Two months ago an electronics ban was put in place for flights from the Middle East to the US. Since then we’ve heard an endless amount of speculation about this ban being extended to flights from Europe to the US, and possibly even to flights departing the US. The story has changed by the day.
I don’t think that’s a function of the sources lying, but rather I suspect it reflects the fact that the government has been going back and forth on this. I also suspect that the DHS counterparts in Europe have played quite a role in trying to talk the US out of this.
Of course I’d hate to see this implemented, though it’s almost rather that I’d just like to know what’s going to happen one way or another, so I can plan around it. It would greatly impact how I travel, so I hate making future travel plans without knowing what the situation is.
While I suspect this is still very much subject to change, Politico is reporting that US Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly had a conference call today with the European Home Affairs Commissioner and Transport Commissioner regarding an expanded electronics ban, and that they’ve agreed not to institute one for now. According to the story:
“No ban,” a Commission official said. “Both sides have agreed to intensify technical talks and try to find a common solution.”
The U.S. side took into account European concerns about the safety implications of storing devices with lithium batteries in aircraft cargo holds, a source with knowledge of the conversation said.
The decision not to impose the ban could change based on future intelligence, another source said.
While this is subject to change and ultimately refers to unnamed sources, this does seem credible, as it’s at least based on the conversation that John Kelly allegedly had with his counterparts (which is more credible than past references, which have referred to unnamed sources citing unnamed decision makers).
Here’s to hoping the US maintains this position for more than a couple of days…
(Tip of the hat to Brad B)