How the electronics ban on flights affects SA travellers

23 March 2017

On Tuesday 21 March 2017 the USA and UK issued a ban on any electronic devices larger than 16cm x 9.3cm from being carried as hand luggage in the airline cabin when travelling from certain destinations.

This means if you have a smartphone, laptop, iPad/tablet, kindle or any other electronic device (like electronic game devices, scanners or printers and maybe even your camera) that are bigger than 16cm x 9.3cm you will have to put it in your check-in luggage if you are travelling to or from the following destinations:

• Any direct flight from the following ten cities to any port in the USA:

  • Dubai, UAE 
  • Abu Dhabi, UAE 
  • Cairo, Egypt 
  • Istanbul, Turkey 
  • Doha, Qatar 
  • Amman, Jordan 
  • Kuwait City, Kuwait 
  • Casablanca, Morocco 
  • Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 


Any direct flight from the following six countries to any port in UK:

  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey

The US ban takes effect from 25 March 2017. The UK haven’t released their effective date as yet, but be warned that airlines may be implementing this.

Remember, if you are travelling from South Africa via any of these countries to a USA or UK destination, this law affects you. If you’re checking your luggage straight through, make sure your disallowed items are in your check-in luggage from the on-set. And if you are checking luggage at the above ports, put the items into your check-in luggage.

We know this raises a few concerns, so here are some FAQ’s to help: 

Will my electronics be safe in the hold of the aircraft?

Customers are advised to pack their electronics securely and separately in their check-in luggage and ensure that they are in secure cases or protected from movement or knocks. We suggest you discuss this and the general security of your items with your carrier or refer to the airline’s website.

I need to work on the flight and require my laptop or iPad. What are my options?

The only option will be to take paperwork on board or change your route/carrier.  Normal change and cancellation fees will apply but please speak to your dedicated travel expert regarding the options.

Could my valuables be stolen, tampered with or damaged?

Take preventative measures to protect your valuables, such as locking and wrapping your bag and ask the airline for a “fragile” sticker to prevent them being too rough with it. Remember to take out insurance on your items when travelling.

What do I do if I need entertainment for children and those with special needs?

Discuss this with your travel expert and airline. The carrier should be able to provide detailed information about game and entertainment options on board their flights.

May I have lithium batteries in check-in luggage?

For some time now we have been advised that lithium batteries should not be transported in the hold of an aircraft. Please refer to the airline(s) about the safe carriage of lithium batteries or contact your Travel Manager.