While the in-flight electronics ban has the potential to cripple business travelers, three carriers have done their best to mitigate lost productivity and potential theft.
In a speech at Montreal Council on Foreign Relations, IATA Chief Alexandre de Juniac condemned the electronics ban as ineffective and counterproductive, adding, “We call on governments to work with the industry to find a way to keep flying secure without separating passengers from their personal electronics.”
Naturally, I offer my concurrence to that sentiment. But the Trump Administration and May Ministry in the UK have indicated there will be no relaxing of this policy. Thankfully, three airlines are adopting to this policy in ways that certainly help.
Emirates: Gate Check Your Electronic Devices
Emirates is not forcing you to place your prohibited in-flight devices in your checked baggage. Noting that expensive electronics in checked bags are prone to theft and not covered by insurance, this is absolutely essential move.
Instead, the carrier will allow you to gate check your electronic items. Prior to boarding, special agents will be on hand to exchange you laptops and tablets for a claim ticket. The electronics will be sent in a secure storage compartment. Upon landing in your U.S. destination, agents will return your electronic devices.
Qatar: Free Laptops for Premium Customers
Qatar has gone a step further in announcing free laptop rentals for business class customers on U.S.-bound flights. The carrier will also offer 1hr of complimentary internet to all passengers or a reduced price of $5 for the entire flight. I applaud this gesture so much.
Personal files can be transferred using a USB thumb drive. I realize this presents a security vulnerability, but it is better than nothing and I can certainly work on my blog or do Award Expert research without fear of compromising personal information.
Qatar’s eccentric leader, Akbar Al Baker, added this commentary that I cannot help but to share in full–
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said; “As an award-winning and global airline we truly appreciate the importance of being able to work on board our aircraft and that is why I have insisted on offering only the best possible solution for our customers. By providing this laptop loan service we can ensure that our passengers on flights to the US can continue to work whilst on-board. This unique ability to offer ‘business as usual’, above and beyond the competition, is yet another example of Qatar Airways justification for being the ‘World’s Best Business Class’.”
Whilst other airlines have relied on their existing on board offering to comfort passengers we have not rested until we could offer a true solution to our passengers. Our constant innovation and ability to react to changes in the industry is something I am very proud of. The launch of Qsuite, our new business class product just this month, and other announcements soon to come, are testament to our ongoing passion for providing the absolute best for our customers.”
Oh how I love him. Yes Lucky, I can picture him saying this right down to his accent and smirk!
Turkish: Gate Check Your Electronic Devices
Like Emirates, Turkish will gate check your electronic devices. Here’s the official language:
Turkish Airlines introduces its new offerings to make their U.S. and U.K. bound passengers’ journeys more comfortable during the implementation process of the electronics ban that declared by the concerned authorities.
Our passengers will continue to use the on board internet with their mobile phones.
Laptops, tablets and other electronic devices may be used until the boarding gate where they will be handed over.
Our transfer passengers will have to deliver their respective devices at the boarding gate on their arrival in Istanbul.
If passenger prefers not to place his/her electronical devices to the checked baggage during the check-in, according to the amendments, these devices will be handed over to be tagged at the boarding gate for a safe and secure transportation, and will be handed back to the passengers upon arrival at the destination. At this destination there will be Turkish Airlines’ authorized staff who will collect the luggages that contain electronic devices. These staff will take them all to the designated place in baggage reclaim area, and all devices will be delivered to owners by these staff by matching the given luggage tags with the record list they have.
The thought of being disconnected so long is frightening, but I am at least open to flying Emirates, Qatar, or Turkish Airlines despite the in-flight electronics ban due to the proactive measure they have taken to mitigate inconvenience. Etihad’s customer-unfriendly policy, however, means I will not consider flying it.
Final tangential thought. I’m just curious what will happen if a device manages to slip by…will the plane have to divert? Let’s hope we do not have to find out.