• The dimensions of electronic devices included in the ban
  • The airlines that are affected by the ban and a handy graphic
  • Key FAQs, including the rules on devices bought from duty free
  • New security checks could affect all passengers

The ban could be dropped by the end of July 

Airlines have been told they can drop the ban if they prove that they are doing new security checks on passengers.

From this week, the Department for Transport will begin carrying out inspections on the security measures of airlines.

The new security checks, which will be funded by the airlines, are expected to involve explosive detection equipment and checks for the residue of explosive materials. This could cause lengthier queues in terminals.

It also means that some airlines could match the new criteria faster than others, so passengers could find that they’re allowed to take their laptop as cabin luggage with one airline, but not with another.

If airlines don’t comply with the new security checks, the ban will still be in place for their passengers. As soon as they pass the DfT checks, airlines will be allowed to lift the ban.

Which countries are included in the ban?

Air passengers flying into the UK from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey aren't allowed to carry certain electronic devices in the hand luggage on their flights. Instead, these devices will have to be stored in their hold luggage.

Which electronic devices are banned?

Any electronic device that’s larger than a ‘normal sized phone’, says the government's announcement, will have to go in the hold. That means devices that are bigger than 16cm (6.3 inches) long, 9.3cm (3.6 inches) wide and 1.5cm (0.6 inches) deep.

If your device exceeds any of these dimensions, the device is banned from hand luggage – so if, for example, your tablet is 15cm long by 10cm wide by 1cm deep, it’d still have to go into the hold.

Due to their size, many e-readers, keyboards, laptops, handheld consoles, portable chargers and larger mobile phones are also included in the ban.

An image showing what the new electronic device restrictions on flights are. Devices larger than 16cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm aren't allowed in hand luggage on flights to the UK from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey

Will my phone be okay?

Most smartphones are small enough to avoid the fine, including the iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Note 3, LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z2.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7, however, is banned from many flights, including British Airways flights, following its official recall.

If you’re not sure, you can check your phone’s dimensions online.

What about medical electronic devices?

Essential medical electronic devices are screened separately from the rest of your luggage before you go on a flight, so are exempt from the ban. Make sure you remember to take a letter from your doctor to show to security.

What if I’m on a connecting flight?

If your flight is connecting via these countries to a UK airport, then you’ll still have to store relevant electronic devices in the hold. 

What if I don’t have any hold luggage?

If you aren’t taking any hold luggage with you on your flight, but you are taking an electronic device that exceeds the dimensions above, you will probably have to buy hold luggage for it, or possibly even leave the device behind.

Some airlines are offering alternatives, so contact the airline that you’re flying with for more information. For example, you may be able to check in your hand luggage as well, containing your electronic devices, free of charge.

What if I forget to put my electronic device in my hold luggage?

Unfortunately, if you forget to put your electronic devices in your hold luggage before checking it in you won’t be allowed to take the device into the cabin with you. Contact the airline that you’re flying with for more information.

Are electronic devices bought from duty free all right?

No, electronic devices purchased from duty free are included in the ban.

Which airlines are affected by the ban?

There are six UK and eight overseas airlines that fly to the UK from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey.

The UK airlines are:

  • British Airways
  • Easyjet
  • Jet2.com
  • Monarch
  • Thomas Cook
  • Thomson

The overseas airlines are:

  • Turkish Airlines
  • Pegasus Airways
  • AtlasGlobal Airlines
  • Middle East Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Tunisair
  • Saudia

Why have these laws been put in place?

Recent security concerns around flights from North Africa and the Middle East are believed to be the cause of this law change. However, the government’s statement gives little information away: ‘it is long-standing government policy not to comment on intelligence matters.’

How will this affect my insurance?

Before the law change, many travel insurance policies didn’t cover items that were placed in hold. However, LV= baggage cover will be extended if the customer has to put items into the hold.

Are there any other laws around electronic devices that I should know?

The government advises that you fully charge all devices before flying, because if one of them doesn’t switch on when requested by a member of airport or airline staff, they can refuse to let you take it on the flight.

Any devices intended for your checked baggage need to be switched off before they are checked in.

What other steps can I take to make sure I don’t get held up by the new laws?

‘Although the UK Government requirements only apply to flights FROM these countries, you may wish to consider how you pack your hand baggage and checked baggage on your flight from the UK so that you can comply on your return journey to London,’ British Airways recommended in a press release.

If you are flying to the UK from one of the six countries above, allow extra time for check-in, as you may be asked extra security questions and subject to additional searches. You may also be called to the boarding gate earlier.