This Airline Is Letting Passengers Use Banned Electronics Until the Last Second

Mar 23, 2017

Emirates Airlines will allow passengers to carry their laptops and tablets through security and to their gates instead of checking them with their luggage in wake of the Trump administration’s electronics ban.

As a means to lighten the effect of the ban, the Dubai-based airline company will offer a packaging service at the gates of U.S.-bound flights for these electronics. The service makes it so travelers can use their devices up until they board their flights.

“Our aim is to ensure compliance with the new rules, while minimizing disruption to passenger flow and impact on customer experience,” Emirates President Tim Clark said in a statement released Thursday.

He added that the majority of Emirates' passengers — 90% — use their smartphones to connect to onboard WiFi connect. Only 6% connect to the WiFi with their laptops, and 4% do so with their tablets.

The U.S. issued a security directive involving 10 Middle Eastern airports earlier this week — banning all personal electronics larger than a cell phone on U.S.-bound flights. The ban will go into effect March 25.

There was no specific threat that spurred than ban, though the Department of Homeland Security mentioned an incident in which a man detonated an explosive device in a laptop on a Somali passenger jet in February 2016. Such a device could not be used in cell phones, experts reached by TIME have said.

The electronics ban is not permanent, but also does not have a set end date.

Clark urged passengers to think on the bright side about the electronics policy. “Perhaps the silver lining to this is that they can now justifiably give themselves a break from their devices," Clark said.

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