The news that the U.S. is placing restrictions on what airline passengers can carry in the cabin on direct flights from eight majority-Muslim nations is creating ripples of concern throughout the arts community.
According to the rules newly issued by President Trump's administration, passengers must check most electronic devices — including laptops, cameras and tablets — into their checked baggage. Travelers will still be allowed to carry their mobile phones in their hand luggage.
Just as international businesspeople and tourists may be concerned about possible thefts, data breaches, lithium battery hazards and other potential forms of damage, musicians are beginning to grapple with the possible effects that these restrictions may have on their live performances. Many artists bring along work gear in the cabin when they tour — and elements of their shows (including electronic music and visual projections) might well be stored on their laptops, tablets and other devices that now will be relegated to the cargo hold, if the artists travel on the affected carriers.
The regulations are directed towards flights coming into the U.S. from eight majority-Muslim countries who are all traditionally allies of the U.S.: Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. According to our colleague Greg Myre who reported on this story for Morning Edition, the new rules affect passengers on about 50 incoming flights per day, on travelers traveling on non-U.S. carriers. As Myre also notes, the eight affected countries include "every major travel hub in the region except Israel's main airport just outside Tel Aviv."