ATW Editor's Blog

Keep calm, but don't carry on!


The British Airways statement on the new rules forbidding laptops and other personal electronic devices in carry-on bags on certain flights is so British.

“Following an announcement by the UK Government we are advising customers departing from affected airports to arrive in good time at check-in and to refer to for the latest information. Our flights continue to operate as normal.​”

Keep calm and carry on, then – except don’t bring the stuff you usually bring in your carry-on. But everything’s normal.

And there’s the really interesting point. “Normal” in flight travel is to assume that someone, somewhere is working out how to bring down a commercial airliner or attack an airport. “Normal” is to squeeze as many days of personal hygiene and medical supplies as you possibly can into six miniature bottles. Remember how the gel-bag rule was supposed to be temporary? “Normal” is to wait in line (which for the queue-loving Brits, actually is normal), then remove your belts and shoes – items you’d normally keep on outside your home or hotel room – and submit to a body-revealing scan or, with gritted teeth, a pat-down.

Now the “new normal”, at least on certain flights, is to surrender your laptop, camera, iPad and e-book to the cargo hold and hope to goodness there’s at least one decent movie on the flight you haven’t already seen and that isn’t a hokey romcom or a blood-and-guts action thriller. And if there is, hope your IFE system works.

Karen Walker

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