NEW YORK (CNN) – The Trump administration’s order banning passengers from major airports in the Middle East and North Africa from flying with electronic devices on board is not even a day old and its impact is already being felt. Through WhatsApp and iMessage, CNN asked travelers who would be coming in from the 10 airports covered by the ban how they’d be affected. This is what they said:
They’re worried about long flights with restless children
Marissa and Adam Goldstein are from Boston but live in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. They’ll be flying with their twin daughters, Eyva and Noa.
“We’ll be flying Emirates on Monday through Dubai with our twin 16-month-old daughters. This will be hard as I was going to have them use our iPad to keep them occupied. Also, we use our laptops for work on these long flights!”
Others said the same thing: “I’m flying with TWO toddlers on a 7-hour flight through Morocco from Italy and now they can have no iPad? No Kindle to read? I mean this is ridiculous,” one wrote.
They fret about lost productivity
Syed Hussain lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He travels regularly to the United Arab Emirates and said he normally works 10 hours of the 16-hour flight. “[This] sends a very negative message to people like me who want to explore business opportunities between North America and Middle East,” he said.
Another person wrote: “Will the US government pay for the day of work I will lose when I fly? Don’t think so!!!”
They worry about the safety of sensitive info on their electronic devices
People have entrusted Matthew Schweitzer with their lives; he takes that responsibility very seriously. On his laptop, the American researcher for the Education for Peace in Iraq Center has days of interviews and testimony from Iraqis living under and fighting ISIS.
“These interviews, if leaked, could put those (people) in grave danger for reprisals and exploitation,” he said. “I cannot risk these data being stolen or falling into the wrong hands.”
It’s common policy for businesses to require employees with confidential or sensitive information on their electronics to keep the devices with them at all times.
“My company’s policy requires that we take company laptops as carry-ons to prevent theft,” said Morgan, who works in the oil and gas industry. CNN is not using her full name because she is not authorized by her employer to speak to the media.
Her company’s travel policy says employees must take the cheapest and most direct route; it’s unclear if the electronics ban will change that.
In an industry in which success is tied to volatile oil prices, increased travel expenses could reverberate through a company’s bottom line.
They’re wary of lost items
Tugbek Olek, a Turkish entrepreneur, attends the E3 Expo in Los Angeles every June and brings a lot of electronics. He said he doubts he’ll go this year if the ban remains in place. “We’re not going to check in 20K worth of electronics,” he said.
Warren, an employee at a New York-based travel agency, said his high-end clients are very upset. CNN is not using Warren’s full name because he was not authorized by his company to speak with the media.
“One concern is they are not going to be able to work,” he said by phone.
The biggest concern Warren’s clients have — as do many others reaching out to CNN — is that their items may be lost, stolen or damaged in their checked baggage.
James Buck, a professional photographer currently in Beirut, planned to board his flight home to Vermont with his camera equipment: He values it at half his year’s salary.
Buck has only a soft case for the equipment. Checking it means he needs a hard case to try to protect it during baggage handling. Despite his best efforts, Buck could not find a hard case and had to settle for a Tupperware box.
They don’t know how family members with autism will cope
In a couple of weeks, Nayef’s 8-year-old sister — who has autism — will now have to board a flight without her laptop, DVDs and video games. Nayef, who asked that his last name not be shared, said the electronics help “keep her emotional problems relatively at bay.”
The ban includes exemptions for medical devices, but it’s unclear if Nayef’s sister’s electronics could be considered medical.
They just have a lot of questions
Dozens of travelers have contacted us asking if they are going to be affected. “I have a connecting flight through Dubai, will I be affected?” “I’m a US citizen. Does this apply to me?” “I never check in luggage, am I going to have to check in a bag just for my laptop?
For some answers, check out our story on what you need to know.
Share your story: WhatsApp or iMessage us at +1-347-322-0415