With an anticipated extension of the onboard laptop ban to flights
from Europe to the U.S., ASTA suggests that travelers who are enrolled in
trusted traveler programs like Global Entry be exempt from the ban.
Currently, laptops and tablets are prohibited in carry-on
bags on flights to the United States from some airports in the Middle East and
"Broadly speaking, while we believe that securing the
global aviation system from terrorist attack should be the U.S. government's
primary objective, our members have expressed concern about the ban and its
potential to negatively impact air travel and the broader industry," Eben
Peck, senior vice president of government and public affairs, said in a
statement. "Indeed, the rumored expansion of the electronics ban to
additional European airports raises the same issues -- but on a broader scale --
as the original ban applying to flights from the Middle East and North Africa."
Those issues include disruption to travelers, checking
electronics and the risk of fire from lithium batteries stored in cargo.
Travelers enrolled in programs like Global Entry are
considered low-risk, he pointed out.
"If we have faith in the efficacy of these programs --
and we must -- then exempting these pre-screened, low-risk travelers from the
ban would seem to be a sensible way to both minimize disruption to a portion of
the traveling public while incentivizing enrollment," Peck said.
In addition to suggesting the exemption, Peck also called on
the Trump administration to "expeditiously set clear rules of the road so
that travel industry stakeholders can serve their clients, that travel
disruptions are kept to a minimum and that the traveling public can maintain
confidence in an industry so vital to our nation's economy."