Eben Peck, Senior Vice President, Government & Public Affairs for the American Society of Travel agents (ASTA), issued the following statement recommending steps policymakers should explore and otherwise reacting to the anticipated expansion of the electronics carry-on ban to additional airports in Europe:
“With regard to the rumored expansion of the electronics ban to additional European airports, we suggest that serious consideration be given to the possibility of exempting travelers enrolled in Global Entry and equivalent trusted traveler programs from the electronics ban. If we have faith in the efficacy of these programs – and we must – then exempting these pre-screened, low-risk travelers from the ban would seem to be a sensible way to both minimize disruption to a portion of the traveling public while incentivizing enrollment.
“Broadly speaking, while we believe that securing the global aviation system from terrorist attack should be the U.S. government’s primary objective, our members have expressed concern about the ban and its potential to negatively impact air travel and the broader industry. Indeed, the rumored expansion of the electronics ban to additional European airports raises the same issues – but on a broader scale – as the original ban applying to flights from the Middle East and North Africa. These include general disruption to business and leisure travelers, issues related to checking expensive electronics while traveling overseas, the risk that lithium batteries checked in large numbers will pose to inbound passengers, and the possibility that the ban may spread further to additional airports and carriers.
“With regard to the electronics ban as well as other recent actions related to travel, we urge the Administration to expeditiously set clear rules of the road so that travel industry stakeholders can serve their clients, that travel disruptions are kept to a minimum and that the traveling public can maintain confidence in an industry so vital to our nation’s economy.”
Rebranded in 2018 as the American Society of Travel Advisors, ASTA is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public. Its members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally-based members, ASTA’s history of industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information about the Society, visit ASTA.org. Consumers can connect with an ASTA travel advisor at TravelSense.org.