US likely to expand airline laptop ban to Europe

Airlines brace for expansion of US laptop ban to European flights

Airlines brace for expansion of US laptop ban to European flights

Expanding the ban to flights from Europe would affect U.S. airlines, who are now not impacted as they do not operate to the 10 airports. Passengers on those flights are now required to carry anything bigger than a smartphone in checked baggage. Officials say the danger still exists if terrorists travel through Europe to get around the current electronic ban on direct flights from the eight nations.

The meeting, which was set to include officials from Delta Air Lines (DAL), American Airlines (AAL) and United Airlines (UAL), took place Thursday, and airline representatives have also aired their worries about the restrictions to Congress, Bloomberg reported.

Two airline officials who were briefed on the discussions said Homeland Security gave no timetable for an announcement, but they were resigned to its inevitability.

USA airlines have been pushing Homeland Security to find less disruptive alternatives, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

"Our interest is to stay informed so that we have a possibility to share the information with our member states", European Commission spokesperson Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said. "Not only that, but our research shows that travel agency clients fly more than the general public - 4.7 trips per year vs. 3.6 trips for leisure travel and 5.8 trips per year vs. 4.1 trips per year for business travel".

Meanwhile, the European Union has demanded urgent talks with the United States over a possible extension of the laptop ban, saying any threats faced are common.

Alarm bells are already ringing in Europe, however.

A man uses his laptop to test a new high speed inflight Internet service named Fli-Fi while on a special JetBlue media flight out of John F. Kennedy International Airport in NY in this December 11, 2013 file picture. "This included discussing threats to aviation".

The move would extend a March ban put into place by the USA on direct flights into the countries from airports in 10 Middle Eastern nations.

But that argument hasn't won over the industry.

US airlines say they still hope to have a say in how the policy is put into effect at airports to minimize inconvenience to passengers. It said that carrying a large number of lithium batteries in the cargo compartment increases the risk of an accidental fire.

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