Laptops and Devices to be Banned on Flights

So it would seem that in the coming weeks the United States will extend its ban on electronic devices such as laptops, iPads, cameras, tablets and Kindles from being brought on in hand luggage to some European countries including the UK. This may seem an inconvenience to business and leisure passengers, but it begs the questions, how attached are we to these devices in general, why do we need them in our reach for the 8 or so hour flight, and, how much work do we honestly get done during the flight?

Smart phones can do a large amount of work now with various apps linking to the Cloud, and virtual desktops can mean that one people work from their own cloud-based computer, from any other computer anywhere in the world, without risk of losing data.

Currently the UK ban such devices on inbound flights from 6 countries, and the US from 8, soon reportedly to be increased to include the UK. Passengers are barred from taking on board devices that are, “larger than a normal sized mobile or smart phone” – equivalent to 16cm long, 9.3cm wide and 1.5cm deep. Banned devices can still be put into the hold.

Do we Need our Laptops to Work on Flights?

So business passengers will no longer be able to conduct their ‘laptop work’ on board, however this may not be such a bad thing. I used to fly a lot for work, mainly around Europe, and I found that working on a laptop in transit can be very awkward. Instead I planned to do easier work such as read and review contracts, which although required printing in advance, was a great way to get some of the more monotonous work completed.

Do we actually need our own laptops anymore? Carting around a laptop, laptop bag, charger, mouse and any other electronic peripherals can be a real pain, especially if you don’t actually use the device on the journey, and let’s face it – most of us don’t. Partly due to the inconvenience of setting it up in limited space on a flight, I’d just leave my laptop in the overhead compartment which I had fought so hard for! There’s also the issue of draining batteries, limited power points, and inconvenient places to work to name but a few

With the increased use and availability of remote desktops, we can travel anywhere in the world and access our laptop or computer directly through the web: it will be exactly as you left it, and you can use anyone else’s computer as well. So why bother lumping a work laptop around?

Just Plan Ahead

So my advice is not to despair at these additional security measures. Instead, if you need to, plan for different work, or take some personal time. Relaxing and concentrating on other things for a period of time can make you more productive when back at work. Catch some sleep or enjoy the in-flight entertainment which is unbelievable on some of the latest planes. You could fly round the world at least 10 times and still not watch everything on there.

Use a pen! Writing still works, I’ve found – much to my surprise. And there is a lot of good text recognition scanning software out there than can create your digital document once you’ve written it – subject to your handwriting!

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