Local travelers react to possible new laptop ban on flights

Posted at 8:59 PM, May 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-30 17:06:34-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A renewed fear of terrorist attacks could mean a new electronics ban.

"There's numerous threats against aviation," said Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. "That's the really the thing that they're obsessed with: the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight - particularly if it's a U.S. carrier, particularly if it's full of mostly U.S. folks."

Kelly said on Sunday that the U.S. 'might' expand its laptop ban to all international flights. But for travelers who already have to face tight airport security, is a laptop ban too much? The reaction is mixed.

"You can't ban everything," said Michael King, who traveled through Tallahassee from Texas.

"All this terrorism is going to affect our lives and we have to adjust to that," said Jeffrey Nicoson, who traveled from Tallahassee to New York.

Since March, the U.S. has prohibited electronics bigger than a cell phone in the cabins of flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa because of concerns about hidden explosives. Now, the DHS Secretary says that ban could be expanded to all international flights coming into or leaving the U.S.

When it comes to safety, some say they're willing to do whatever it takes to prevent terrorist attacks.

"Everything you can do on a laptop you can do your phone or a tablet. A little bit of extra checks saves 250 people, so be it," said Nicoson.

However, some fliers believe a laptop ban won't be effective.

"I think it's too little too late. Basically, if they have the technology to put explosives in a laptop, then they're gonna be able to put it in various other devices," said King. "The key is to vet people coming from certain countries. Those that we can vet, we do vet them and look at their history as much as possible."

Some say if they knew more about why they couldn't take certain items through the security line, they'd be more accepting of a dramatic measure like a laptop ban.

"If the laptop goes in the belly of the plane, it can't be activated, that's what I'm kind of assuming. It has to be a hands-on, touching of a button on your laptop. If people knew that, they'd be a little more comfortable with saying yeah, get em outta here," said Nicoson.

As for when a ban like this might go into effect? Kelly says, simply: "When the time is right."