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elbanditoroso's avatar

Can you explain the 'no electronics in the airplane cabin on flights from the middle east' policy to me?

Asked by elbanditoroso (28840points) March 21st, 2017

TSA announced that certain electronics – basically anything larger than a phone – can no longer be carried in the cabin of the plane,. It has to be carried in luggage beneath the plane.

I guess that the theory is that the electronic <thing> might explode.

That’s where I am confused. If it’s a timer or altimeter-based weapon, couldn’t it explode and cause just as much damage in the baggage compartment?

Or are they worried about humans triggering explosives?

Or is this another way to discourage muslims from coming to the US?

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7 Answers

jwalt's avatar

It appears to be more about discouraging muslims from traveling to the US. This rule only applies to foreign airlines flying from a particular list of countries. In some cases, the TSA is concerned about security procedures at certain airports, so they will implement special rules for flights originating at those airports. That does not appear to be the case here, since US airlines are not included.

Zaku's avatar

TSA is incompetent and a pork-barrel power play is my go-to explanation.

In this case, reportedly it comes from the Trump administration, so that reinforces my bias, given all the demonstrations of incompetence, malice, backwardness, and random distracting misbehavior that administration has spewed forth.

The only practical idea that strikes me is that it might prevent the scheme of a theoretical incompetent terrorist whose plan requires them to turn on a device themselves or use it in the cabin.

“The agency said the procedures would “remain in place until the threat changes” and did not rule out expanding them to other airports.” – This makes it seem like the TSA thinks it has info on a specific type of threat, that it supposedly fears applies only to certain airports until October 14. ... That may be their actual reasoning, given their demonstrated incompetence. Again, my bias only seems more and more validated the more details I read.

One theory I’m just inventing is that those specific airports are found to have particularly bad security which they don’t trust to be able to stop some specific known type of plot involving an electronic device that for some reason is larger than a phone. Announcing the countermeasure all over the world however just again brings me back to the incompetent security circus theory.

That’s where I am confused. If it’s a timer or altimeter-based weapon, couldn’t it explode and cause just as much damage in the baggage compartment?
A rational person might well reason so. On the other hand, there could be schemes where the device would want to be in the passenger compartment, which I’d just be making up but I can think of several with little effort.

Or are they worried about humans triggering explosives?
Possibly. They worried about my 90-something-year-old grandma’s shoes maybe being bombs trying to fly into a small town in rural America, and kids’ toy scissors, and nail clippers, and a bit of water, so ya, they could definitely be worried about that.

Or is this another way to discourage muslims from coming to the US?
That too, no doubt.

It could also just be another thing to do to have Trump and the TSA appear to be doing something about all that “terrorism” out there “we” are “at war” with.

BellaB's avatar

Looks like a couple of other countries are also implementing the same ban. Not sure how picking a few airlines/countries makes sense. It is way too easy to rearrange travel plans.

johnpowell's avatar

@BellaB :: And from my understanding you can still bring the stuff but it just has to be in luggage stored under the plane.

A bomb is a bomb, it just needs to be on the plane. Are they somehow better at detecting bombs in luggage?

My hunch is this is sort of like a temper tantrum since the courts blocked his two tries at a travel ban. With this they can just pull out one of the probably hundreds of threats about bombs on airplanes they get a day.

BellaB's avatar

There is some suggestion now that this all has to do with supporting American airlines. I’m curious how the UK is explaining riding along with the US.

gondwanalon's avatar

Terrorist like to bring down planes. They’ve tried hiding explosives in shoes, underwear, computer printer cartridges, soda can and more recently a lap-top computer was likely used.

On February 2, 2016 a Daallo Airlines plane made an emergency landing because of a bomb (that was likely hidden in a lap-top computer) exploded and ripped a hole in the fuselage large enough to such a passenger out.

johnpowell's avatar

Not really sure what your point is. Everybody knows about that stuff. They have just moved the stuff from the top of the plane to the bottom. If they wanted to get really serious they would ban this stuff and force all checked in luggage into bomb proof containers. But that isn’t done because it is stupid and would fuck the fucking shit out of fuel costs and the amount of passengers and so on.

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