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Are Small Cameras Allowed Onboard Flights Impacted by the Electronics Ban?

Are Small Cameras Allowed Onboard Flights Impacted by the Electronics Ban?

Million Mile SecretsAre Small Cameras Allowed Onboard Flights Impacted by the Electronics Ban?Million Mile Secrets Team

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Matt, commented:

With the electronics ban on certain flights to the US, do you know if you can bring a small point-and-shoot camera or GoPro in your carry-on luggage?

Great question, Matt.  Passengers and airlines are still adjusting to the electronics ban.

But according to the Department of Homeland Security, the guideline for restricted carry-on items says the electronic device must be larger than a typical smartphone.

While you should be able bring a small GoPro in your carry-on luggage, you might have to check a larger camera depending on the size.

Flight Electronics Ban Cameras
If You’re Traveling on a Route Affected by the Electronics Ban, You Can NOT Bring a Camera on Board That’s Larger Than a Smartphone. But You Should be Able to Bring a Small GoPro

Keep in mind, it’s up to the airlines and airport security to interpret and enforce the electronics ban rules.  So they have the final say about which items you can bring onboard.

I’ll explain what some airlines are doing to help passengers avoid putting expensive electronics equipment in their checked luggage.

Electronics Ban on Flights to the US

Link:   Department of Homeland Security Fact Sheet

Link:   Department of Homeland Security FAQ

Link:   Electronics Ban on Flights to US From 10 Cities – What You Need to Know

I shared details about the electronics ban on flights to the US from 10 cities on non-US based airlines.

The Department of Homeland Security says any personal electronic device larger than a cell phone or smartphone can NOT be in carry-on luggage.  This includes:

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • E-Readers (like Kindles)
  • Cameras
  • Portable DVD players
  • Electronic game units larger than a smartphone
  • Travel printers or scanners

Keep in mind, folks on FlyerTalk indicate the ban might also apply to noise cancelling headphones, which are usually larger than a phone.

Flight Electronics Ban Cameras
You Can’t Bring Personal Tablets on Flights Impacted by the Electronics Ban

These rules apply even if you just have a connection through one of the impacted airports to the US.

Note:   There are exceptions to the ban, like if you require a medical device to travel.

How to Get Your Electronics to the US

The easiest way to avoid issues with the new rules is to pack all electronics in your checked luggage.

But folks have concerns with potential damage.  Especially because airlines typically have limits on their liability if baggage contents are damaged or lost.  And they’ll often exclude electronics, like computers.

Even folks with lost luggage insurance through a credit card should check the terms & conditions of their coverage.  Because there is likely a maximum reimbursement limit.  And cameras and business laptops might be excluded.

Some airlines impacted by the ban have created solutions to check electronics at the gate before boarding.

For example, Emirates started a laptop and handling service.  So you can carry your large electronic devices through security to use until boarding.  Then, an Emirates agent will pack and load your device onto the flight.

Flight Electronics Ban Cameras
If You’re Flying Emirates to the US, You Can Check Your Large Electronics at the Gate Before Boarding

Turkish Airlines and others have also implemented similar programs to check electronics at the gate.

And airlines are also trying to get creative to help passengers stay connected while on board.  For example, Emirates allows Business and First Class passengers to borrow Microsoft Surface tablets.

Bottom Line

The Department of Homeland Security says you can NOT bring large electronics onboard an airplane if you’re traveling from certain cities in the Middle East and Africa to the US on non-US based airlines.

The ban applies to electronics larger than a typical smartphone.  So it’s possible you might be able to carry-on a small camera like a GoPro.  But it’s up to the airlines and airport security to make the decision.

Several airlines affected by the new rules allow passengers to check electronics at the gate before boarding.  This way, you don’t have to put expensive items in your checked luggage before going through security.

Have you traveled on a flight impacted by the electronics ban?

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It’s politics. The courts won’t let the Administration ban Muslims, so the next best thing is to damage airlines from countries that are mostly Muslim. It serves the protectionist interests of United, American and Delta which offer far inferior services. Any would be terrorist could simply fly from a different airport or, indeed, wait until in the U.S. and fly domestically if wanting to blow up a plane with a laptop. You can tell it’s politics by the fact that Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan refused to go along with it. They have just as much concern about terrorism as the U.S. does, but either didn’t see this as a valid threat, or didn’t see this as a valid solution.

My flight was in the earliest days of the ban, Cairo to London, and Egyptair had not developed its plan yet. It was only at a final security check at the gate that they told passengers of the ban. Their only accommodation was to gate check bags but many people didn’t have their banned items in a bag suitable to check. Strangers ended up sharing and checking carry on bags together to help one another out.