Emirates, Etihad, Qatar and Turkish Airlines have added additional screening and passengers are now able to bring laptops and other large devices onboard. While the airlines haven’t revealed specifics about the changes to security screening, it is a good idea for travelers to allow a bit of extra time at check-in for flights to the United States from Dubai, Istanbul and Abu Dhabi airports.
The Department of Homeland Security hasn’t ruled out the possibility that the ban on in-cabin large electronics may be extended to all flights in and out of the United States but this recent lifting of the ban in place of additional screening is encouraging. The current ban on laptops and tablets in the cabin has been in effect since March for all flights (excluding Etihad, Emirates, Qatar and Turkish Airlines) from 10 airports, mainly in the Middle East and Africa. An expanded electronics ban would be especially problematic for business travelers, so we’ve gathered together tips and resources to help you navigate potential changes.
Protecting your laptop in checked baggage
As business travelers, placing a laptop in a checked bag is a scary prospect given the possibility of damage or theft. Here are a few points to consider to protect your professional data:
- Ensure you have a backup of any necessary data for your trip on an external device like a thumb drive and carry it with you.
- Check to make sure you have a full backup for your laptop’s data on your company’s backup system or on an external hard drive.
- Remove all unnecessary data from your laptop before traveling.
- Perform a virus scan prior to and immediately after your business trip.
- Check with your company’s IT team to see if they have specific guidance for you. Some employers may encourage you to encrypt your device, ship it to your destination or offer you a wiped device to travel with.
Another concern with checking a laptop is preventing physical damage. Here are some packing tips to keep your device snug and secure in transit:
- Use a laptop case or sleeve.
- Wrap your device in bubble wrap.
- Place your device in the center of your suitcase surrounded by clothing.
- Avoid placing any hard objects near your device, such as AC adapters.
We’ll continue to keep you updated as new information emerges.