Qatar Airways and Etihad beat US electronics ban with laptop and iPad rental service

Hyacinth Mascarenhas
Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways have responded to the recent in-flight ban on electronics by offering affected passengers free loaner laptops and iPads.

As per the Trump administration order, all laptops, tablets, cameras, portable DVD players, gaming devices and kindles have to be checked into cargo luggage on all US-bound flights from Amman, Kuwait City, Cairo, Istanbul, Jeddah, Riyadh, Casablanca, Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

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On Thursday (30 March), Qatar Airways announced that it would offer its business class passengers complimentary loaner laptops on all of its US-bound flights starting next week. Passengers will be able to collect the laptops after boarding.

The airlines did not specify the brand of the loaner devices or the software.

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It will also offer one hour of free Wi-Fi for all passengers as well as a special $5 package for users to stay connected throughout the flight.

"We truly appreciate the importance of being able to work on board our aircraft," Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a statement. "By providing this laptop loan service we can ensure that our passengers on flights to the US can continue to work whilst on-board."

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Rival carrier Etihad Airways recently announced a similar workaround offering first and business class passengers free Wi-Fi and loaner iPads on US-bound flights leaving from Abu Dhabi from 2 April. Premium class travellers will also receive vouchers providing free Wi-Fi for the duration of the flight.

Last week, Emirates Airlines unveiled its own free "laptop and tablet handling service" that lets travellers use their devices right until boarding, after which they have to hand them over to the security staff. The devices will be returned to the passengers upon arrival in the US.

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