Australia should follow EU lead and skip the carry-on laptop ban

Angus Kidman 18 May 2017 NEWS

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It's a risky solution to an unclear problem.

Ever since the US and UK began banning laptops in carry-on luggage for some flights from the Middle East, I've been worried that the same policy would reach Australia. And earlier this week that seemed all too likely, with our Prime Minister announcing that such a ban was being seriously considered.

I've written before about why this is a lousy idea: no-one wants their precious laptop flung around an airport in cavalier fashion, and when you have 10 hours or more in the air, a laptop can be handy for both work and entertainment.

So I'm relieved to see that an earlier proposal to extend the ban to all flights between Europe and the US has been rejected. A meeting of US and European officials decided the ban is impractical, BBC reports.

It's possible other measures will be introduced, but it seems that concerns that a cargo hold full of laptops, which could catch fire due to their lithium batteries, might actually represent a bigger risk to flights than bombs concealed in laptops, which is the ostensible reason for the ban.

The existing US and UK bans are still in place, so the EU decision doesn't necessarily mean that Australia will go the same way. But I'm really hoping that's the case. We're seeing lots of improvements in international flying, such as the forthcoming elimination of outgoing passenger cards. Adding more hassle to the experience doesn't seem the right way to go.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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