Authorities are considering extending the laptop flight ban from cabin baggage on all international flights.
In an interview on Fox News Sunday, US Head of Homeland Security, John Kelly, said the United States planned to “raise the bar” on airline security, including the increasing the use of technology used to screen carry-on items.
Kelly also said that if US citizens had seen the ‘intelligence’ he had regarding terrorist threats, they would never go outside their front door. “That’s the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it’s a U.S. carrier, particularly if it’s full of U.S. people… It is a real sophisticated threat and I reserve that decision until we see where it’s going.”
Such a move would dramatically expand the ban from its present limitations, announced in March, that affects about 50 flights per day from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East. “We’ve had constant updates on the subject,” he said. “We know more than most. And again, if there’s a credible threat out there, we need to make sure we take the appropriate measures.”
The US restrictions apply to flights from Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The current ban prevents travelers from bringing laptops, tablets and certain other devices on board in carry-on bags. All electronics bigger than a smartphone on these flights are not allowed into the cabin and must be checked with bigger items of luggage.
The airline industry found itself blindsided in January when President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning entry for 90 days to citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, all muslim majority countries, causing panic and confusion among fliers and airlines. The order was later blocked in the courts.