Terrorists could inflict over a billion dollars of damage to the economy without lifting a trigger finger if they can scare the Trump Administration into banning laptops from Europe–U.S. flights:
While existing curbs on some services from the Middle East and North Africa affect 350 U.S.-bound flights per week, extending it to the 28 European Union states plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland would impact 390 a day, or more than 2,500 a week, the International Air Transport Association estimates. That would cost passengers $655 million in lost productivity, $216 million for longer travel times, and $195 million for renting loaner devices on board, it says.
…“Traveling with your laptop is part of everyday life,” [IATA Chief Executive Officer Alexandre] De Juniac told Bloomberg. “We are not sure that this ban is adapted to the threat. We don’t know what is the basis or intelligence that justifies this measure” [Christopher Jasper, Guy johnson, and Marine Strauss, “Wider Laptops Ban to Cost Passengers $1 Billion, Airlines Warn,” Bloomberg, 2017.05.17].
European and U.S. officials may be backing away from the laptop ban. We can only hope the Trump Administration will listen to experts and adopt more sensible security measures that don’t endanger productivity, information security, and plane safety (lithium batteries packed in the cargo hold can go boom!).
But if they don’t, what options could allow travelers to stay connected and productive while traveling to Europe?
- Travelers could load all of their road-work to Google Drive or some other cloud storage that they can access from other devices.
- Airlines could install Chromebooks or cheap keyboard/tablet combos in each seat as compensation for banning vital personal property from flights.
- Businesses and hotels could make similar loaner devices available to international visitors.
But notice that those solutions create more information security risks and hassle for travelers, which means, once again, the terrorists win. Getting governments to deny millions of travelers the opportunity to work and communicate while traveling is a brilliant victory for terrorists, weakening the Western economy and liberty without blowing up a single plane.