Biz Travel Journalist Calls Electronics Ban “Crock Of BS”

Open Jaw

What does prominent U.S. business travel journalist Joe Brancatelli think about the electronics ban imposed by the U.S. yesterday and quickly followed by the UK? In two words: not much.

Joe Brancatelli, former executive editor of Frequent Flyer magazine, syndicated columnist and the author of a popular blog at described the ban as “such a crock of political BS and arrogant sophistry that it needs to be read in full to be believed.”

After describing the key elements of the ban, Brancatelli focused on some “less obvious truths.” Among them:

“Homeland Security refused to point to any imminent threat to the flights from these airports on these airlines.”

“If there were (so to speak) a clear and present danger, the ban would have been implemented immediately. (Airlines and airports were given 96 hours to comply.) That's what happened with the "water ban"; when the British briefly banned all carry-ons; and even when the United States imposed harsher electronic restrictions in 2014.”

“The list of selected airports guarantees that only Arab or Muslim carriers are targeted. No airport where U.S. carriers operate is included.”

“The inclusion of Abu Dhabi is especially noteworthy. It has a U.S. Customs pre-clearance operation and one would assume security in Abu Dhabi is especially tight given the U.S. presence and direct involvement of passenger clearance.”

“The order rather obviously favors U.S. carriers and its (mostly) European allies since you now face a choice: Fly nonstop from those cities and be required to check costly electronics or fly European and U.S. carriers on connecting flights and be allowed to keep your electronics is your carry-on bags.”

“Whenever governments force more electronics into checked bags, theft skyrockets. It's one of the reasons British authorities abandoned its brief attempt a decade ago to eliminate carry-ons.”

Brancatelli sums up his feelings this way: “It's insane, it's stupid, it does not improve security in any meaningful way and, of course, reinforces the meme that the Administration is actively trying to impose religious/ethnic bans on travel despite recent protestations to the contrary.”

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