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US & EU decide against banning phones & tablets on flights from Europe

Officials from the U.S. and the European Union have reportedly decided against a ban on travelers carrying devices like Apple iPads and MacBooks in the cabin while on flights from Europe.

The decision came after a four-hour meeting in Brussels discussing threats to aviation, according to the BBC. Previously, the U.S. was considering expanding a phone and tablet ban imposed on flyers from Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.

Instead the U.S. and E.U. are considering alternate measures for dealing with threats against airlines, officials said.

Concerns had been raised about possible bomb plots using converted laptops, although no specific threats have been shared with the public. The U.K. also imposed a similar ban on six countries.

While reasons for rejecting the European ban are unknown, one may be worries about keeping so many lithium-ion batteries together in a plane's cargo hold. If a fire were to break out, the damage could be lethal, especially since the crew would have a hard time reacting —if at all.

Such a ban might also create chaos given the number of business and tourist travelers who cross the Atlantic each day. Making sure electronics are checked would likely hamper already slow times at airports like Heathrow, Schiphol, and Tegel, and generate many complaints from people wanting to do work or at least be entertained on 7- to 8-hour flights.

Similar complaints have been made in the Middle East, but European traffic may be considered too big to ignore and only an indirect threat to the U.S.