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You’ve heard the news. The government has announced new security measures regarding the carriage of gadgets like smartphones, laptops and tablets as hand luggage on certain flights. Here’s what you need to know as well as where you stand with World First for the loss or damage of your gadgets. 

What’s going on?

Earlier this week - Tuesday 21st March - the government announced new aviation security measures. Under the new arrangements, passengers boarding flights (including connecting flights) to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia will not be permitted to carry large gadgets into the cabin as hand luggage.

How large is large? Anything bigger than:

• length: 16.0cm
• width: 9.3cm
• depth: 1.5cm

Most smartphones fall within these limits and will be allowed on board. But laptops, tablets, e-readers and other electronic gadgets will not be permitted under the new restrictions. The new rules apply even if your gadget has been purchased airside in duty free after you have passed through security.

Why is this ban happening?

The government remains tight-lipped about what has prompted the new restrictions on gadgets, but asserted their top priority is the safety of British nationals.

When will the ban be introduced?

Pretty much immediately. Many airlines in the affected countries have already implemented the ban. It’s understood the rest have been urged to do so by Saturday 25th March.

How will it affect you?

If you are flying to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia or Saudi Arabia, any gadget larger than your average smartphone will have to be stored in the cargo hold of the plane. To prevent your device getting damaged, cover it with bubble wrap (if possible) and place it in the middle of your suitcase using clothes for extra protective padding.

Of course if you are travelling with little ones, you may also have to plan some ideas for keeping them occupied during the flight. A pack of cards, colouring books, puzzle books or travel games are recommended. Also bear in mind that the ban is likely to cause a modicum of chaos for airlines, so you should strongly consider getting to the airport a little earlier than normal.

Does World First travel insurance cover gadgets?

We have recently launched a new option to add £1,000 gadget cover to your policy as an optional extra. It covers customers for the loss, theft or damage of their gadget - as long as it is within their possession. However following the new regulations - and with immediate effect - our stance is that any customer with gadget insurance will also be covered for any gadgets that are lost or damaged while in the hold. If you have previously bought cover from us then please contact our customer service team to check whether you have gadget cover or discuss adding it to your policy.

What should you do if your gadget is lost or damaged in the hold?

Once you’ve collected your luggage from baggage reclaim, check your laptop, electronic device or tablet straight away. If you discover that it’s missing or damaged, report it to the airline verbally and in writing as soon as you can, asking for a Property Irregularity Report (PIR). This must be obtained to file a successful insurance claim for your lost/damaged gadget(s). Keep hold of all travel tickets, luggage tags and written correspondence (emails are fine) to support your claim

Where can you find out more?

You can read the official news story from the UK government here.

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