Thoughts on the Expanded Electronics Ban

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by: Greeley Koch, Executive Director, Association of Corporate Travel Executives

Although the electronics ban for laptops and other electronic devices is on hold for now, there still remains the potential for an enhanced electronics ban in the future. I had recently sent out a letter to our ACTE community (view full letter here) asking everyone for their comments on how their company would respond to an expanded electronics ban.

While the letter created some strong response, it really underscores the fact that there are still more questions than answers.  We do see greater interaction between the company’s travel department and IT group to properly craft how their travellers will respond to a electronics bans.

Here are some of the thoughts shared over the past few days:

  • Some travel managers have started to work with their IT department and others to develop travel policies that protect company assets, both physical and intellectual property.
  • Some companies stated they would look to leverage video conferencing more.
  • Travellers could look to use a “dummy laptop” for travel, where corporate data is accessed only via corporate cloud or optionally via secure, heavy-grade USB-sticks.
  • Others are creating loaner laptops at destinations for travellers to pick up when they land. These laptops will be able to access company networks.
  • Not only will business’s look at the cost of lost productivity by the traveler since they can’t have their laptop or tablet, but they will also look at the cost of a business class seat as opposed to a say an economy-plus seat cost and must weigh the difference; is there value in the business class seat if the traveller cannot work in flight?
  • Corporations talked of redirecting their travelers on their way to the U.S. via Canada on the long haul segment to then enter the U.S. to circumvent any electronics ban on flights from Europe to the U.S. but if the U.S. bans electronics in the cabin entirely on flights within the U.S. or to the U.S., the corporations will have continued problems.
  • One traveller shared their experience of the extra time added for an airline that added the ability to check your device at the gate because of the current electronics ban. The extra time at the gate for secondary screening/searching passengers for devices, and the subsequent packing of those devices, probably added 30 minutes before boarding. At the other end the devices could only be retrieved after baggage was collected and even in that relatively small aircraft there were delays while the two airline staff tried to reunite about 30 travellers with their devices.

As always, we want to continue to hear from you on ideas your company is considering to adjust if the extended electronics ban become reality.   Better to be prepared now then once a ban goes into effect.

Please comment below with your suggestions, questions or ideas.

Greeley Koch, Executive Director, Association of Corporate Travel Executives

GKoch ACTE 2015 #15.jpg

One comment

  1. Additional Comments on the ban from the ACTE Pittsburgh Education Forum 24 May:
    – Meetings were started between internal cyber security/IT departments to discuss if travelers are allowed to check their laptops.
    – Focus was on educating the travelers on what they are and are not allowed to do, and what to expect.
    – Travelers are not traveling with laptops anymore and obtaining a loaner at their final destination.
    – One company indicated they had an existing policy that laptops could not be checked due to security concerns. They had to do an emergency waiver of this policy when the initial ban was enacted.

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