Laptops will no longer be allowed in airplane cabins on flights originating from Europe going to the United States due to terrorism fears, the Department of Homeland Security is expected to announce on Thursday. The Daily Beast was the first to report on this new policy change. In March, laptops were banned from the cabins of U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. After this new policy is officially announced, laptops will only be permitted as checked baggage. It is unclear if this ban will also apply to tablets, like Kindles or iPads.
A statement from the Department of Homeland Security to The Daily Beast said that there has not been a final decision on the ban, but that "changes will be made" if they are necessitated to ensure passenger safety.
The initial ban came after documents were discovered that suggested that Al Qaeda had figured out how to put an explosive in a lithium-ion battery similar to the one in a laptop. The explosive was powerful enough to bring down an airplane. Further, there have been a handful of incidents where a laptop battery caught fire in an airplane cabin.
However, there are also considerable concerns with placing these batteries in a cargo hold. Previous tests have shown that the airplane's sprinkler system was unable to extinguish a fire caused by a lithium battery.
Safe travels, everyone.