Will the U.S. Ban Carry-on Bags for Christmas Travel?

The U.S. is reportedly considering a ban on carry-on luggage or electronic devices, citing new terrorism concerns.

Counterterrorism officials are talking about banning carry-on luggage on flights around Christmastime ahead of terrorism concerns, NPR reports. U.S. and U.K. officials worried about a terror plot aimed at commercial flights headed for Europe have discussed heightened security measures during the upcoming holiday, including a carry-on luggage ban or a ban on electronic devices in plane cabins.

U.S. officials confirmed to NPR that they have intelligence suggesting a terrorist attack on passenger planes before Christmas. They also confirmed that the possible attack is aimed at Europe-bound flights only, as opposed to U.S.-bound flights or domestic air travel. In response, there’s been talk among counterterrorism experts about prohibiting carry-on luggage or restricting electronic devices onboard planes in the U.S. and Europe. NPR gave no details as to whether a potential ban would be widespread or applied to select Europe-bound flights only.

NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston writes, “One remedy under consideration is to ban all carry-on baggage, though there is some question as to whether airlines would push back against such a draconian provision.” To be sure, it is highly unlikely we would see a full ban on carry-on luggage across the U.S. around the holidays. The logistics of this kind of action would be very tough to see through in a short amount of time, especially on full flights during the busy Christmas travel week. So don’t get distressed about your holiday travel plans just yet.

An electronics ban is more feasible, but at this point, it’s difficult to assess the likelihood of either option. If an electronics ban were to happen, passengers would need to stow phones, computers, and other devices in checked luggage.

These are counterterrorism measures that officials have discussed behind closed doors, says NPR. According to all reports, no steps have been taken to enact either ban. For now, keep that phone in your pocket and that carry-on bag firmly in hand.  

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By Caroline Costello

Caroline Costello's travel accomplishments include surviving a 2 a.m. whitewater rafting excursion in the Canadian wilderness, successfully biking from Dusseldorf to Cologne without a map, and gaining access to a covert pizza speakeasy in New Orleans.

Caroline is an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). Her work has appeared on USA Today, the Boston Globe, AOL.com, MSNBC.com, ABC News, TODAY Travel, and CruiseCritic.com, among other publications.

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