Tech Guide

Airline gadget ban: Here's what can and can't fly

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her PDA upon her departure in a military C-17 plane from Malta bound for Tripoli, Libya October 18, 2011.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The US and UK governments have imposed new bans against bringing certain electronic devices aboard flights to and from specific countries in the Middle East.

In the United States, it affects planes coming from airports in Cairo; Istanbul; Kuwait City; Doha, Qatar; Casablanca, Morocco; Amman, Jordan; Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates.

Ten airlines are participating in the ban. It's a big change for affected travelers, as it applies to many gadgets that most travelers are used to carrying onto airplanes for entertainment and work. If affected travelers try to bring these devices aboard, they'll be forced to check them.

Here's a quick look at what you can and can't bring aboard those flights.

Can bring:

  • Smartphones
  • DVD players
  • Portable gaming systems
  • Wearable devices, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers

Can't bring:

  • Tablets
  • Laptops
  • eReaders
  • Anything that measures larger than 16cm x 9.3cm (6.9-inches x 3.66-inches.)

Those measurements, which the BBC said apply to restrictions in the UK and the United States, are important to take note of. New gaming consoles such as the Nintendo Switch measure longer than 6.9 inches and would need to be checked by those rules.

Also some "phablets," or larger smartphones, can sometimes have screens that exceed 6.9 inches across. Those, too, would need to be checked under the measurement guidelines.

Your best bet is to be prepared to check any extra gadgets that measure larger than a standard smartphone.