For security reasons, U.S. authorities secretly asked airlines from 13 countries with flights to and from the U.S. not to allow their passengers to carry electronic or electrical devices bigger than a cellphone inside airplanes.
The new rule would stop passengers from bringing their laptops, iPads, Kindle, other tablets, cameras that are bigger than mobile phones inside airplanes traveling to or from the U.S. Passengers must now check-in those electronic items in the baggage section.
Saudi Arabia with Saudi Airlines and Jordan with Royal Jordanian Airlines are two of the affected countries. The other countries from the list of the 13 affected have not been announced.
The new 'rule' was sent by the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration ( TSA) in a secret email to the affected airlines on Monday.
The announcement is not really considered a public regulation but airlines with flights to the U.S. are expected to follow the directive. Airlines were given four days to apply the 'rule' after the email on Monday.
The TSA did not make any comments on the matter. It referred media questions to the Department of Homeland Security ( DHS) instead. DHS for its part did not confirm nor deny such a rule. By Monday afternoon, a U.S. official told Reuters that the electronic devices ban is being enforced due to a " terrorism threat". An official announcement is expected this Tuesday on the matter.
The affected airlines decided to quickly follow and apply the new order to their passengers traveling to and from the U.S.
The only source of confusion according to reports is the question of whether the electronic gadgets ban onboard airplanes will also apply to flight crews who use gadgets like iPads in their security briefings to show maps, flight patterns, among other things.