Yesterday reports started circulating online that the Trump administration is considering banning all electronics except cellphones under 16 cm on all flights from Europe. That means laptops, iPads, tablets, large phablet phones, game consoles, cameras and camera equipment would have to be checked in a bag.
For the once-a-decade vacationer this may not be a terrible inconvenience. Of course you’ll be sad if your camera is damaged and your laptop stolen, but you may even think the policy is for your safety or the greater good. But if there’s an exploding iPad somewhere, is it better in the cargo hold? Isn’t enhanced screening always always a preferable solution? I’m not a safety expert, but common sense tells me I’d rather stop the explosive ever getting on to the airplane rather than place it in the luggage compartment.
For those of us who travel frequently and often for business, the electronics ban is paralyzing. I have secure, trademarked and proprietary information on my laptop. I also have expensive equipment that I worked long hours to earn and I have no desire to hand it over to the nearest baggage theft statistic. Lost luggage means lost electronics. Poorly handled bags will cause damage to your valuable items, and in-luggage theft by baggage handlers is a well-known problem all around the globe. I personally can’t afford to replace my laptop once or twice yearly.
And then there’s productivity. I work on long flights, and that time without interruptions and phone calls is golden for making use of business travel. For families, I imagine that iPad or game console is a lifesaver on a 10-hour flight.
In the days and months right after 9/11 anyone traveling with a laptop could be asked to power up in front of a security screener. I did it on many trips and it was an unusual new process, but not one that caused anyone grief and the lines didn’t move any more slowly than they normally do. Yes, more people travel with electronics these days but I’d certainly be willing to volunteer five or fifteen or thirty-two extra minutes to extra screening that requires me to power up my laptop. You already have to remove laptops and iPads when going through most security screens anyway.
IMO the ban is a legitimately awful idea and I hope it doesn’t happen. I wonder what the impact would be to the travel & tourism industry as a whole?
Today: It’s my lunch break, and I’m on day three of this quinoa and three bean meal for lunch. It’s healthy and I like it but where oh where is my hot sauce. Also, we had our review meeting on That One Project and I am happy to say only two more design reviews left and then we are d.o.n.e. done!