Emirates will let passengers keep laptops until boarding to reduce hassle of US electronics ban

Raf Sanchez
The plan will let passengers use electronics as they wait to board and on flights before their final flight to US - Jeremy Bales/Bloomberg News

Emirates Airline is hoping to minimise the impact of the US electronics ban by allowing customers to hand over their laptops and tablets as they board the plane, rather than putting them in checked luggage when they first reach the airport. 

The Gulf airline said their plan would allow travelers to use their electronics inside the airport while they wait to board and mean they could use them on all legs of the trip leading up to their final flight to the US.

For example, passengers flying from Asia to Dubai and then on to the US could keep their gadgets with them for the first leg of the journey and only hand them over as they boarded the plane for America. 

The decision, which was announced by Emirates’ British president Tim Clark, will likely be a relief for business travelers who usually work during the long flight to the US.

"We are working on a solution that will enable our passengers to utilise their electronic devices up to the last possible moment – whereby they hand their laptops or tablets into our care just before boarding the US bound flight," Mr Clark told the National.

"These will then be stowed in the cargo hold and returned to the passengers when the flight lands in the US."

The Trump administration announced the ban this week Credit: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images

The US ban has been applied to flights from Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Morocco.

The UK has imposed a similar ban but it does not cover Qatar or the UAE, where Emirates is based at Dubai airport. 

Mr Clark questioned why Dubai was included in the American ban, given the sophisticated security systems in place at the airport, which is the world’s busiest hub for international travel. 

"I do find that a little bit surprising to be quite honest," he said. "When I travel around even the United States or Europe or Asia, I don't see this level of scrutiny that goes on in Dubai."

He joked that business travelers should look on the bright side of the ban. "For once I don't have to bang out all the emails," he said. "I've got a perfect excuse to say to the boss, 'I couldn't do any work because of the ban.'"

The US ban will come into force on Saturday morning and is scheduled to last indefinitely. 

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