The ban, which also applies to DVD players and tablets, follows a similar US policy affecting eight Muslim majority countries.
Downing Street said it followed talks on air security and was “necessary, effective and proportionate”.
The ban applies to any device larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide or 1.5cm deep. It includes smart phones, though most handsets fall within this limit.
Any device outside of the limit will need to be placed into hold luggage.
Number 10 said it was up to individual airlines to decide when to begin enforcing the ban and passengers should contact their airline for further information.
The six UK airlines which are affected are: British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson.
The eight airlines from Muslim majority countries which are affected are: Turkish Airlines (Turkey), Pegasus Airways (Turkey), Atlas-Global Airlines (Turkey), Middle East Airlines (Lebanon), EgyptAir (Egypt), Royal Jordanian (Jordan), Tunis Air (Tunisia) and Saudia (Saudi Arabia).
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We understand the frustration that these measures may cause and we are working with the aviation industry to minimise any impact.”
The US ban applies to flights from 10 airports in eight Muslim majority countries.
The nine airlines are affected under the US ban are: Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.
Asked why the US ban differed from the UK, Theresa May’s spokesman said: “We have each taken our own decisions.”