"" Writer's Wanderings: Electronics Ban On Airplanes

Monday, May 15, 2017

Electronics Ban On Airplanes

Just when you thought security clearance couldn't get any more difficult along comes another change. A short time ago all electronic devices larger than a cell phone were banned from flights to the USA from a list of Middle East countries. Supposedly there was a concern that a bomb could be put in the device that was difficult to screen in the usual carry on screening.  Apparently the screening of checked bags is more thorough or more able to detect a device that has been tampered with.

You can stow your devices in your checked luggage although I have read that some airlines are concerned that all those lithium batteries could be dangerous down in the hold. That could be why the proposed ban on electronic devices on flights to the USA from Europe is still awaiting approval.

The last place I want my Surface tablet, my camera and my e-reader to be when I travel is in checked baggage. Not only would I be concerned about damage, since anyone who has watched the loading and unloading knows how those bags are tossed, but I'd also be concerned about possibility of theft either in the transport or in the baggage claim. So what's a wandering writer to do?

I searched for information and suggestions online and found a few. None were really acceptable. Clean the memory of your computer and store it in the cloud then download what you need. Sounds feasible as long as your computer arrives with you. If not, you will have to wait until the new one is purchased. Still, your valuable information will not be lost.

Another suggestion was to purchase some sort of container that would show you if someone tried to access your computer while in transit. It is said that those who are malicious could plug in a USB drive and load a program that would allow access to your computer later from a remote location. Now how they would have time to do that while it is going through security and being loaded on a place is questionable but it is feasible I guess.

I can live with not using my Surface while I fly. Living without my e-reader is a little harder but I can read on my phone if necessary. The question is how will the airlines respond who have restructured their entertainment to be accessed by WiFi on board through a passenger's device?

It all seems to be getting quite complicated. But backing up to the original reason for banning the devices--the fact that the screening of carry ons is not as effective as checked bags doesn't make sense. Let's get the screening fixed.

We've lived with having to take our shoes off, learned math with the 311 bag and even put up with imaging devices to be sure we didn't have something explosive (other than normal physical functions) in our underwear. What next? Guess I'll be dusting off my old Royal and oiling the keys.

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