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Arab airlines respond to US and UK's #ElectronicsBan

Emirates will allow passengers to hold on to their laptops after check-in until boarding [AFP]

Date of publication: 23 March, 2017

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The airline said it will provide free packing-and-handling service for passengers affected by the ban on electronic devices larger than a smartphone.
Dubai's Emirates airline have said it will provide a free packing-and-handling service for passengers on flights hit by a US ban on electronic devices larger than a standard smartphone.

Emirates said passengers could hold on to their laptops and tablets after checking in until boarding time, when security staff at the gates will themselves pack the devices into boxes and load them onto the flight. 

"Our new complimentary service enables passengers, particularly those flying for business, to have the flexibility to use their devices until the last possible moment," said Tim Clark, president of Emirates.

The devices will be returned to their owners upon arrival in the US free of charge.

The service from Emirates is also available for passengers transiting through Dubai International Airport.

In a separate interview with AP, Clark said the ban on personal electronics on US-bound flights came without warning, asserting that the airline will comply with the directive.

"I do find that a little bit surprising to be quite honest," he said. "When I travel around even the United States or Europe or Asia, I don't see this level of scrutiny that goes on in Dubai."

"Emirates and its owner, the government of Dubai, and the airport ... (are) as safe as any airport or any airline could possibly be," he added.

The US ban on laptops and tablets applies to flights from 10 airports in the region, including direct flights to the United States from Dubai International Airport and Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.

US airlines do not operate direct flights out of the airports included in the ban. 

A similar British ban covers all airports in Turkey, Jordan and four other countries, but not the United Arab Emirates. 

Both countries have cited credible threats to civil aviation from al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group as the reason for the ban, which has come under criticism for targeting majority-Muslim countries.

The bans officially go into effect this Saturday.

Royal Jordanian is also affected by the ban but has responded in a typically humorous manner.

In adverts, Jordan's national carrier gave people a list of 12 things to do during their flight without their laptop.

Among the suggestions are "read a book", "analyse the meaning of life" and "think of reasons why you don't have a laptop or tablet with you".

The Amman-based airline also said computer-addicts who are restless on their flights can pretent their tray table are a keyboard.

Finally, it said that for those who are still bored during their flights to the UK or US they can do what Jordanians do best: "stare at each other".



Agencies contributed to this report.

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