Delta might have jumped the gun on the broader laptop ban

A Delta airlines plane is seen on the tarmac of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on July 14.
Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

UPDATED 10:55 a.m. PT with information from Delta.

Abandon all devices bigger than a smartphone, ye who board here.

We just got our first look at an airline warning passengers that they cannot bring laptops, tablets, or e-readers in their carry-on bags.

This:

The picture quickly caught the attention of the media. A Delta spokesman said the sign was put up in error at the Cincinnati International Airport and has since been removed. He said a Delta employee posted the sign after “information was communicated in error.”

Reports of a broader ban on electronics aboard international flights emerged earlier this week. We’re still not positive how far the ban extends, but initial stories said the rules originally put in place for eight Middle Eastern and African countries would be extended to parts of Europe.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security press secretary David Lapan said in an email that “no decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins,” but conceded that it is “under consideration.” He went on to say that “when there are changes, well announce that.” He said there will be no announcements Friday, “contrary to some published reports.”

The initial ban also saw a company post the ban too early, with Jordanian Airlines tweeting out a statement before the ban went into effect.

The sign above mirrors what many media outlets had previously reported that the new ban will go beyond laptops to include tablets and any other electronics of a similar size. That leaves very few options for travelers.

Recent bans on laptops have been tied to terrorism concerns. However, these bans have not prevented travelers from checking bags containing laptops, causing some confusion. One reason for this practice is that the screening process for carry-on luggage may not be enough to detect some explosives.

U.S. authorities put the previous ban in place in late March.

Sasha Lekach contributed reporting.

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