Emirates explores options for passengers hit by US laptop ban

Airline may offer loaner laptops as it looks for ways to work around the ban

The US prohibits travellers on flights from 10 Middle Eastern airports from bringing large electronics into the aircraft cabin. Photograph: iStock

The US prohibits travellers on flights from 10 Middle Eastern airports from bringing large electronics into the aircraft cabin. Photograph: iStock

 

Emirates may offer passengers loaner laptops as the world’s biggest long-haul carrier seeks to soften the blow from a US ban on electronics in airplane cabins.

The Dubai-based airline may explore “creative” ways to work around the ban if it remains in place over the long term, president Tim Clark said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. That could include providing government-approved laptops that “can be used in-flight to help people do what they need to do in the absence of devices that are in the hold”.

Routes to the US could also be at risk if travellers book with rivals. If customer demand diminishes due to “whatever actions the United States government takes, we will have to adjust accordingly, that’s just good business”, he said.

Under a rule that came into effect on Saturday, the US prohibits travellers on flights from 10 Middle Eastern airports, including Dubai, from bringing large electronics into the aircraft cabin. The UK partially followed, but didn’t target Persian Gulf hubs. The ban deals an additional blow to the likes of Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways after US president Donald Trump earlier this year restricted citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.

Bookings

Mr Clark was critical of the selective targeting of the ban, saying if there’s a risk that laptops can be used during flights for terrorist activity, then the restriction “should be applied to the airline industry universally”, he said.

After Mr Trump’s initial travel ban, Emirates said the rate of bookings growth to the US dropped. The latest policy won’t “help” demand for Emirates’ 18 flights a day to the US, Mr Clark said, adding that a true assessment of the ban’s impact will come next month as travellers plan summer trips.

Still, no changes are planned yet, and Emirates expects “robust demand” on its new Athens-Newark route this year, which will be exempt from the US order. While there have been some difficulties on the US side, the first 48 hours of the ban’s implementation, including allowing passengers to use laptops up until boarding, have proceeded without customer complaints, according to the Emirates chief.

“So far, so good,” he said, echoing comments from rival Abu Dhabi-based Etihad. “It’s still early days, we have to see what the next few months will bring us.”

– Bloomberg

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.