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"A Wider Laptop Ban And Heightened Airport Security Are On The Way"

Monday, May 29, 2017

Breaking News: A Wider Laptop Ban And Heightened Airport Security Are On The Way
By Doug Gollan

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Fox News Sunday, "I might" when 
asked about extending the ban barring certain electronics from the cabin to all 
flights into and out of the United States following it up with strong comments. 
"It's the thing the terrorists are obsessed with, particularly if it's a U.S. 
carrier...(The threat is) real," Kelly told host Chris Wallace.

He said, "We're still following the intelligence," adding, "We're going to 
raise the bar for aviation security much higher than it is now. It's a real 
sophisticated threat." The remarks by Kelly represented a reversal from last 
Wednesday when it appeared the in-cabin ban for larger electronic devices 
currently in place from select Middle East countries would not be expanded.

Kelly also said travelers overstuffing hand luggage to avoid airline fees for 
checking baggage is hampering the TSA's ability to see what is in the bags. He 
said TSA is currently testing new "tactics and procedures to work it out with 
the least inconvenience to the traveler." Last week the TSA started testing new 
procedures at 10 airports with travelers having to unpack more of their 
carry-on bags into separate containers beyond laptops and liquids. According to 
reports, a new requirement is that you have to remove magazines, newspapers, 
books and files as well as smaller electronic devices.

Stacy Small, founder of Elite Travel International puts it this way. "I think 
people are getting used to the idea of having to follow whatever rules are put 
in place, like when the shoe bomber created a big scare, and it resulted in 
everyone needing to remove shoes," she said.

At the same time, she acknowledged an extended laptop ban would be different. 
"It's a huge inconvenience to be told you have to check your laptop, but I 
don't see that it will stop people from traveling. It may result in more people 
examining their private jet options," she noted. Bookings to Europe for the 
summer are well ahead of last year with Americans attracted by the stronger 
dollar, she said.

For the corporate sector, Small added, "It's hard to put a price on this 
especially for business travelers who probably need the flight time to be 

"Having TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, sitting first class and having elite status 
really mean nothing anymore," says Jaclyn Sienna India, owner of Sienna 
Charles, a luxury travel agency, who says many of her clients won't be impacted 
as they fly by private jet. She added, "There are so many things to slow you 
down and create inefficiency at the airport."

Michael Holtz, CEO of SmartFlyer said that since the ban from the Middle East 
he is seeing more customers leaving their laptops at home. "You can do 
everything on your smartphone now, and smartphones aren't impacted," he noted. 
In terms of increased TSA security procedures, he noted it's an additional 
reason to work with "a good travel agent." He said, "Everyday we deal with 
travelers and get feedback on their experiences, so a good travel agent is able 
to provide recommendations based on the experiences of other clients."
Anne Scully, president of McCabe World Travel said travelers can help 
themselves by enrolling in Clear and not just throwing things into their 
carry-on luggage. "We need to accept the challenges we now face and learn to be 
more patient and sensitive to others as we take our journeys. There is an art 
to smart packing and we all need to learn to be better at it," she said.
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