Reuters: Emirates airline said on Wednesday it would start lending first and business class passengers tablets in response to the US ban on most personal electronic devices from passenger cabins of United States-bound flights.
On 25 March the US banned electronic devices larger than a mobile phone from cabins on direct flights to the United States from 10 airports in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, including the United Arab Emirates. Emirates is introducing the service to mitigate the inconvenience of the ban on passengers, the Middle East airline said in a statement. The service started on Wednesday. The decision follows similar measures introduced last week by Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, which are also affected by the ban.
The restrictions, prompted by reports that militant groups want to smuggle explosive devices in electronic gadgets, state that electronics larger than a mobile phone - including laptops and tablets - must be stowed with checked baggage on US-bound passenger flights.
Industry experts have warned the ban could push premium business and first class travellers to carriers not affected by the ban.
Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways are also allowing passengers to hand over their personal devices immediately before boarding.
Etihad Airways says bookings to US healthy despite laptop ban
Reuters: Etihad Airways’ bookings to the United States are healthy despite last month’s introduction of a ban on most electronics from the cabins of passenger flights to the United States, the Abu Dhabi carrier said on Monday.
On March 25, the US banned electronic devices larger than a mobile phone from passenger cabins on direct flights to the US from 10 airports in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, including the United Arab Emirates.
“Bookings to US destinations remain healthy and customer feedback to the initiatives taken by Etihad Airways to provide for their business and entertainment needs has been very positive,” an Etihad spokesman said.
Industry experts warned the ban – prompted by reports that militant groups want to smuggle explosive devices in electronic gadgets – could be damaging to fast-growing Gulf carriers by weakening demand among corporate flyers who use their travel time to complete work on laptops and other devices.
Etihad said last week it would lend approved tablets and offer unlimited wifi to business and first-class passengers travelling on US-bound flights.
In March, fellow Gulf carrier Emirates said booking rates on US flights fell 35% after President Donald Trump’s first travel ban which like the electronics ban only applied to Muslim-majority countries.