Reports: Expanded Laptop Ban “Off the Table” for Now

Laptop in use by a woman on plane
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An expanded laptop ban including flights from Europe is now reportedly “off the table,” multiple media outlets are reporting.

According to the Associated Press via CNBC, talks between security officials from the United States and European Union ended with no expanded ban, and an official who followed the talks told the AP the expanded ban was “off the table” for now. The official spoke with the AP on the condition of anonymity.

The BBC likewise reports that at the meeting U.S. and EU officials decided against expanding the ban, although other measures are reportedly being considered.

The reports contradict and earlier statement by a senior Trump administration official cited by The New York Times. That official had told the Times an expanded ban could be coming “in the next several days or weeks.”

According to a joint statement from the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, officials from the two organizations will meet again next week in Washington, DC, to “further assess shared risks and solutions for protecting airline passengers, whilst ensuring the smooth functioning of global air travel.”

The ban on laptops and other large devices in airline cabins currently applies to flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. When reports of a potential expansion of the ban first began to circulate, the proposal drew broad concern from organizations in the travel industry, with the Business Travel Coalition (BTC) warning that such a policy could affect as many as 3,500 flights a week during the busy summer travel season and 65 million passengers a year. Similarly, the American Soceity of Travel Agents (ASTA) called for ways to minimize the impact of an expanded ban, including exemptions for travelers enrolled in Global Entry and other, similar trusted traveler programs.