The US electronics ban has been in place for over a week now, and it has been interesting to see how airlines are dealing with it. Emirates, Etihad, and Turkish have all shared what they’re doing to try and minimize the impact this ban has on passengers.
On top of that, Etihad has announced that they’re offering free Wi-Fi and loaner iPads in first & business class on US-bound flights, and Qatar has announced that they’re offering free Wi-Fi and loaner laptops in first & business class on US-bound flights.
While the effort is nice, this hardly solves the core problem passengers are facing. Many business travelers have policies that prevent them from accessing sensitive documents on public computers, not to mention many of Qatar Airways’ planes don’t even have Wi-Fi. Still, I appreciate that the airlines are doing everything they can to try and minimize the disruption.
There’s also something I find a bit amusing about the whole concept of an electronics ban, only for the airline to instead supply the same electronics to passengers.
Anyway, it looks like Emirates is following the lead of their competitors. As of today, Emirates will offer Microsoft Surface tablets in first & business class on US-bound flights.
As part of this latest service, Emirates premium customers will have Microsoft Surface tablets equipped with Microsoft Office 2016 available for loan on board. Customers can download their work on to a USB which can be brought on board and plugged into the devices to continue working seamlessly.
The service is complimentary and will be available on all non-stop flights from Dubai to Emirates’ US destinations.
Emirates has also published a video outlining how the whole process of checking your electronics at the gate and then retrieving them on arrival works, for those who haven’t dealt with it firsthand:
With several airlines now letting you check electronics at the departure gate, and also offering tablets and free Wi-Fi on US-bound flights, I think the situation is about as good as it’s going to get for US-bound flights. It would be nice if this policy were repealed altogether, but something tells me it’s here to stay.