I’m in Dubai now and let’s just say that I haven’t had much luck on this trip. A flight delayed by 8 hours. A sandstorm followed by a downpour. Man plans and G-d laughs. But more about that in a future trip report. For now you can follow the trip via Instagram and view Facebook Live updates on the DansDeals Facebook group.
The US is banning all electronics except cell phones from flights flying nonstop from:
-Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
-Abu Dhabi, UAE
If you are planning on flying back from Israel to the US via Jordan or Turkey then you will be affected by this rule. Forget about bringing those tablets to keep the kids occupied.
I’m scheduled to fly on Etihad from Abu Dhabi to the US next week, so this throws a real monkey wrench in those plans.
I’m traveling with a Yoga X1 Laptop/Tablet, a Mavic Drone, a GoPro, Bose QC35 headphones, and a Sony A6000 mirrorless camera. Apparently I’m supposed to check those under the plane and trust that those items won’t be damaged or pilfered along the way.
There are so many strange things about this that I don’t even know where to begin.
-Royal Jordanian first leaked the news prematurely with a Tweet that said that electronics other than cell phones would be banned on flights to and from the USA. They later deleted that tweet.
-The US runs a dedicated customs facility with TSA screening in Abu Dhabi. Why in the world are these rules being applied in Abu Dhabi, where the US controls the security process for US bound flights, and not in other countries?
Flights arrive from Abu Dhabi just as a regular domestic US flight, so why is this rule in place for Abu Dhabi? Abu Dhabi flights to the US have some of the toughest security checks in the world. Are the US agents in Abu Dhabi incapable of properly checking what is going onto a plane? Or is something more nefarious at play here…
-It’s worth noting that no US carrier flies to any of these cities. The US airlines have lobbied for years against competition from the Middle Eastern airlines, so this ban is pretty convenient for the US airlines. Those airlines have been eating the US airlines’ lunch. And dinner.
-Delta flies to Nigeria, so it’s convenient that that terrorist infested country didn’t make the list, while far safer countries like the UAE did.
Shh, don’t tell any potential terrorists about that loophole or the stopover loophole.
The Nigeria exclusion sure makes it sound like protectionism is a big factor here. There’s an open skies treaty that can’t easily be undone, but we can sure make it miserable to fly on those airlines.
-Now that this rule has been announced, what exactly will stop a terrorist from flying from the Middle East to the US via Europe in order to be able to carry-on an explosive device?
This is pure security theater. It reminds me of the period after 9/11 when buying a one-way ticket guaranteed that you would get selected for SSSS secondary screening. As if it would take a potential terrorist more than a day to figure out that they should book a return ticket…
And this stuff rarely goes away. We still can’t bring more than 3.4 ounces of water through security. Though you can have as many 3.4 ounce containers as you want. (Pro tip: You can freeze your liquids and bring as much of it as you want that way).
We’re just lucky that we can still wear underwear after the failed underwear bombing incident.
-What ever happened to it being dangerous to check lithium batteries under the plane? Or does the US want me to check my Mavic Drone but carry-on the spare batteries I have for it? Or are its large batteries also considered electronics?
-Is this all a ploy for the government to get their hands on electronics belonging to people on watch lists?
-The UK has banned electronics as well, but only from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia. Presumably this was done based on US intelligence findings.
Noticeably missing from their list is Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Dubai, the 3 mega-hubs of the big 3 Middle East airlines of Etihad, Qatar, and Emirates that the US airlines have lobbied so hard against.
Business travelers and families alike are likely to book away from these airlines if the ban sticks around, so this is a great way to deal with potential terror threat and throw the Middle East’s big 3 under the bus.
At any rate, there goes my plan to photograph the nuances and differences of Emirates’ shower class versus their rival’s Etihad’s shower class. They’re both obtainable with miles and are like flying in a hotel at 35K feet. Unfortunately I have 2 very dated smartphones with me and the pictures they take are close to those that a potato would take. Sigh. And I can forget about the plans to work and write a trip report on the way home. The truth is that I very likely would have cancelled the trip if I knew about this rule before I left home on Sunday.