Category: Travel News Updates

Potential New Rules on Carrying Electronic Devices Aboard Flights

Potential New Rules on Carrying Electronic Devices Aboard Flights

(Last updated 1:oo p.m. PDT, Wednesday, August 2, 2017)

Personal Electronics on Flights to and From U.S.

If you’re planning on taking an international flight into or out oft he U.S. in the near future, you had best check the TSA or Department of Homeland Security Websites to find out if you’ll have to stow your laptop in checked luggage.

The Department of Homeland Security is considering imposing a ban on carrying laptops aboard all flights in to and out of the U.S., extending a similar ban which has applied flights from ten airports in the Middle East since March (and which actually applies to any electronic device larger than a smartphone, including tablets and e-readers.)

(Update, July 5, 2017: The New York Times reports that Etihad, Emirates, and Turkish Airlines have been exempted from the laptop ban that had been applied to flights from the ten Middle East airports.)

(Update, July, 12, 2017: Reuters reported that a ban on state-owned EgyptAir passengers using laptops on U.S.-bound flights has been lifted, and that Saudi Arabian Airlines, also known as Saudia, and Royal Air Maroc anticipated that the laptop on its flights will be lifted by July 19th.)

(Update, July 21, 2017: The New York Times reports that “[passengers flying into the United States from airports in 10 Muslim-majority countries affected by the ban may now take their laptops and other large electronic devices into the cabin with them.”

The newspaper said that:

“Instead of carrying out that broader ban, John F. Kelly, the Homeland Security secretary, announced last month that there would be new security standards for carriers flying into the United States. The first phase of those new rules required airports with carriers flying to American destinations to quickly demonstrate that they had the ability to screen passengers for trace amounts of explosives.

“More than 280 airports — including the 10 targeted by the original laptop ban — complied with that rule, officials said Thursday.”

Nothing in the Times story counters announcements we covered (below) over the past two days that indicated that passengers flying into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico should expect that their larger-than-cellphone electronic devices could be subject to close scrutiny and passengers might be required to remove those devices from protective cases and power them on at airport security checkpoints.

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Will Trump’s Words and Deeds Scare Off Travelers to the U.S.?

Will Trump’s Words and Deeds Scare Off Travelers to the U.S.?

(Updated April 2, September 10, and December 2, 2017 ,January 14, 2018 and September 5, 2018)

Donald Trump has not been known to mince words, either when he was on the campaign trail or after he entered the White House. He says what’s on his mind without apparent regard for what anyone else thinks.

Couple that with his so-far unsuccessful attempt to unilaterally ban residents of certain countries from traveling to the U.S. and one wonders how his words and deeds might affect travel to the U.S. by foreign visitors.

In an article published by the New York Times two days after the 2016 Presidential election, journalist Stephanie Rosenbloom wrote “the spirit of openness that has permeated everything from our increasingly global economy to how we travel may be poised to change.”

She went on to say that

 “experts say that how attractive the United States continues to be to foreign tourists will depend on how affordable it is to visit; what, if any, policies the Trump administration puts into place (new immigration procedures that make the customs and border process harder, the scrutiny of particular groups of people); and the perception of how welcoming and safe (or not) the United States is.”

But since that article was written more than two months before Trump was sworn in as U.S. President, one might write it off as nothing but mere speculation with no facts to back up the concerns that those interviewed by Rosenbloom expressed.

Fast-forward to the post-inauguration period to find out whether the election of Trump, and in particularly his initial attempt to bar individuals from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S., has had a positive, negative, or neutral impact on U.S. tourism.

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Don’t Fall for the “Can You Hear Me?” Travel Scam

Don’t Fall for the “Can You Hear Me?” Travel Scam

About five years ago I wrote about a travel scam that typically came by letter or postcard and offered free airfare and a hotel stay any city served by an airline (pick an airline, any airline).

The scammers’ plan was to lure you to a meeting where they would aggressively push you to join a “travel club” with the promise of discounted travel is you would pony up the membership fees.

Over the next three years I updated the story whenever I read about “travel club” promotions of this kind taking place, and I continued to receive postcards and letters with “free” airfare and hotel stays, some involving airlines, others offering travel on cruise ships.

It was quite easy to spot these less-than-forthright offers when they arrived in the mail and then toss them in “the round file.”

But last Thursday I encountered the latest travel scam which came not in the mail, but in a phone call.

Here’s what happened.

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