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Lawyers Travel's weekly client e-newsletter, the Informed Traveler, keeps readers updated on travel industry news and trends.

Following is a recap of May's Top 5 (most clicked by Lawyers Travel's clients) e-newsletter stories.

1. U.S. Considers Expanding Airline Laptop Ban to Europe and Beyond

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering expansion of an existing ban on laptops in airline cabins on flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. If expanded, the ban could include flights not only from Europe but from other regions, reports Bloomberg. Providing further clarification from comments made last week, DHS spokesperson David Lapan stated that U.S. officials are looking at other areas "not solely Europe" and that the expansion would be "likely." To read more, click here

2. U.S. Passport Offices Face Record Demand for Applications

The U.S. State Department expects a record number of 20.5 million applications for new and renewed passports this year, reports Skift. U.S. passports must be renewed every 10 years, and it was 10 years ago that a new law went into effect requiring passports for Americans traveling to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. That new law resulted in a surge of passport requests in 2007. Applicants seeking a new or renewed passport should make sure their photo meets requirements and be aware of the expiration date of their current passport, as many countries require the passport to be valid for six months after crossing their border. To read more, click here.

3. Under Real ID Act, Licenses from 4 States Won't Work at Airports in 2018

Beginning January 22, 2018, driver's licenses from Maine, Minnesota, Missouri and Montana will no longer be accepted at TSA checkpoints. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), these states have not met the federal government's minimum security standards under the Real ID Act. Unless the states make a move to change their processes and an extension is granted, travelers with a driver's license from any of these states will be required to present an alternative form of identification in order to pass through security. Acceptable alternate forms of identification include passports, military IDs and permanent residence cards. To read more from the DHS website, click here.

4. U.S. Issues Travel Alert for Europe

The U.S. Department of State has issued a Europe Travel Alert citing concern about the potential for future terrorist attacks after recent, widely reported incidents in France, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Per the Travel Alert, U.S. citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning and should also:

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities. Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with family members and ensure they know how to reach the traveler in the event of an emergency.
  • Have an emergency plan of action ready.
  • Register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Click here to visit the Department of State's website for more information. To enroll in the STEP program, click here

5. U.S. May Expand Airline Electronics Restriction

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering expanding the restrictions on carrying electronic devices in airline cabins beyond the Middle East, reports Skift. DHS spokesperson David Lapan said the agency would consider the impact on the summer travel season in deciding if and when to expand the electronics ban, but that the timing "would not drive" DHS in announcing or implementing an expanded ban. The current ban restricts electronics devices larger than mobile phones on flights heading to the U.S. originating from 10 Middle Eastern airports, including Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Dubai. To read more, click here.