Qatar and Etihad Airways Are Loaning Free Laptops and Tablets to Some U.S.-Bound Passengers
Complimentary laptops are being loaned out to some Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways passengers as the Gulf-based carriers’ attempt to mitigate the effects of a U.S.-imposed cabin ban on most electronic devices on inbound flights.
The new rules apply to 10 airports in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, including the United Arab Emirates—where Etihad is based—and Qatar. The regulations prohibit laptops and other electronics that exceed the size of a mobile phone from being carried as hand luggage on airplanes, Reuters reports.
Qatar Airways said it will distribute laptops to its business class passengers from next week. The laptops will reportedly be given out at the gate, and passengers’ devices will be collected and stowed with checked-in luggage.
An email sent out to Etihad frequent flyer members on Tuesday said passengers flying business or first class would also be offered tablets with unlimited Wi-Fi, Reuters reports. On Monday, Emirates President Tim Clark said that the Dubai-based carrier was considering similar measures.
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Some airlines have responded creatively to the restrictions, which are prompted by fears that militant groups could use consumer electronics to smuggle explosive devices into airplane cabins. Last week, Royal Jordanian Airlines posited a list of 12 things to do on a 12-hour flight with no laptop or tablet. It included appreciating the miracle of flight and engaging in “primitive dialogue from the pre-internet era.”