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Travel Industry Travel News

Laptop Ban Affects Business Travels

Business travelers, who utilize flight time to catch up on work and email, will be disrupted by the recent announcement made by the Department of Homeland Security. Dubbed the ‘laptop ban’, large electronic devices will not be allowed as carry-on when flying non-stop to the U.S. from 10 international airports.

What are these 10 international airports?

  • Jordan – Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)
  • Egypt – Cairo International Airport (CAI)
  • Turkey – Ataturk International Airport (IST)
  • Saudi Arabia – King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED) & King Khalid International Airport (RUH)
  • Kuwait – Kuwait International Airport (KWI)
  • Morocco – Mohammed V Airport (CMN)
  • Qatar – Hamad International Airport (DOH)
  • United Arab Emirates – Dubai International Airport (DXB) & Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)

What airlines fly non-stop to the U.S.?

  • Royal Jordanian
  • EgyptAir
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Royal Air Moroc
  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways

Regulations of the new ‘Laptop Ban’

The aviation security enhancements are for all U.S. bound flights from these 10 airports. It  requires that all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage.  Large electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, and electronic games can no longer be used in-flight. The ban does not effect the flight returning from the U.S. back to these countries.

Increased security was needed, based on intelligence about airlines that fly non-stop from these 10 airports. Top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff,  said “These steps are both necessary and proportional to the threat. The global aviation system remains a top target and proper security requires that we continually adapt our defenses.”

The nine airlines affected have until early Friday morning to implement necessary changes. If an airline ignores enforcement, security officials will ask the Federal Aviation Administration to revoke the airline’s certificate to fly in the U.S.

Great Britain has followed the U.S. with a similar announcement.  Their ban specifies dimensions of electronics not allowed as carry-on. The U.K. ban focuses on Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Canada may be following with their own electronic ban as well.

No time frame has been given on this change. The DHS has said in “will remain in place until the threat changes”. Additional airports could also be added at any time.

Business travel industry reaction to the ban

While safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, this ban comes as a jolt and inconvenience to business travelers. A complete halt in business productivity is one criticism, but additional safety concerns are another.

One possible matter is the increased risk of lithium-ion batteries catching fire in the cargo hold. These fires would be hard to contain early or even reach.

Another criticism is theft or damage to checked items. There is a reason we keep the most expensive and important items close to us while traveling. Most of us have experienced lost or damaged baggage, and even theft. Without your protection, your items are open to anyone. Speaking of which, this regulation will potentially leave confidential company business exposed while valuable information housed on laptops are checked.

Having flown on Emirate’s Airlines and experienced their exceptional in-flight entertainment, I appreciated their prompt and creative response to the ban, with their “Let Us Entertain You” video on Twitter.

Business traveler tips for the laptop ban

Regardless of in-flight entertainment options, the need to mitigate risk will be an inconvenience that travelers need to be prepared for in advance of their departure from the impacted airports.

  • Back up everything and save it to the cloud, just in case of theft or damage.
  • Add everything you need to your phone – movies, games, podcast, email, etc.
  • Bring those ‘back burner’ tasks you never seem to get to normally – whitepapers, recommended books, research, etc.
  • Buy an external keyboard that can be connected to your phone, making typing less of pain and increase productivity.
  • Consider changing flights from a non-stop to one-stop flights.
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Business Travel Travel Tips

Laptop Totes – No More Choosing Between Your Purse and Your Laptop Bag, Ladies!

Post-9/11 TSA regulations have forced us to economize. Gone are the days when you could board an airplane with a Big Gulp of Diet Coke in one hand and your roller bag in the other, while simultaneously juggling both your purse & your brief case. As we all know too well, TSA has completely nixed the Big Gulp and requires us to choose two of the latter three. And options are limited because the roller bag has to be carried (or rolled) on, otherwise you’re charged $50 each way to check the bag.
So ladies, how do we choose between our purse and our briefcase? If we opt for just the briefcase, we’re faced with the predicament of how to carry our wallet, cellphone, and lipstick to a restaurant for dinner. If we choose the purse, it means we have to put all our business documents, and our laptop, in the roller bag which then ends up then being stored in the overhead bin.
The answer? Laptop totes.
Retailers like eBags, and BagKing have incredibly stylish and functional totes that serve as both a purse and a laptop bag. These totes keep your laptop protected and your mobile office essentials fashionably organized, while also providing the space to keep your purse items within reach. Just make sure your new bag has the following features/qualities:

  • Be certain that it will fit under the seat in front of you.
  • Make sure it fully zips closed, just in case it were to tip over.
  • Look for removable computer protection. This way, you can remove your laptop and use your tote as a purse for evenings out.
  • Check to see if the handles on your tote coordinate with the handle on your roller bag as you might want to balance your new tote on top of your suitcase while trekking through the airport.

With these new bags, in all their styles and colors, you’ll definitely be the envy of the office & your fellow airline passengers. Plus, you’re easily minimizing your packing situation!