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By Dorie Cox
New restrictions on airplane travel to the United States and United Kingdom from several countries in the Middle East may impact yacht crew working on vessels in the area.
Laptops, tablets and other portable electronic devices larger than a cell phone can no longer be carried onboard the aircraft on flights to the United States from eight Middle Eastern countries that began Tuesday. The electronics must be stowed in checked baggage.
U.S. administration officials said the rules are based on the “current threat picture”, according to media sources.
The new rules affect U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
The United Kingdom enacted similar restrictions for UK-bound travelers on flights from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey.
“It will affect me drastically as my laptop contains my entire business,” said Capt. Michael J. Dailey, who runs rotation and relief on yachts in the affected regions. He conducts much of his work and correspondence waiting in airports and while on flights. “That is my main means of communication while traveling.”
And that’s important because a trip back to the United States to handle such business can consume an entire day and sometimes several days.
To stow and check valuable electronics securely means they should be packed in hard-sided luggage, Capt. Dailey said. That means yacht crew will arrive with either an additional checked bag or a new hard piece of luggage.
“Hard luggage does not stow well in the confined spaces aboard any yacht, even the big ones,” he said.
Tim Davey, president of ISSGMT Global Marine Travel in Ft. Lauderdale, has fielded many phone calls from yacht crew who work in the affected countries. He cautioned that the restrictions could change at any time.
“It’s a fluid situation,” he said. “There will be more changes, and other countries may follow suit.”
His advice: Check directly with the airline to be 100 percent sure of rules concerning that flight.
U.S. travel-affected airports are Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), Cairo International Airport (CAI), Ataturk International Airport (IST), King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED), King Khalid International Airport (RUH), Kuwait International Airport (KWI), Mohammed V International Airport (CMN), Hamad International Airport (DOH), Dubai International Airport (DXB), and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).
The airlines flying to the U.S. that are affected include Egypt Air, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
The UK list omits airports such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha. Airlines flying into the UK that are affected include British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook, Thomson, Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Egypt Air, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air and Saudia.
As travelers get used to the restrictions, ISSGMT’s Davey said there is one more positive change.
“I anticipate that paperback books and magazine sales will go up.”
Click here for more information on both U.S. and UK restrictions.
Click for information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton.