Britain bans laptops on flights from six countries

The Latest: UAE's Etihad says no change to carry-on policies

Nearly all electronic devices will need to be "checked in" rather than carried as hand luggage into the cabin due to a "security concern" over passengers boarding non-stop flights to the USA from certain countries, a U.S. administration official told CNN.

United States officials said the decision had nothing to do with President Donald Trump's efforts to impose a travel ban on Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

For guests bound for the U.S., this must be done at the point of origin which may not necessarily be at Abu Dhabi International Airport, it added.

Senior U.S. administration officials declined to elaborate on the threats that prompted the ban, saying only that commercial airlines are still a target of terrorists who are trying to smuggle explosives in electronic devices.

Four other United Kingdom airlines and eight foreign carriers will also have to block passengers from carrying electronics onboard according to the ban, which covers flights from Tunisia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, as well as Egypt and Turkey.

Emirates airline President Tim Clark told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he only learned of the new US guidelines the day before. Carry-on devices can not be larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide and 1.5cm thick.

The ban may force most of the carriers' wealthy customers to start flying on USA airlines instead of using the Gulf ones, despite the more advanced and modern level of cabin comfort and service they can offer. "We're privy to the same intelligence as the Americans", the spokesperson said.

Qatar Airways' alert said they have made "special arrangements to assist passengers in securing their devices in the aircraft's baggage hold".

The foreign airlines hit by the new ban include Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Egyptair, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air and Saudia.

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US officials would not say how long the ban will continue, saying only that it will be reevaluated on a regular basis.

Passengers are therefore advised to check online with their airline for further details.

On Tuesday, the USA department of homeland security said passengers travelling from 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries would have to bring devices such as tablets, laptops and cameras in their checked baggage.

"Once this is done, we will make sure enough notices are displayed to inform passengers", he added.

Royal Jordanian first broke the news of an electronics ban on flights from certain countries to the U.S.

All countries involved are majority-Muslim, though President Donald Trump's administration insisted that the rule had nothing to do with the recent immigration order.

No U.S. airlines are involved because they don't offer direct service to the U.S. from the targeted airports, U.S. officials said.

They have been informed about the changes and will begin implementing the ban immediately.

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