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The UK has recently implemented a ban on large electronics in hand luggage, when flying directly from certain Middle Eastern airport. However it's not clear to what degree this ban is enforced by airlines - from a simple "do you have a laptop?" question which can be ignored to metal scanners and x-ray machines at each gate. What does it look like in practice?

I am aware that US-bound flights usually have a separate security check, but it's unclear if the UK gets the same treatment.

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I did an airside transit through IST on to BA to LHR a few days ago. Since I didn't visit the check-in desk, I had to check it in at the gate. It was somewhat similar to the other encounter, however after showing that I had a laptop I was told to sit down with it and then check it in with the airline when they were ready.

After 15 mins, I was approached and told that to go and check in my bag. I went to the desk and was asked to sit down behind the desks for a few minutes. The BA agent then approached me and asked me to put the laptop in my check-in bag, and left me to get the luggage tag. At the point I could quite easily have just put the laptop back in my backpack and carried it on board and they would have been none the wiser.

Someone took my bag until the end of the jet-way and left it there for a luggage handler to take to the hold. When I passed it, I could easily have just picked it up and took it on board with me again.

I was in transit to the US so asked for the bag to be short-checked to LHR where I picked it up and carried it on again for my next flight.

Seemed to be a process completely full of holes.

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I don't have first-hand knowledge, but reports I've seen in social media posts indicate that there is a separate security screening, either X-ray or hand searches of cabin bags (depending on specific airports, airlines, and gates). To quote the linked FlyerTalk post:

At the IST departure gate there were three checks: the first to manually check your BP against your passport, the second to screen your passport (only one person with a single terminal doing this, so the queue moved exceeding slow), and finally a brush down body search/thorough search of your hand baggage/request to give up electronics. Moble phones were waved through. My iPad and Kindle were put into separate bubble-wrap bags, details written on a list, which I signed, then onto two-part numbered baggage tags, the small tags being given to me. I was told I would need them to reclaim the items. My items were then sealed and placed in a hard-sided suitcase.

At LGW, immediately as we disembarked, those who had handed in electronics were asked to wait to one side. As soon as everyone was off the 'plane, the suitcases were bought out and three members of staff quickly distributed our items to us, checking carefully against the receipt tags. This all took less than ten minutes, although there were only about 15 of us waiting - most people seem to have put their electronics in their hold baggage.

  • Note: though this is to the UK, rest assured the same or even worse will be there for the USA for there has always been separate security checks for flights to the USA. I have had such in Amsterdam, Rejkjavik and Amman and perhaps more that I just can't remember. – chx May 7 '17 at 21:05

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