If You’re Flying from Istanbul to the US, You Can’t Bring Your Laptop on Board Anymore

It’s the latest move by the US government making traveling from the Middle East feel like a crime.

Passengers are being banned from carrying any electronics except medical devices and phones when flying direct to the US from the following 10 airports:

(Yes, the list of affected airports includes Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, and yes, banned items include e-readers and tablets).

News website Quartz estimates this affects roughly 2.25 percent of international arrivals to the US. 

US airlines are not affected, according to CNN, but that’s because none of them currently fly from any of the above airports. (Ha!) 

The new measures have some wondering if it’s an attempt at a lighter “Muslim Ban,” a move aimed at benefitting US carriers or a new way for officials to pry into your electronics without you knowing.

At the end of the day, it’s a minor pain, especially if you live in Istanbul and visit America from time to time. Delta suspended its seasonal route between the US and Turkey in April 2016, so your two choices are to part ways with your laptop or fly through another city.

Which I may have chosen to do anyway, but now I’m tempted to do. Because a direct flight would just feel too — discriminatory. 

I’d be sitting on a flight imagining a bunch of well-entertained Europeans, watching movies and computer games they illegally downloaded while I’m stuck watching Alvin and the Chipmunks on an oily screen on the seat in front of me. I’d try not to be negative. ‘At least I have something to talk about with the passenger next to me,’ I’d think to myself. 

Then we’d rush for the luggage carousel when we land. We wouldn’t want any thieves or confused fliers taking our extremely valuable luggage by mistake, after all.

But wait, we wouldn’t be able to do that because customs officers are busy asking us for the password to our phones so they can find for a Muslim prayer, thereby disqualifying us from entering the country.

Oh, the joys of traveling.