Passengers coming to the U.S. from Europe may have to stow their electronic devices for good. According to Travel + Leisure, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security could expand its electronics ban to include all of Europe, which means travelers would have to place laptops, tablets, and anything larger than a smartphone into checked bags.
The information comes via Alex Macheras, an aviation expert who predicts that an official ruling will come from the White House as soon as this week. This announcement comes on the heels of an electronics ban back in March, which affected Middle Eastern and North African countries. After that announcement, airlines had only 96 hours to comply with the new regulation, causing mass confusion. According to Travel + Leisure, the U.K. followed suit just a few days later, instituting its own ban, which included just Middle Eastern nations.
"We’ve said we will continue to evaluate the threat environment and make determinations based on that assessment, but we have not made any decisions on expanding the current restrictions against large electronic devices in aircraft cabins from selected airports," Gillian Christensen, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, told The Guardian last month.
After the Middle Eastern electronics ban, a few airlines began offering rental tablets for passengers. Some also allowed first- and business-class passengers the option to check their laptops at the gate, so travelers could get the most of their electronics before boarding. T+L notes that if the electronics ban does expand to include Europe, passengers who normally travel with only a carry-on bag would have to check it if they plan on bringing a laptop, which means more fees and, presumably, more complaints.
However, the TSA hasn't made any formal announcement just yet, so anyone planning on flying the friendly-for-now skies can bring those laptops and tablets without worry.
"We have not made any decisions on expanding the electronics ban," the TSA told Travel + Leisure. "However, we are continuously assessing security directives based on intelligence and will make changes when necessary to keep travelers safe."