Airlines Affected by Laptop Ban Offer Alternatives

by Megan Hill

May 1, 2017

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Trends / Top Trends

A recent directive passed down from the Trump Administration bans the use of laptops, tablets and other personal electronic devices on planes flying from certain Middle Eastern countries.


The airlines are now offering alternatives to placate travelers, many of whom may rely on these devices during flights to get work done or access entertainment. The airlines offer free WiFi as well as loaner tablets and laptops.


The new travel rule went into effect in late March. It requires personal electronic devices larger than a smartphone to be checked on U.S.-bound flights originating from 10 major airports in eight majority Muslim countries. The ban does not extend to cell phones and medical devices.


U.S. officials say the move is a response to concerns about terrorism. The airlines involved say the move could hurt business.


Each airline offers a slightly different solution. Etihad Airways is offering first- and business-class passengers free WiFi and iPads for any passenger. Qatar Airways says it will dole out complimentary laptops to business-class passengers; all passengers will receive free WiFi on flights to the United States. Turkish Airlines is offering free WiFi to passengers on flights to the United States and England, which instituted a similar ban.


The directive is in effect until October 14, and U.S. officials say it may be extended another year.


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