Australian Government Contemplates In-Flight Laptop Ban

Australian Government Contemplates In-Flight Laptop Ban

The government is looking “very closely” at invoking a ban on passengers carrying laptops on international flights for certain legs. Prime Minister Turnbull told ABC News “We are taking into account all of the information and advice we’re receiving internationally and we’re working very closely with our partners. In due course, any announcements will be made formally though the Transport Minister.”

The US and UK have already banned laptops on certain routes from the Middle East leading some carriers to lend passengers laptops and tablets along with internet access so they can work during long haul flights.

As someone who spends a lot of time on planes, I use the time on planes to catch up on work, watch the stuff I like and otherwise fill the time.

While I don’t fly the routes likely to be affected often I am concerned that the government will, at some point expand the scope of the ban.

Australian Business Traveller reported a while ago that a ban on laptops on flights between the US and Europe is expected.

International flying is already a hassle in some countries. Between long security lines, having to take shoes off and removing electronic devices from bags it’s little wonder passengers are pissed off before they get to the plane.

And let’s not forget that putting laptops into checked luggage carries a risk not covered by travel insurance and that potentially sensitive information will be outside the owner’s control.


  • Any reason given for them to be targeting patients specifically? (First line…)

  • There is no way I’ll put my laptop (or my camera gear) in the hold. End of message. Part of it has to do with the fact that I have found very little in current on-board entertainment (as wide-ranging as it is) to keep me satisfied for 24 hours and hence take what does interest me ; the other part is that I’d rather not have the potential hassle of having to replace kit when it gets nicked or damaged when it doesn’t have to be.

    If I have to travel to (say) Europe and the normal routing is via Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Doha, then I will just change my travel plans and fly via another (presumably Asian) port like Hong Kong, Singapore or Tokyo.

    As to the very smoke-and-mirrors security theatre that’s going on between the US and the Middle East, has no one figured out that most of the baggage in the hold is within WiFi range of the cabin, and yet they still allow phones in the cabin.

  • If they’re worried about this

    Why not just lock up the batteries, Xray the laptop to make sure the battery compartment is empty (another thing I’ve always wondered is if xrays can potentially corrupt data on a HDD, HDDs are magnetic, but if cosmic rays can cause bit rot and data corruption, maybe xrays can too?) and allow people to use AC adapters on the plane temporarily?

    And if the batteries are a problem, then wouldn’t it be better not to transport them by plane?
    Even a small explosion on a pressurised plane can be disastrous, so ban batteries from flight and allow travellers to borrow batteries at the airport that aren’t tampered (and this would be a good time for laptop makers to finally get their act together and provide standardised parts that can be used in other devices and REMOVABLE batteries), and they can return it when they arrive at their destination.

    But that won’t be the end of the threat, what’s to stop a hollowed out phone? Or a can of soft drink? Will we ban everything else as well?

    Wouldn’t it be more sensible to target the flights/regions most susceptible to this threat than a blanket ban on international flights, and why are we allowing these people to come here in the first place? It doesn’t matter if they didn’t blow up the plane, what if they do something when they arrive at their destination?

    How much more of this nonsense will be tolerated? How long will we treat every traveller as a potential terrorist? I can guarantee you a catholic nun is not a terrorist risk

  • Is this a tacit admission that the pre-flight ‘security screenings’ are worthless?

  • Oh dear Lifehacker, you’ve just revealed top secret information that Terrorists want to use laptops. I guess it’s all over for you. If this publicly known information is too sensitive for Governments to communicate, just putting it online as an article is so much worse!

    How is putting explosives in the hold compared to the cabin any better? When I check in they scan my laptop separately. Isn’t it getting a more thorough check going in the cabin?

    I always suspect these over the top security measures are more to just send a message “don’t do it, you’ll get caught” to discourage plots, rather than the inconvenience of passengers is doing worth while security checking of shoes.

  • Why stop at laptops there is little reason to target laptop and not tablets and phones.

    Or is it merely a ploy to get people to put their laptops in baggage so the TSA/BorderForce etc can rip the contents of hard drives for later examination.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!