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The Laptop Ban – Are you keeping your travellers safe?

Apr 27, 2017

With security being stepped up around the world, we look at how the latest technology bans could affect your employees on their business trips.

Keeping on top of work whilst travelling has become a priority for many frequent travellers and the ability to have all forms of technology available to them within arm’s reach has rejuvenated how consumers interact whilst travelling.

However, due to recent terrorist threats across several continents and enhanced intelligence, certain countries (namely the UK and USA) are restricting the technology that travellers can carry in their hand luggage in a bid to prevent any terrorist activity. The introduction of the latest ‘Laptop Ban’ could affect your employees the most, hindering their access to emails and restricting the option of working offline whilst flying.

Solar Powered Battery BanksAs of 25th March 2017, any device larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide and 1.5cm deep needs to be stored in hold luggage when flying to the UK on a direct flight from any of these Middle Eastern countries;

  • Turkey
  • Lebanon
  • Jordan
  • Egypt
  • Tunisia
  • Saudi Arabia

The banned items include anything from laptops and tablets to gaming devices and large headphones to external hard-drives and portable power sources. 2.4 million people are expected to be affected by the ban each year and around 12,000 flights will have to enforce the new rules. The implications of this ban have not been applied to confine your employee to their seat with nothing to do, but instead to safeguard them from future potential attacks.

Risk AheadDuty of care also plays an integral role in every journey your travellers take; knowing the whereabouts of every employee at all hours of the day is essential. Using Business Travel Direct’s tool, SMARTtrack, you can pin-point their location and ensure their safety by contacting them if and when a potential threat is imminent. Our global communications platform means we can email and/or text you and your traveller immediately to give regular updates and give your employee a way to respond in a secure manner.

Apart from your employees’ safety, another concern is the insurance of your company assets – important technical equipment, which would traditionally have been carried by the traveller, will now have to travel in the hold and your insurance may not provide cover for this. If anything was to be damaged on the flight, some travel insurance policies would not be able to reimburse you, creating another headache for company decision makers. Read the fine print of your policy; if it includes ‘all risk cover’, your electronic devices should be insured, but please check with your provider.

And it’s not just the financial risk everyone needs to take into account; loss of data is also a consideration for companies to discuss – Losing valuable information can be just damaging to a company as monetary losses. Ensure all devices have a secure password on them before checking bags in.

Qatar Airways LogoHowever, there are some airlines affected by the ban who have proactively responded to the situation. For instance, Qatar Airways have offered a ‘laptop loan’ service for all passengers flying to America to ease the technology ban for business travellers. Laptops are available for collection from the gate before boarding and then returned after the flight to minimise the disruption.

Qatar Airways have also given passengers access to the in-flight wi-fi to conduct their business in the air, helping business travellers sort out anything from work emails to presentations around 35,000 ft above the ground. The Doha-based airline has encouraged passengers to carry their work on USB sticks and save all their work onto the electronic device before returning the laptop.

New European RoutesThe Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has not ruled out the possibility of the ‘Laptop Ban’ being implemented on all flights to and from the UK, and there are now talks of enforcing the ban on flights from the UK to the US. Electronic devices could be prohibited on American flights in the next few weeks, so it may be time to consider adapting your travel policy to follow these guidelines.

Being proactive now could save you time and money in the long run – if you have any queries on anything from traveller tracking to updating your duty of care strategy, please contact your dedicated travel team or email us on info@businesstraveldirect.co.uk.