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This is a follow up to this question which discusses the ban on medium to large size portable electronic devices.

If I'm flying an itinerary into the US where I need to transit via one of the airports which are under the purview of the recent ban, then does it apply to me?

As an example, if I were flying from New Delhi to New York with say Emirates in a flight which would have a halt at Dubai. It's most certainly legal to carry a laptop or tablet in the cabin from Delhi to Dubai and if there aren't any additional security checks in Dubai then I guess it would be very hard to enforce the ban in such a case.

The reason that I ask is because the fine text of the ban doesn't seem to be available and some of the media outlets seem to be saying that this impacts only direct flights.

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Yes it does. The Department of Homeland Security answers this exact question:

TSA recommends passengers transferring at one of the 10 affected airports place any large personal electronic devices in their checked bags upon check-in at their originating airport.

Do note what the Washington Post says, quoting an anonymous source:

the logistics of enforcing the ban will be daunting, particularly in instances where passengers take connecting flights elsewhere in the world before boarding a plane bound for the United States.

“You’ve got to wonder, if somebody’s connecting and doesn’t have access to his checked bag to put his laptop in, what does he do?” the official asked. “I guess people will figure out that if you’re connecting in Casablanca, you’d better have your laptop in your checked bag.”

What if you are at the connection with an extremely threatening ebook reader you forgot to check in? I imagine the possibilities will include:

  1. Gate checking a bag. If they have the facilities to do so, if you have a bag and so forth. In the best case, the affected airports will make thick cardboard boxes available for gate check purposes perhaps for a fee. If they really want to serve you well, they might even add an air cushion machine. Packaging fragile items is a problem with known solutions. Gate checks involve less baggage handling so the chances theft are somewhat lower but still, those boxes might as well have a meter high sign on them with thick letters screaming "valuable items!". Edit: On March 23, 2017 Emirates indeed announced this option.
  2. Mailing it. (Although AFAIK these facilities are typically landside which makes it problematic and time consuming to get there unless you are escorted there and back by security to bypass immigration going out and normal security coming in...)
  3. If you have a lot of time perhaps they will be lenient enough to reunite you with your checked luggage briefly which, again, quite probably will require security presence.
  4. Rerouting through the EU or Canada. I would find this extremely unlikely for cheap economy tickets but who knows.
  5. Finally: not boarding the aircraft to the USA. I suspect in this case they will make you buy a ticket back to your starting point or wherever else you want to go. Again who knows what happens to business (or first) passengers.

Actually, the airlines went beyond my imagination: Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways offer loaner devices for business travelers and I bet Emirates won't be far behind.

  • "Mailing it" -> i know that some airports have company booths on the duty free areas where you can send yourself stuff at your destination, but there aren't many. Dubai is a big airport, maybe there's a Emirates High Street office in there? – CptEric Mar 22 '17 at 7:32
  • That probably is an excellent question... or ten? – chx Mar 22 '17 at 7:36
  • 3. No, in my experience, because this requires them to trace your individual baggage, prevent it being loaded and manually return it to checkin. 1. You'd assume they'd start doing this, but it remains to be seen. 2. Seems really undesirable: cost, protective packaging, insurance, delay, theft during shipping? 4. Who are you suggesting would reroute? If the airline was even able to reroute on the day, I imagine it would be $$$. As in, a weekend stopover in Dubai might be cheaper. – smci Mar 22 '17 at 9:41
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    @smci Imagine a business traveler on Emirates on their return trip to New York from say New Delhi and being told at Dubai they can't use their laptop for what amounts to essentially an entire work day. Can you imagine anything else but a reroute in this situation? I honestly can't. And again, can you imagine Emirates telling a customer who already paid several thousands of dollars that they need to pay for being forced on a circuitous route? – chx Mar 22 '17 at 23:09
  • @chx: I totally understand the disruption and inconvenience. How each airline reacts is at the discretion of that airline. We weren't necessarily talking about Emirates; this ban is about many airlines other than Emirates. Frequent-flyer business travelers on Emirates is the top end of the caste system; economy leisure travelers on a US airline (from those ME airports) is another. US carriers don't treat their customers that well. There's a reason there is no US carrier in the Skytrax Best-20 airline list – smci Mar 23 '17 at 13:35
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An additional check is done at the gate for flights to the U.S. or U.K. that are affected by the ban. The airlines have procedures to take electronics from passengers, put them in boxes, and transport them in the cargo hold. The specific procedures vary by airline. Some airlines gate-check the items, so passengers retrieve them from baggage carousels as with any checked bags. Other airlines "valet-check" them, returning them to passengers immediately upon deplaning.

For one example, see this frst-hand report.

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