From free laptops, to special packaging services in the gate – here is how Dubai’s airline is dealing the the US’ ban on large electronics as check in luggage.

Emirates has just announced that they will lend first and business class passengers tablets for the duration of US-bound flights, so that people can continue to work while on the plane despite the US’ ban on electronic devices larger than a smartphone as check in luggage.

What are the tablets? Well, they’ll be Microsoft Surface tablets equipped with Microsoft Office 2016 – customers can download their work onto a USB which can then be plugged straight into the device.

*ALSO: Australia now taking extra precautions on flights from the UAE*

This loaning service will be available on all non-stop flights from Dubai to the USA (but won’t be on offer for those in economy).

The airline has also introduced an electronics handling service so that people can use and retain devices until just before they board. Here’s a video that shows how it works:

Since the ban was implemented on March 25, nearly 8,000 passengers have used the packing service on the airline’s 112 weekly non-stop flights from Dubai to the USA. The service means each device is put in its own box, and then delivered back to passengers at baggage claim in the US.

Remember, the rule does not apply to Emirates’ flights via Milan and Athens to the US. You can read more about the rules here.

Emirates flies to 12 US airports: Newark (EWR), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Orlando (MCO), Chicago (ORD), Boston (BOS), San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Seattle (SEA), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), Washington (IAD) and New York (JFK).


Plenty of frequent flyers in the UAE – particularly those who use long flights to catch up on work – have expressed concern about how they will keep themselves occupied on flights to the US, now that large electronics have been banned from carry-on luggage.

But Dubai-based airline Emirates has revealed it has yet another solution up its sleeve.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Emirates president Tim Clark criticised the ban’s selective targeting of Middle Eastern carriers. He made the point that if laptops were a terror concern, the ban “should be applied to the airline industry universally”.

*ALSO: Emirates’ response on the day of the electronics ban announcement was just perfect*

The TSA directive sees laptops, cameras, Kindles and other large electronics banned from plane cabins on flights from eight Muslim-majority countries.

It particularly disrupts passengers who are required to carry valuable electronics for their work, like camera men, DJs, business travellers with laptops, and musicians.

“We are closely monitoring the business impact of this new security measure,” Clark said last week. “The airline industry is no stranger to new security protocols and, as a global player, we must expect and adjust to these unexpected situations. Emirates is highly resilient.

“Yes, this new security measure is disruptive and operationally challenging in several regards but I am optimistic we will get through this.”

The ban is effective from March 25 until October 14. 

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