As lawmakers begin to discuss the possibility of impeaching President Donald Trump, yet another one of his policies may cause him further trouble with the American public.
In March, the United States imposed new rules banning flight passengers coming from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa from carrying electronic devices larger than smartphones with them in the cabin. Now, U.S. officials are talking to their European counterparts about imposing the same type of ban on flights coming from the continent, The Independent reports. But if that occurs, economists and experts suggest, Trump would have an “economic tsunami” on his hands.
On Tuesday, Business Travel Coalition Chairman Kevin Mitchell sent a letter to European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc saying that the ban proposed by the U.S. could “affect 3,500 flights a week this summer and 65 million passengers per year.”
“The economic risk to airlines and the travel and tourism industry is orders of magnitude greater than the threat from pandemics, volcanoes or wars,” Mitchell added.
Calling the effects of a laptop ban a real “economic tsunami,” Mitchell added that enacting this ban would also give terrorists what they want, which is to scare us into living in constant fear.
Since many companies do not allow their employees to check their computers out of fear that sensitive information could be exposed, many business travelers will have to forego traveling to America altogether. With the “business travel demand” dropping so dramatically, Mitchell added, the tourism industry, as well as other industries that rely on employees having their laptops on them at all times, will suffer greatly.
But that's not all. To the head of the International Air Transport Association, Alexandre de Juniac, the expanded ban “could impose an additional cost of more than $1 billion on passengers” because the “Atlantic [route] is a big source of revenues and profits both for U.S. and European carriers.”
According to the United Kingdom's Holiday Extras, the country's leader in flight booking online, over one-third of people who participated in their survey would reconsider flying to the U.S. if a laptop ban were to be enacted. Out of 35,000 people who participated, 35 percent said they would rethink their plans, while 18 percent said they would fear for the safety of their electronics. At least 17 percent responded they wouldn't be OK with being kept from having access to their laptop.
Ant Clarke-Cowell, communications director at Holiday Extras, said that “electronic devices are a huge part of modern travel.” Forcing consumers to, all of a sudden, ignore their comfort because the U.S. believes everyone is guilty until proven innocent isn't going to help.
“Considering how much easier or enjoyable such items can make our journeys, and how fragile and expensive they can be, it’s easy to see why the restrictions have sparked so much debate and caution among passengers,” Clarke-Cowell said. “However, we’d hate to see this stopping people from flying to the affected destinations and we were surprised to see just how many people were considering this move in our poll.”
If Trump wants to be the president who helps the economy grow, he can't just keep imposing more restrictions on businesses and industries that could be booming instead. Tourism doesn't only help airlines and the hotel industry, it also helps local and global businesses like tech companies, restaurants, car rentals, and retail, among others.
Unless Trump wants to go down as the president who made America poor again, he needs to stop treating everyone who's not his idea of the perfect American like a threat. After all, you can't make an economy blossom without consumers, and you cannot improve on your consumer base by placing restriction upon restriction on their ability to travel to the country.
Apparently, Trump isn't as sharp on economics as he hoped.