Emirates Now Offers Tablets To First & Business Class Passengers Traveling To The US

Filed Under: Emirates

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.


Per Emirates’ press release:

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:

Bottom line

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 It would be nice if this policy were repealed altogether, but something tells me it’s here to stay.

  1. Does anyone have a view on how this affects the ME3 strategy for Europe? If they see lower demand for US travel will they start competing more aggressively for passengers traveling to / from Europe? Would we see better and more deals for premium cabin travel in Europe?

  2. Please report ASAP once you know what type of laptop QR will be supplying. I have a number of DOH>US flights booked and I’m trying to figure out a USB-based strategy for continuing my photo editing on that sector. 😐

  3. LOL well we knew it was a matter of time before Emirates followed suit. Anyway you are quite correct companies tend not to permit confidential work being done on public machines and hell my last company even prohibited work being done in public spaces to include on an aircraft. I tend to fly for leisure more so than business anyway, so this will be perfect for me, if they have Kindle preinstalled, I can at least access my library. I’ll just be sure to change my password, not that I care if the world know what I like to read. Even with this Emirates will probably have to cut their prices on business.
    If not, there’s still my plan to go to the US via Rio on Emirates.

  4. @Dale I read that too and thought that part about having confidence in US airports was ironic considering by the TSA’s own audit they miss 97% of attempted contraband smuggling.

  5. What Hans said about Qatar. Also may I assume the laptop will have Word already installed? Or how does this work? I have Photoshop, I doubt all those laptops come loaded with Photoshop but at least I could do preliminary photo edits, the deleting of those pix that are not going to be usable..

    As a publisher, I also read a lot of stuff in mobi. Does anyone know if these devices will come preloaded with the Kindle app. Because it’s going to be a major pain if I have to go back to reading in PDF… in fact, much of what I read will not even be available in PDF.

    Right now I’m thinking just to quit traveling altogether because it seems too impractical & too much time lost away from my tools.

    It sounds like outbound (for now) I can have my own laptop and ereader, but coming back, I have to check mine (which means significant risk of loss or theft flying into a higher crime airport MSY with a past history of theft from luggage) so I have to risk losing the ereader altogether, pack my cheapest laptop, pull the card before I pack it, and… is that seriously what we’re going to have to do?

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