Mid East Airlines to offer laptops & tablets for loan & free wifi

As we continue to “live” with the “laptop ban” which disallows all equipment larger than a laptop (including noise cancelling headphones I understand) from cabins on selected routes to the USA and UK, airlines are offering the following options:

    • Emirates- offers a free “handling service” for US flights. Customers hand laptops etc to security personnel at the gate who will box all laptops ready to be handed back to customers on arrival. Free Wi-Fi is also available to all customers. The airline notes only six percent of customers connect their laptops to wifi
    • Etihad – First and Business class passengers on all US bound flights are now being offered free WiFi and a loan of an iPad
    • Qatar Airways -is offering complimentary loan laptops to Business Class passengers on all US-bound flights.  Customers will be able to download work onto a USB, hand electronic items in at the gate and retrieve them upon arrival. They also offer have one hour of free Wi-Fi for all passengers and a $US 5 package for smartphone wifi for the whole flight.Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 12.31.42 pm
    • Royal Jordanian has been running a cheeky series of ads, and are offering 5kg extra on check in luggage allowances to the USA plus this week they are running a poetry competition on the electronics ban

  • Turkish Airlines passengers to UK and US can hand in devices at gate for transportation, and personally collect them at baggage reclaim. Passengers who do that will be eligible for free on board wifi.

Neither Royal Air Maroc or Saudia who are also affected have yet made any announcements of special arrangements or offers.

All the large mid-East airlines are nervously watching the bans which could discourage lucrative business traffic. Why would someone transit through their  Abu Dhabi, Doha, Dubai and Istanbul hubs if it means they cannot use their time productively and their precious laptop is placed in check in where it can be more easily damaged or stolen?  Passengers may be disposed to fly different airlines. This puts their business model at risk.

In fact, the International Air Transport Association in a 28th March release,  called on governments “to urgently find alternatives” to the ban. IATA further said the ” current situation is not acceptable and will not maintain the all-important confidence of the industry or of travelers.”

I could not agree more.

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  1. Several of those alternatives are only for business or first class. While those passengers certainly pay the most, the great majority of travellers are economy class. I can actually live without my laptop if necessary, but I would prefer to have the option on long haul (and btw, America’s idea of a ‘long haul’ fllight is about 10 hours, whereas for me to get to London will take double that!)

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