The US is expected to broaden its ban on in-flight laptops and tablets to include planes from the European Union, a move that would create logistical chaos on the world’s busiest corridor of air travel.
Alarmed at the proposal, which airline officials say is merely a matter of timing, European governments held urgent talks on Friday with the US Department of Homeland Security.
The ban would affect trans-Atlantic routes that carry as many as 65 million people a year on over 400 daily flights, many of them business travellers who rely on their electronics to work during the flight.
Banning laptops and tables on flights is just insane. Will ensure that people avoid the US as much as possible.
The head of the International Air Transport Association said recently that the electronics ban was not an acceptable or effective long-term solution to security threats, and said the commercial impact was severe.
An industry-backed group, the Airline Passenger Experience Association, said the US government should consider alternatives. That could include routinely testing laptops for chemical residues associated with bombs, requiring owners to turn on their devices, and letting frequent travellers keep their electronics with them.
A ban should be the last last resort.