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Flying with Laptops and Powerbanks

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Flying With Laptops

Whether you've got work to do on board or you've downloaded films for the plane, bringing your laptop can be a great way to pass the time on your flight. But are laptops always allowed on flights? Find out the rules and regulations surrounding flying with laptops here.

Woman typing on a laptop

Are laptops allowed on planes?

In 2017, the US government banned laptops on flights from certain airports in the Middle East and North Africa. However, in July of the same year, the ban was ended after four months. This means that laptops are allowed on planes flying to and from the United States.

The government in the United Kingdom also implemented a similar ban in 2017. In the UK, it remains illegal to bring laptops and other large electronic devices in your carry-on baggage (hand luggage) if travelling to or from certain countries in the Middle East and North Africa (see below).

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Flying with a laptop FAQs

Where is it illegal to take a laptop onto my flight?

UK passengers travelling to certain airports in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are not permitted to fly with laptops and other electrical devices larger than 16cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm in their carry-on baggage.  Certain airports are excluded from the ban such as Antalya, Bodrum, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen and Izmir (Turkey) as well as Cairo, Luxor and Hurghada (Egypt)

Here is a full list of airports that are excluded from the ban:

  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Hurghada, Egypt
  • Luxor, Egypt
  • Marsa Alam, Egypt
  • Amman, Jordan
  • Beirut, Lebanon
  • Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Tunis-Carthage Internationa, Tunisia
  • Antalya, Turkey
  • Bodrum, Turkey
  • Dalaman, Turkey
  • Istanbul Atatürk, Turkey
  • Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen, Turkey
  • Izmir, Turkey

This means that the majority of laptops and tablets will need to be put into checked luggage. This includes hard drives and keyboards, even if they are bought in duty-free.

What are the rules for flying with a laptop?

When going through airport security with a laptop in your hand luggage, it is important to remove the laptop from your main bag and place it into a separate tray. This is because the dense hardware in your laptop may make the x-ray difficult to read. It is important to make sure that your electronic devices are charged before you travel, as airport staff may ask you to switch on your device at security.

Once on board your flight, you will normally be asked to put your laptop away during take off and landing. In order to comply with safety regulations, you will normally have to remove headphones, if you are using them, during take-off and landing so that you are able to hear any safety instructions. All electronic devices should be kept in flight mode for the duration of your flight.

Can I take my laptop in my hand luggage when flying to the UK?

Passengers are not permitted to take their laptop in their carry-on baggage to the United Kingdom if the device is larger than 16cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm and they are travelling from Lebanon or Saudi Arabia. Passengers travelling to the UK from all other destinations are able to pack their laptops in their hand luggage.

Are laptops allowed in checked baggage?

Laptops are allowed in your checked baggage, however, many passengers prefer to keep their laptops in their carry-on baggage in order to be sure they are not damaged during transit.

Do airport scanners damage laptops?

Computers, laptops and tablets are not damaged by the x-ray radiation emitted by airport scanners. The same applies to MP3 players, cell phones, USB drives and other electronics.

Are power banks allowed on planes?

In the majority of cases, power banks are permitted on planes as long as they are taken in your hand luggage and as long as they do not exceed 100Wh. This is due to the fact that, in case of fire, the cabin crew will be able to put out a fire on the plane but they would not be able to extinguish a fire in the cargo hold. As part of the UK laptop travel ban, you cannot take any spare batteries or portable power source in your hand or hold luggage if they exceed 16cm in length, 9.3cm in width or 1.5cm in depth.