The US government imposed a laptop ban in airplane cabins back in March covering 10 airports and impacting around 350 flights every week. There's been hints the ban may expand for a couple of months, and now the head of Homeland Security confirmed as much. But it may end up being domestic as well as international flights included in the ban.
According to Reuters, Homeland Security is currently reviewing the ban and considering expanding it to cover direct flights from airports spread across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, told the House of Representatives that, "We are looking right now at an additional 71 airports." He also said they are trying to "mitigate the threat" without expanding the ban, which likely translates to guaranteed increased security at the airports under review.
If the ban was expanded, it's estimated that 400 flights a day would be affected. However, this is just international flights. As far as the TSA are concerned, domestic flights are also under consideration.
According to CBS Baltimore, the recent terrorist attacks in Great Britain, coupled with the US summer travel season beginning, means even more thorough security screening and more passengers to deal with. And with that in mind, the TSA is reviewing the situation with regards to a laptop ban and not ruling out a domestic flight cabin ban.
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Lisa Farbstein, a TSA Public Affairs spokesperson, told CBS Baltimore a decision has yet to be made, "The Department of Homeland Security is currently considering the possible expansion of that laptop ban … No decision has been made … It's a determined enemy. They're targeting transportation hubs, and so what we want to do is make sure you get to your destination safely, and go home safely."
If the ban does get extended, either to more international airports or domestic flights, it's sure to cause anger and frustration, but more importantly even longer wait times to board flights. The TSA urges travelers to allow more time if traveling between now and Labor Day to get through the security screening. For domestic flights that means arriving two hours before a flight. For international flights they recommend three hours.
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