Air passengers have shown they can grow accustomed to just about anything these days. But news that the Transportation Security Administration could ban carrying laptop computers aboard domestic flights sounds like it could take us to another level of inconvenience.
Veteran correspondent Alex DeMetrick reported for the CBS affiliate in Baltimore that the ban on bringing laptops aboard U.S.-bound flights from seven African and Middle Eastern countries “could spread to domestic flights,” and prompted a not-especially-comforting non-denial from the TSA.
“The Department of Homeland Security is currently considering the possible expansion of that laptop ban,” a TSA spokesperson named Lisa Farbstein told DeMetrick. “No decision has been made.”
The ban as it stands…
As my colleague Heather Wilde summarized recently, international business travelers have been in a state of flux since March, when news broke that the U.S. would prohibit passengers aboard incoming flights from certain foreign destinations from carrying electronics bigger than a cell phone.
More recently, the Department of Homeland Security mused that laptops could be banned on all international flights arriving in the U.S.
(“I might,” said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, when asked on Fox News Sunday this week whether he might ban the devices “on all international flights, both into and out of the U.S.”)
Now, just a few days later, a TSA spokesperson appears to be confirming the possibility that the ban could be extended to flights that never leave the country.
Can anything stop us from flying?
Flying is tough enough these days, and of course it’s important that we do everything we can to minimize terrorist threats.
The TSA trial balloon comes amid news that the current version of the laptop ban may have affected demand for flights from the Middle East to the U.S., actual terror attacks don’t seem to be doing anything to depress demand for air travel.
The head of British Airways’ parent company, for example, said this week that he was surprised that the airline hasn’t see any dip in business since the recent U.K. terror attacks.
“It would be terrible if people start just considering that this is routine or normal, but we haven’t seen an impact on bookings,” CEO Willia Walsh said, according to Bloomberg. “In the past we would expect it to have some impact, but we haven’t seen anything.”
Personally, I’m just glad I don’t have to travel for work anywhere as often as I once did.
What do you think? Are you willing to trade convenience for more security against terrorism–and would you support a ban on laptops on domestic flights? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.