If you have been on any international flights since March 2017, or have had any scheduled, you may have heard a rumor that electronics are no longer allowed in an aircraft cabin. For some people, it may seem nothing to worry about, but for those (like me) who have experienced it first-hand, it is a confusing, harrowing and even dangerous situation both personally and professionally.
A quick timeline:
On March 20th, Royal Jordanian Airways tweeted “Following instructions from the concerned US departments, we kindly inform our dearest passengers departing to and arriving from the United States that carrying any electronic or electrical device on board the flight cabins is strictly prohibited.”
It is important to note that prior to this, there was no electronics ban to any Middle Eastern country from the US.
After this, however, other airlines noted that they had received intelligence notices from the US suggesting that they implement measures by March 24th that would affect flights in 10 airports within the Middle East — but only on 8 airlines that serve those locations.
The nature of the ban is itself confusing. All “electronics items larger than a cell phone” are to be confiscated, checked into the cargo area of the aircraft, and can be reclaimed later.
Recently, while traveling on Turkish Airlines through Istanbul, I saw this in action. Only my personal laptop, kindle and laptop power cord were taken, leaving me with my external cell phone power packs (li-on) and cell phones.
For others, it was not so clear; I saw noise-cancelling headsets, electric razors, laptops, portable keyboards, external hard drives, etc, taken and placed into anonymous black cases.
As a security professional, this sight alone made me reticent to continue to do business that takes me to the Middle East — and that may be the entire point of this ban.
For this 11-hour flight, all of the business people on this flight, and hundreds of other flights per day to and from the Middle East, are now separated from their data. If you’re like me, you keep it encrypted. However, you have no control over what happens to it while in the care of the airline.
Therefore, for entrepreneurs and business travelers, while this ban is in place, here are my three recommendations for how to survive the ban while keeping your company and client data safe.
If its something that you have a duty to protect, or is confidential, make sure it is something that you aren’t handing over to someone else. Keep client files on an encrypted thumb drive that remains on your person, or in an encrypted cloud storage solution that you always have access to.
Your cell phone is as powerful as a computer, so for a short trip, you may be able to get away with your phone and an external keyboard. The airline I flew, Turkish, provided all travelers with free WiFi access for the duration of the flight, to allow us to do business anyway.
This is not the fault of the airlines, so please don’t cancel your flights or plans. While flying Turkish Airlines, they gave us stellar treatment despite the poor circumstances surrounding the ban.
While I’m hopeful this will be a temporary measure, with these simple steps you’ll be able to keep sane while flying.
When New York State went into quarantine in mid-March, Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra had just moved JCRT, their direct-to-consumer shirt company, to a new office on Pier 59 in New York City. Founded in 2016, JCRT celebrates all things plaid and camouflage, with colorful patterns named after David Bowie and Kate Bush albums and movies such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Stuck in a rentalhome in rural New Jersey,the married Costello andTagliapietragot to work. Heartsick that the city that had been their base and home for years was the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak, they wanted to do something to help friends on the frontlines.Costello began sewing masks from whatever sample fabrics he had on hand.Tagliapietra boxed them “by the hundreds” and the couplesentthem to wherever they heard PPE was needed.
“Everything was sort of unknown at that point,” Tagliapietra says. “We were very happy to be able to even do that.”
After sewing about 600 masks (“My hands were tired!” Costello jokes), they were able to reopentheir factory in the Dominican Republic, which been closed due to government quarantine and curfew rules, and began producing masks for sale and donation, giving more than 12,000 to first responders. They’re donating a portion of their retail sales to the New York City Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund, benefiting health care workers, supporting small businesses, and vulnerable workers and families. Without any marketing other than their social feeds, Tagliapietra and Costello estimate they’ve sold 45,000 masks through JCRT and raised more than $65,000.
Now they’re selling masks and collared shirts made from a black, red, and green plaid, with proceeds going to Movement for Black Lives. Over the Father’s Day weekend, which also included the commemoration of Juneteenth, they donated 100 percentof the sales of those goods to the organization.
JCRT is a second act for Costello and Tagliapietra, who previously founded a women’s wear business called Costello Tagliapietra in 2005. Their runway shows were written up in glossy fashion magazines and the founders got a lot of press for their shared plaid-on-plaid aesthetic and impressive beards, which led to theirbeing dubbed “the lumberjacks of fashion.”
Keeping their operation small also allows the foundersto decide where and how to focus their energies, including supporting the causes they careabout. They’re nowat work on another fundraiser, this one for Pride month,with proceeds going to the Ali Forney Center, a New York City-based program for LGBTQ homeless youth.With their factory up and running, JCRT also continues to release new designs, sellingdressshirts, pants, jackets, bags, and accessoriesthrough their website.
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