WTF: Royal Jordanian Bans Electronic Devices From Flights

Filed Under: Royal Jordanian, Security/TSA

Update, 6AM Tuesday — Further details have been announced by DHS, please read this post for more information.

Okay, I can’t actually make any sense of this. However, Royal Jordanian has just announced that they’re banning electronic devices in their aircraft cabins as of tomorrow, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. You can continue to take “cellular phones and medical devices needed during the flight,” but everything else, including laptops, tablets, cameras, etc., have to be checked to your final destination.


Here’s the announcement:

Following instructions from the concerned US departments, we kindly inform our dearest passengers departing to and arriving from the United States that carrying any electronic or electrical device on board the flight cabins is strictly prohibited.

Cellular phones and medical devices needed during the flight are excluded from the ban.

Prohibited devices, including for instance laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games … etc, can be carried in the checked baggage only.

This announcement is effective starting with March 21, 2017, and the instructions will be applied on the New York, Chicago, Detroit and Montreal flights, the last two destinations served by a combined flight.

Thank you for your understanding. We wish you pleasant flights on board RJ.

What on earth?!? Is this some gross misinterpretation of something, or are they going off specific intelligence? If the latter, I’m not sure how it’s safer for there to be electronic devices in the cargo hold than in the cabin. If we’re talking about explosives, a majority of explosives that have gone off on planes in the past were in the cargo hold and not in the cabin.

There are so many problems with this:

  • How are they going to enforce this rule?
  • Checking electronic devices is a horrible idea, as these items have higher odds of being stolen
  • From a safety perspective, the chances of a battery fire or something in the cargo hold seems much higher than in the cabin, where it can at least be dealt with

I know April Fools’ is next week, but…

  1. “Following instructions from the concerned US departments”???? I never knew the travel ban included electronics

  2. Likely policy based on US intelligence. Similar action happened in Cairo in the wake of the Russian airline crash.

  3. Even in the US you’re not allowed to check lithium ion batteries. Do I take the battery out of my laptop and bring it on board (assuming your laptop even allows that).

  4. @Jack That applies internationally as well. My father’s checked bag was delayed and arrived on a separate flight because his left his battery pack in there and the airport had to remove it, after he checked it.

    This is really ridiculous and I’m curious to see which US departments had these concerns…….

  5. This is hilarious. Are they that naïve that they think people will follow this? What exactly will they do when the plane takes off and people pull a tablet or camera out of their hand luggage? What makes mobile phone so safe that they are exempt.
    You have to wonder how a company this naïve have managed to operate a successful airline.

  6. They seem to be signaling that US intelligence thinks there are real risks here. That’s either nuts or scary. Either way, it would seriously impact my desire to fly them.

  7. @Jay, and if you have already booked an non-refundable ticket?

    Interesting I don’t see a mention of this on their website. I guess you just get to be surprised when you show up for your flight.

  8. I don’t doubt RJ got the idea from some US agency somewhere. The question is, where? I’m not hearing anything from the usual sources (multiple airline + gov’t friends).

    Given the list, the concern seems to be about large batteries more than anything. This seems very counter-intuitive compared to the US DOT’s rules on carrying batteries, which insists the larger ones be carried on board so they can be dealt with by the flight crew in case one of them decides to act up.

  9. According to a reliable US source, this will happen on all Middle East airlines flights that do NOT go through a US pre-clearance facility. It will be announced tomorrow – looks like Royal Jordanian announced before they were supposed to. Not a joke.

  10. Some flights going to the US already do a second baggage check at the gate — they go through your backpack, camera bag, etc. so I’m sure that’s how they’ll enforce this policy.

  11. From what I’ve heard – All airlines flying out of the Middle East to the US will have to comply with this policy. Airports with a US pre-clearance facility (Abu Dhabi) will be exempt.

  12. Quick question: does “all airlines flying out of the Middle East” include Israel and Turkey?

  13. And we thought the TSA restrictions were crazy! Can’t imagine, given a choice, why anyone would fly an airline with this rule.

  14. @Malc
    Malc says:
    March 20, 2017 at 2:08 pm
    @ eponymous coward How do you remove a better?

    Evidently by Electoral College vote.

  15. Seth (The Wandering Aramean) has stated he has heard from a Saudia executive who confirms this will apply to 13 Middle East countries with the exception of Abu Dhabi because of the pre-clearance facility there starting 3/21.

  16. Ben,
    Has anyone explored the idea that this is designed to punish certain airlines (e.g. Emirates and Qatar) for having great service at reasonable prices (we have deals out of Montreal to Australia and New Zealand for $100’s less than on Qantas for example). I other words is this a business issue to help North American and European airlines to recoup lost market share especially on North Atlantic routes???

  17. This is the “big hit” that the bad service US legacy airlines have been so keen to hurt the ME3 with. Only a corrupt POTUS with only 37% approval rating would sign this off.

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