indicates that laptops are not allowed on direct fligthts from Saudi Arabia to the UK yet it also says (in brackets) that Riyadh and Jeddah are affected (is that by way of example of cities in Saudi Arabia for the hard of googling or is it the only airports affected??).
I've called BA and others to be read out the standard information from their website which didn't fill me with confidence.
Can anyone fill me in on the réalité please - what is currently happening re hand luggage on flights from Dammam to London direct? I'm pretty uneasy about putting a laptop in my checked baggage so this makes a difference as to whether I would book a direct or indirect flight home.
You can't fly direct to London from Dammam. Jeddah and Riyadh are the only 2 airports with direct UK flights, hence the only 2 which were/are affected. Bahrain has a direct London flight which, if I remember correctly, was never subjected to additional checks.
You need to check with the airline. The official line is here: www.gov.uk/government/news/changes-to-uk-aviation-security Which on brief glance matches your BA announcement, however I flew DMM-Istanbul-UK last week with extra security checks, but allowed to keep electronics, so it is also airline dependant.
I took Dammam to Edinburgh last year with Turkish - they were packing laptops from passengers and tablets into bubble wrap and loading them into the hold to be returned at he final destination. What their system is now I don't know.
Also they "Confiscated" my battery pack because it was above their permitted size. The route is ok, but Istanbul is now well suited as a hub airport and does get busy trying to get through security between flights. Plus their prices have rocketed since Qatar were blocked in Saudi.
Riyadh to London - forget it unless you live in Riyadh. It's a 4 hour drive from Dammam and BA are (so far) the worst airline I have flown from Saudi. Saudia I have never flown, so I can't comment on them.
Similarly I don't like Bahrain because of the causeway element adding to the total time taken although a lot if people do use the route. The causeway could take 30 mins on a good day, it could take 4 hrs on a bad day.
Try Kayak or Skyscanner to give you an idea of options, and then book direct with the airline using the Aramco LTP discout (5-15% off).
Good connections will give you a travel time of around 10 hrs to the UK from Dammam airport.
Thanks BlueStaff. Can you explain a little more about the laptops being packed into bubble wrap please? Are these people who wanted to have their laptops with them in hand luggage until they board the plane or people who already had their laptops in hold luggage?
I am still interested in what the situation is at Riyadh as I am likely to be flying in and out of there between now and starting if anyone has any recent information.
I guess the "bubble wrap" and hold luggage was Turkish Airlines way of getting around he cabin baggage ban on laptops. They had a hold luggage metal box that they loaded them into for the flight. People were still showing up with laptops in hand luggage and this was their solution to get them on the flight without losing them.
I haven't flown via Istanbul since last summer (we were rebooked after the Qatar ban) so I am not sure what the story is now.
All i can suggest is that you do as the UK govt. website suggests and contact he airlines directly.