European Laptop Ban Could Cost Travelers $1.1 Billion

Banning laptops from the cabin of flights from Europe is bound to have immense consequences.

Now we have a report that suggests remarkable monetary repercussions.

CNN Money cites word out of the International Air Transport Association that any policy banning laptop use inside the cabin of airplanes originating from Europe would cost in upwards of $1.1 billion.

Alexandre de Juniac, head of the IATA, explains: “We think that it [ a laptop ban] could impose an additional cost of more than $1 billion on passengers. The Atlantic [route] is a big source of revenues and profits both for U.S. and European carriers. The impact could be significant.”

Laptops and other devices bigger than a smartphone were initially banned from 10 airports in the Middle East as well as North Africa.

The policy has slowly spread: The United Kingdom quickly followed suit with a ban of its own, prohibiting larger devices on inbound flights from 14 airlines serving the Middle East and various African countries. The White House has since considered widening the scope of the ban to not only include flights originating from the United Kingdom but the entirety of Europe.

Of course, an extreme measure is bound to have immense consequences to the industry.

The Daily Beast recently pointed to a report from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that explained there were 33 fire emergencies last year caused by electronic devices.

Now, extrapolate what would happen when all the larger devices were taken out of the cabin and thrown in the hold with the rest of the luggage. The possibility of a disaster is very real in that regard.

The other apparent repercussion is the money lost in the form of squandered productivity and potential flight delays. As the CNN Money report reminds, there are a significant amount of business folk who fly across the pond and work the entire way.

It would be easier and more beneficial, one would presume, to forego that business meeting in Paris or conference in London and instead correspond by video conference.

That’s exactly the worry echoed in the CNN Money report. As it proclaims, European travel is ridiculously lucrative for the airline industry: “The route between Europe and the U.S. is the busiest international corridor in the world. More than 350 flights depart Europe for the U.S. each day, according to IATA.”

U.S. Travel Association, according to CNN Money, states a lot of European travelers spend somewhere between $3,000 to $4,000 when they come to the states.

When it comes to lasting effect, the report also notes three of the four carriers that account for 60 percent of the flights from Europe are American: Delta, United and American. The other is British Airways.

The modern traveler has apparently taken his and her ability to hop on a tablet or laptop for the journey to another continent for granted. A long flight is a great time to sleep to be sure, but so many use it for important matters that they account for as part of their respective business.

Losing out on that opportunity is, well, huge.

The flip side of all of this is whether a laptop ban serves a greater purpose.

The White House is in utter turmoil at the moment over allegations Donald Trump divulged highly classified information to Russian officials. At the heart of that controversy, however, is intelligence that ISIS has discovered methods to turn laptops and like gadgets into explosive devices.

CNN explains: “US intelligence suggested that terrorists had obtained sophisticated airport security equipment that allowed them to test how to effectively conceal explosives in electronic devices.” 

Officials from both sides of the pond believe the threat is real enough that remarkable measures are being taken to ensure passenger safety.

Whether it is warranted is left to others to debate. What we do know is any ban prohibiting laptops from the cabin on European flights would have enormous ramifications around the world.

-Originally in Travl Pulse News May 18, 2017 by Gab Zaldivar

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