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Security fears prompt laptop and tablet ban from some U.S.-bound flights

Why it matters to you

If you're about to fly to the U.S. and think your airline could be affected, you might want to check ahead so you can sort out your tech gear before you board.

United States security officials have reportedly told 12 airlines from around eight different countries to prevent passengers from taking particular tech devices into the cabin on flights heading into the U.S.

Multiple news outlets, among them Reuters and the Associated Press, suggested the move by the Transport Security Administration (TSA) was in response to a possible terror threat. An official announcement about the new rule is expected on Tuesday.

Passengers on mostly Middle Eastern and African airlines will be asked to check in electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, ebook readers, and cameras rather than carry them on as hand luggage. Mobile phones and medical devices are expected to be allowed into the cabin.

U.S. airlines are unlikely to be affected by the new rule, the reports said.

Notification of the ban went out in a TSA email described as “confidential” on Monday, with airlines given 96 hours to comply, according to the Guardian.

An unnamed U.S. government official told CNN that embassy officials have been contacting affected airlines to inform them of the change in rules.

In a tweet that has since been deleted, Royal Jordanian Airlines told its passengers that on flights to and from the U.S., “carrying any electronic or electrical device on board the flight cabins is strictly prohibited.”

It added that “laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players, and electronic games … etc, can be carried in the checked baggage only.”

Sam Thielman/Twitter

The airline said the rule will go into effect on March 21, suggesting an official announcement could be coming from the TSA in the next 24 hours.

It’s currently unclear which specific airlines are likely to be impacted by the new regulations, though full details are expected to be disclosed some time on Tuesday.

The advice to passengers who don’t want to be caught up at check-in having to repack their possessions is to keep an eye on the news in the coming days, and, if in any doubt, to check with their carrier before heading to the airport.