The US electronics ban is almost over, as we’re down to just a few airlines that are still subjected to it. Over the past week or so we’ve seen five airlines have the electronics ban lifted for flights from their respective hubs to the US:
- The electronics ban was lifted for Etihad flights out of Abu Dhabi as of July 2, 2017
- The electronics ban was lifted for Emirates flights out of Dubai as of July 5, 2017
- The electronics ban was lifted for Turkish flights out of Istanbul as of July 5, 2017
- The electronics ban was lifted for Qatar flights out of Doha as of July 5, 2017
- The electronics ban was lifted for Royal Jordanian flights out of Amman as of July 9, 2017
Yesterday Kuwait Airways became the sixth airline to announce that they’re no longer subjected to the US electronics ban, and that leaves me confused. Kuwait Airways announced on Twitter that “now our passengers flying from Kuwait International Airport to JFK in NY will be able to use all their electronic devices.”
— Kuwait Airways (@KuwaitAirways) July 9, 2017
This confuses me, since I was under the impression that Kuwait Airways was never subjected to the US electronics ban. Yes, nonstop flights from Kuwait City to the US would be subjected to the electronics ban, but Kuwait Airways doesn’t operate such flights. Instead their Kuwait to New York City flight operates via Shannon. While Kuwait Airways doesn’t use the US Pre-Clearance facility in Shannon, passengers re-clear security there.
Flights with intermediate stops haven’t been subjected to the electronics ban, just as passengers flying Emirates from Dubai to Milan to New York, or Dubai to Athens to Newark, weren’t subjected to the ban. Yet the Kuwait Airways website references that they were subjected to the ban, and says that flights “flying onwards from Kuwait International Airport to the United States” are subjected to these restrictions:
In line with new regulations introduced by US Homeland Security- TSA, Kuwait Airways received official notification that all flights originating or flying onwards from Kuwait International Airport to the United States will have restrictions placed on the transportation of electronic devices larger than a mobile or smart phone.
So was Kuwait Airways secretly subjected to the ban and I didn’t know about it, or is the airline confused?
For anyone interested, I took the flight from Kuwait to Shannon to New York in Kuwait Airways’ new 777-300ER business class in March. While Kuwait Airways doesn’t pick up any passengers in Shannon, it’s my understanding that they had that stop for security reasons, because nonstop flights from Kuwait to the US didn’t used to be allowed (just as Pakistan’s flight to New York stops in Manchester).
But then they were cleared to operate nonstop flights and were going to do so, but changed their mind last minute, and maintained the tech stop. I wasn’t sure if this was due to the electronics ban, because the US changed their mind, or what.
Regardless, does anyone know what’s going on here? Was Kuwait Airways’ Shannon flight ever subjected to the electronics ban, or is the airline confused, and basically saying “hey, in case we do ever fly nonstop to New York, you’ll be able to take your electronics?”