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No Laptops On Planes?

Posted on 23rd March 2017

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I am guessing that pretty much everyone who travels for work, saw this report on the BBC, or the same news from some other source. Your initial reaction was probably the same as mine too: thank goodness I am not flying through any of those airports!

It then got me thinking about one of those generic and vague promises in Donald Trump's election campaign: to "make America great again". How exactly will he achieve that when, to my perspective, the USA is no longer open for business with an important (i.e. rich) part of the world.

Already we were being told that it was best to not take your smart-phone to the USA, as described here, since customs (or homeland security, or whoever) had the right to insist that you unlock it and let them peruse the contents (presumably the same rights extend to other devices like laptops and tablets). Now, however, we are being told that mobile devices will not be allowed into the cabin at all, for flights from certain airports, and we all know how slim the chances are that a laptop and tablet will survive a flight in the luggage hold (it will either be stolen or damaged beyond repair).

Of course, the problem is that the list of airports is public, which means that terrorists can and will fly their laptop bombs from airports elsewhere, and the list will just keep getting larger.

I don't want to list here all the reasons why people need to take their portable computing devices on aircraft, but I know why I do: it is usually a condition of contract that I bring my own laptop when I work as a freelancer, and I usually have work to do while on the flight or waiting at the airport. It is not a choice or convenience, it is mandated by my employer.

If it becomes too difficult or expensive (I certainly cannot afford to replace my laptop after almost every trip) to travel to the USA for business, the people will eventually do business elsewhere, with someone else. It seems to me that the USA is no longer open for business; if that continues for any length of time, then the country which we have become used to as the world's largest economy, most influential diplomatic power, and most powerful military force, will become just a footnote in history. President Trump will go down in the history books as the president who not only eroded US democracy beyond recognition. but also the man who presided over the end of their being a world power.