The U.S. Travel Association called for an explanation of the
rationale behind a possible extension of the electronics ban to flights from
Europe to the U.S.
Currently, laptops and tablets are not allowed in carry-on
bags on flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. Several
reports suggest that the ban will expand to flights to the U.S. from Europe.
"It is critical that the U.S. government clearly
communicate the details of this new policy and the reasons why it's needed,
continually reassess it to ensure it remains relevant and effective, and
actively seek protocols that neutralize threats while minimizing disruption for
legitimate business and leisure travelers," said Jonathan Grella, U.S.
Travel's executive vice president for public affairs.
The Department of Homeland Security said Thursday, "No
decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic
devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration. DHS continues
to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes when necessary to keep
air travelers safe."
Grella said, "If there is a legitimate terror threat,
the flying public needs to take it seriously and adjust to the new protocols as
best they can. Travelers have been through this kind of thing before and are
more resilient than we often think -- plus the consequences of a major attack
on the transportation system hardly need to be repeated. Threats are
ever-evolving, and so must we all be."
Global Business Travel Association executive director
Michael McCormick also questioned the effectiveness of the ban, being sure to
note that GBTA believes the security of our skies is "of the utmost
"The question remains whether the targeted application
of policies banning personal electronics is an effective measure to reduce the
risk of terrorism," he said. "If it is in the best interest of
security, business travelers are willing to comply with these types of
McCormick said an electronics ban affects business travelers'
ability to stay connected and conflicts with existing risk-management
procedures that require business travelers to keep their devices on hand and in
sight at all times for security purposes as they may contain sensitive company
"Now business travelers will need to be equipped with
new information and ways to keep their company data safe," he said. "Additionally, nearly half (49 percent)
of business travelers prefer to stay connected and get work done while flying.
Not allowing them to bring their devices on the plane reduces productivity."
Association of Corporate Travel Executives executive director Greeley Koch questioned the effectiveness of a laptop ban.
"Why did the U.S. and the U.K. target different countries for
the initial ban, and why didn't other countries follow suit? Why are laptops
the target of such a ban despite the United States' investment in airport
security and screening procedures? If the ban is implemented more broadly, will
other countries institute their own policies that can further complicate the
travel picture? How do these bans increase security when they are easily
circumvented, even if all of Europe is subject to them?" Koch stated.