The federal government is cracking down yet again on the use of personal electronics on certain international flights. The Department of Homeland Security is planning to announce on Thursday that laptops will be banned in the cabins of flights from Europe to the United States, according to Reuters and the Daily Beast.
DHS spokesman David Lapan said in a statement to VICE News that the idea of such a ban is “under consideration” but that “no decision has been made.” Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, Lapan told reporters that “it’s fair to say that [Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly] has said it is likely to be expanded.”
The move from DHS has been rumored for some time, and it follows up a similar decision from March to ban in-cabin usage of electronic devices larger than a smartphone on direct flights between the U.S. and the Middle East. The stated reason for the Middle East electronics ban was safety, though critics have batted around ulterior motives such as giving U.S. carriers an advantage on international routes.
Industry executives such as Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker have criticized the new U.S. policy, saying it doesn’t make anyone safer; to compensate, the company has been issuing loaner laptops to be used inflight.