27 MARCH 2017
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Confusion reigned among airlines and passengers at the weekend as the UK and US ban on large electronic devices on certain flights came into force, with business travellers at the forefront of an industry backlash over the new rules.
The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) said the ban “made no sense” and meant the cost of corporate travel programmes could increase. Security consultant David Holley of HP Risk Management said the ban was “haphazard”.
Holley said the new rules could mean widely different levels of security at certain airlines, with Gulf carriers Qatar, Emirates and Etihad plus Turkish Airlines worst hit as they rely on transfer passengers.
These often needed access to laptops and similar devices during stopovers so they could work, which raised the possibility of such travellers now opting to travel via European hubs.
Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) executive director and COO Michael McCormick said the group “believed strongly” in the security of the skies and “we encourage DHS (the US Department of Homeland Security) to continue to adopt trusted-traveller programmes and expand pre-clearance”.
The US-based Business Travel Coalition (BTC) labelled the ban “intolerable” for business travellers and said it raised questions concerning risk of losing sensitive information, damage to expensive equipment and loss of productivity.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Simon Grigor, Harrow
Agree with every word, Michael. Plus, we struggle to eat our airline meals with plastic cutlery that can hardly cut through the food, while being able to buy bottles of booze, which could be emptied and smashed to form a nice weapon.
Most of the airport security to which we are subjected is farcical. "Toothpaste in a plastic seethrough resealable packet, Sir? Thank you that's fine," meanwhile airside there are any number of employees whose screening is cursory and suspect, and that is where the danger resides. If security is going to be carried out, it needs to be done consistently and rigorously, with all airports applying the same standards. Racial profiling, politically incorrect (oh dear!) needs to be done. What is the point of stopping a granny because her contact lens fluid is in a container of more than 100 ml when a couple of hijab wearing women walk through? I am not an admirer of Israel for many reasons, but one thing they do get right is security. It's intrusive and obnoxious, I am told, but effective. They don't care what the rest of the world thinks about them.