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Confirmed: TSA bans gear bigger than phones from airplane cabins

Air travel to the US from eight countries appears to be affected

People traveling by air to America from an undisclosed list of countries will no longer be allowed to carry devices larger than a mobile phone in carry-on baggage.

Those traveling with such devices will be required to store them in checked baggage.

The new travel rule was reportedly issued by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the form of a confidential email, or circular, on Monday and distributed to nine airlines serving 10 foreign airports in eight countries. Recipients of the missive are said to have been given 96 hours to comply.

Royal Jordanian Airlines on Monday advised passengers via Facebook that "carrying any electronic or electrical device on board in the flight cabins is strictly forbidden," only to later remove the tweet.

Cellular phones and required medical devices are exempted. Laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players, and game players are among the kinds of electronic devices no longer allowed in the airplane cabins of affected airlines. The gadgets have to be left behind – or stowed in the hold, which isn't ideal.

Royal Jordanian Airlines said the new rule will be enforced Tuesday, March 21, 2017, aboard New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Montreal flights. A Royal Jordanian Airlines ticket agent, reached by phone, confirmed the ban. "We received an email from the TSA," the agent told El Reg.

Saudi Arabia's Saudia Airlines has also acknowledged the ban with a notice to passengers that specifically mentions Kindles and iPads.

Asked about the new restrictions, a TSA spokesperson referred The Register to the Department of Homeland Security. DHS spokesperson David Lapan did not acknowledge the new rules when asked about them. "We have no comment on potential security precautions, but will provide an update when appropriate," he said in an email.

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