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New rule came down today via TSA email marked “confidential.”
US authorities will no longer allow travelers from 13 African and Middle Eastern countries to bring computer and laptops into airplane cabins anymore, two news agencies have reported.
The new rules were laid out in an e-mail sent to airlines today by the US Transportation Safety Administration. This is according to The Guardian, which was first to report on the matter. Cell phones will still be allowed, but anything larger—including laptops, tablets, and cameras—must be put in checked baggage. CNN, citing two unnamed "administration officials," confirmed the report.
It isn't clear which airlines received the new directive, but The Guardian reports that at least Royal Jordanian and Saudia Airlines are among the airlines affected. The affected airlines have 96 hours to comply.
The TSA referred press inquiries to the Department of Homeland Security. Via e-mail, a DHS spokesperson told Ars, "We have no comment on potential security precautions but will provide an update when appropriate."
Royal Jordanian published a statement on the matter on its official Twitter account, but then deleted the tweet a short while later.
The statement said that "following instructions from the concerned US departments," the airline would be banning any electronic device in flight cabins except for "cellular telephones and medical devices."
"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," reads the announcement, which was saved by both news outlets before it was deleted. "Thank you for your understanding. We wish you pleasant flights on board RJ."
Royal Jordanian has since confirmed that the new rules will apply to Canadian customers flying from Montreal to Amman, as well. In a response to upset customers expressing themselves on Twitter, Royal Jordanian has since posted that "further updates will be announced soon."
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