recent Ruinair flight to Ireland my wife was asked to remove a Kindle from her checked-in bag because they wouldn't allow lithium batteries in the hold. Okay so Ruinair aren't transatlantic but if other airlines apply the same rule then it won't be possible to take a laptop anywhere - the airlines won't allow it in the hold and the US won't allow it in the cabin. Omnishambles springs to mind.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: So how does this work then?

      That seems inconsistent. Ryanair allows passengers to bring along one of the most terrorizing devices known to man. Yes, that's right - accordions.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: So how does this work then?

        Ryanair allows passengers to bring along one of the most terrorizing devices known to man. Yes, that's right - accordions.

        How about bagpipes? I'm sure the other cattle^Wpassengers will enjoy several hours of "Flower of Scotland" at high volume.

        I suppose that, for a bit of variation, you could play "Amazing Grace" once or twice.

        1. Pedigree-Pete
          Thumb Down

          Re: So how does this work then?

          @CrazyOldCatMan.....Just so long as they don't play Scotland the Brave. I just find that patronising. PP

        2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: So how does this work then?

          Several hours of accordion or bagpipes, and the passengers will insist that the pilot crashes the plane anyway.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: So how does this work then?

            Simple, you place the laptop in the hold but carry-on the battery

  34. pauleverett

    ok

    Another good reason to not go there. They can seriously gtf. That crackpot in the white-house is off his frickin rocker, and thank's to those paranoid wacko's we can't even carry a bottle of water on a plane. Now my precious laptop is getting banned. Baah, ill take the train.

    1. D@v3

      Re: ok

      In general i would agree, however my recent experience was that you can take an empty bottle through security and fill it up at the various "fill your bottle here" points, dotted around (at least the airports i was in).

  35. Netbofia
    Devil

    Great new economic model

    So folks that need to work on their presentations just need to bring their VR googles a keyboard and a mouse with batteries bought in the airport. And can work on their phones. Just build a vr powerpoint system.

    VCs,line up here... to throw your fists-full of cash.

  36. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    It just occured to me - cui bono and all that - this makes a good case for Mr Musk's Hyperloop.

    (Not that the idea for a transatlantic tunnel is that new.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "It just occured to me - cui bono and all that - this makes a good case for Mr Musk's Hyperloop."

      Hyperloop has far more security issues versus terrorists than aircraft. Among other things it's vulnerable to limpet mines fired from a simple spring loaded projector and (with less assurance of damaging vehicles) RPGs.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Checked baggage disappears from your sight until you pick it up at your destination.

    The scanner is not in a large room full of passenger.

    In the hold it'll be amongst other bags, possibly in the middle of them, in a large metal cargo container.

    I suggest that the author has a proper think before writing articles. (I'd suggest doing some proper research, but that's too expensive and time-consuming for this kind of cheap journalism).

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "in a large metal cargo container."

      Ehm, no. Cargo containers need to be light as well, so they are not sealed heavy weight safes. Some have been reinforced (but not with metal, too heavy), but look in the Daily Beast article linked what happens to a standard cargo container when Li-Ion batteries inside catch fire...

      Also, smaller planes may not use cargo containers at all - and in a multi-leg travel may be unfeasible to put devices into checked in luggage only for the US leg.

  38. FordPrefect

    Its going to get to the point soon where you must really want to goto the US to visit. Its already close to ritual humiliation with the security precautions and thats not even considering the fact the airlines treat you like crap. I'd be tempted to do the transatlantic trip to Canada or Mexico first then a smaller hop to get where you wanted. IE goto Toronto and goto New York from there, or if going to California, Texas or Florida transit through Mexico.

  39. Steve Kerr
    Coat

    The safest option

    Just ban all flights to/from the US, just to be sure.

    No worries about Laptop bombs, Samsung incendiary devices or terrorist hijackers etc......

    No need for homeland security peons on minimum wage and minimum clue either

    Problem solved.

  40. Michael Habel Silver badge

    I wonder...

    If this Ban is less about Passenger Safety, and more about containing those with Camera Phones sniping up all the recent, and likely as damaging drama that has taken place over the recent history?

    No Camera Phones, no Facebook Viral Facebook Videos

    No more bad press for said Airlines.

    Seems like win win for them, as inconvenienced Business Travelers will still have to travel in as far as their Employers will allow them to. So I doubt they would take such a massive hit 'cause of this.

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: I wonder...

      If this Ban is less about Passenger Safety, and more about containing those with Camera Phones

      That would be a much more likely scenario if it applied to phones...

  41. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    USB stick on a keyring.

    encrypted the corporate data volume, Left F18 (at the time) unencrypted. Left the volume with the holiday pics unencrypted. Interestingly enough they never even blinked twice. I'm going to be travelling a bit in the near future -- I'll repeat as necessary -

    Those nifty "cargo canister" bins, only go in the *really big* birds. Most of your luggage gets hand bombed out of the bin into the hold, either by being tossed on one of those belts, or while the bin is elevated to the cargo door.

    Security theatre is security theatre. Pretty much *all* the idiocy out of the US since September 13th 2001 has been "theatre" -- must keep our people terrified and subservient, after all they wont let us take away their 'Rights And Freedoms' unless we keep them utterly terrified of the 'others' out there, the criminal illegal black mexican gay muslim terrorist pedophiles that will be raping their grandmothers and sons with 3 ounce plastic bottles of binary liquid explosives in their shoes.

  42. Andy 97

    Clarification?

    As a fail-safe, just ban all air travel from anywhere except Israel (of course).

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    America hasn't banned anything

    America is a continent not a country. America includes all countries from Canada to Argentina.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: America hasn't banned anything - America is a continent not a country.

      I posted this on Ars once and got Americans explaining that everybody else in the world means the USA when they say America. It's a lost battle, I think.

      1. John Presland

        Re: America hasn't banned anything - America is a continent not a country.

        Not in Spain.

  44. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Devil

    Maybe this is intended as a Trump Organization business opportunity?

    Announcing the TrumpTop (TM) computer rental service!!

  45. Philip Lewis

    Field day for baggage theft

    Expect travel insurance premiums to rise.

    The primary reason I carry my laptop on flights (and I fly a lot, both left and right on entry), is that my laptop is worth considerably more than all my other baggage combined. Having it in hand is simply the prudent thing to do.

    Luggage gets lost. Theft occurs from luggage. These facts dictate my actions.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whenever we went abroad in the British army, all our L-ion batteries had to be shipped by sea, or in specialist containers on aircraft. With good cause too. We used to use a battery called the M1, it was about the size and three times the weight of an Xbox one PS4. It was designed for use with technical surveillance kit.

    There were several confirmed reports of it suddenly exploding.

    That's whilst the op team were lying beside / on top of it....

    1. Toni the terrible
      Boffin

      I have wondered why Li batteries of any type are allowed in aircraft. Take the device without a battery and pick one up at your destination, expensive and annoying but much safer.

      If the device cant have its battery replaced why use it?

      As for the security bollks make USA citizen travellers submit to the same bollks their country applies to others - its only fair after all.

      Anyway do you really, reallly want to haul your bestest electronics via air, where theft is not unknown?

  47. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Works both ways

    If the goal of Daesh is to get a bomb onboard a planeload of Americans, I'd expect all laptops to be banned from cabins leaving as well as entering the USA. Also on flights within the USA.

    Al Shabab already demonstrated the ability to have ground personnel walk a bomb around security and hand it off to a passenger. Fortunately, the only fatality (on a Daallo Airline flight) was the bomber. But the USA has demonstrated it's complete inability to crack down on crooked ground personnel (although the merchandise usually heads in the opposite direction). So it would be trivially easy to recruit someone to carry a package into a secure area.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Works both ways

      Having worked 'air-side', in a security role for two airlines, I have to agree on just how easy it is to get a device on board an aircraft.

      You don't need to pass it to a 'bomber', just put it in a food cart from one of the flight catering suppliers, who employ the cheapest 'contract' labour possible, many of whom are from 'interesting' parts of the world and rarely security screened as they never even set foot on the airfield as such.

  48. danya02
    Mushroom

    I wonder if the world-famous East European manufacturers offer bulk rates on their lithium-ion packs with dangerously thin battery walls...

    (According to my research, they don't. Thankfully.)

  49. nkuk

    So will the airlines increase the baggage allowance by 1kg to compensate for this?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can still use my mobile to ring up the auto-destruct laptop in the hold though, right?

  51. Brian Allan 1

    Another bullshit hindrance to flying!

  52. Daniel Snowden

    All the more reason not to travel to dumb****istan

  53. aaaa

    Power on at checkpoint

    Just post 9/11 I remember every security checkpoint I went through at every airport required I take my laptop out and power it on. Whatever happened to that? I haven't been asked now in years... It was a sensible security precaution in my view (though if u were determined I guess I could see a way or two around it). Preferable to checking your devices in the hold anyway.

  54. Ellis Birt 1

    Windows on a thumb-drive

    That's the answer!

    With flash drives having the same capacity as the average laptop available and Windows capable of being installed on one, regular travellers can switch to using a thumb-drive.

    The smarter airlines will replace the seat entertainment computer with a PC in every First class seat (then extend it to business) and executives will continue to travel.

    With a laptop costing less than a first-class seat, you can either throw it in the hold and hope for the best or buy/rent/borrow one at the other end.

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