Airlines and Aviation
UPDATE: The United States is considering increasing the number of airports affected by the ban on large electronics in carry-on luggage because of a perceived "real threat", the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says.
- Saudi Arabia;
- United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)
Three airlines affected by the ban will loan laptops to Business and First Class passengers flying from airports in the Persian Gulf to the U.S. in light of the electronics ban affecting flights from several North African and Mid-Eastern counties.
No U.S. air carriers are affected by the ban because no U.S. airlines flight non-stop to the United States from the eight countries involved.
Qatar Airways was the first airline to announce plans to loan laptop computers to Business Class passengers flying to the United States in light of the Electronics Ban, which affects flights from several countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Passengers flying Business Class are able to download their data on to a USB at the gate before they get on board the plane.
Their own laptops are then checked. They will be returned after deplaning at their travel destination in the United States.
Loaned laptops are made available to Business Class passengers after they have boarded their US-bound flight.
Qatar Airways currently flies to the following cities in the United States:
- Atlanta, Georgia;
- Boston, Massachusetts;
- Chicago, Illinois;
- Dallas/Fort Worth;
- Houston, Texas;
- Los Angeles, California;
- Miami, Florida;
- New York, New York;
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and
- Washington DC.
- The airline will launch service to Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2017.
The complimentary laptops are available to Business Class passengers traveling on all US-bound flights from its hub at Doha.
All passengers – including passengers flying Economy Class – on Qatar Airways US-bound flights are able to check prohibited electronic items at the gate. They will be tagged, loaded as check-in baggage, and returned to the passengers after they arrive at their travel destination in the United States.
Rival Carriers Follow Suite
Two Rival Gulf air carrier have followed suite. The first was Etihad Airways, which quickly announced a similar service for First and Business Class passengers flying to the United States.
Etihad Airways is the second largest carrier based in the U.A.E. The airline maintains a hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport in Abu Dhabi. With a fleet of 123 aircraft, it flies to more than 90 travel destinations around the world.
Emirates Airline lagged behind its two Persian Gulf rivals, announcing plans to launch a similar service more than one week later.
The airline had previously said it would keep their First and Business Class passengers connected as long as possible at the gate.
Emirates Airline is the largest air carrier based in the United Arab Emirates. The airline maintains a hub at Dubai International Airport in Dubai. With a fleet of 256 airplanes, it flies to 152 travel destinations around the world.
The airline flies to the following travel destinations in the United States: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
The airline operates two U.S. bound flights by way of Milan, Italy, and Athens, Greece. These flights are not affected by the ban.
Flights from the United States to North Africa and the Middle East are not affected by the ban.
Chief Executive Speaks Out
“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,” says Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker.
“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’.”
Once on board, passengers have a choice of over 3,000 entertainment options on the airline’s in-flight entertainment system and use complimentary Wi-Fi on all flights.
In another move to guarantee the comfort and productivity of all passengers on board US-bound flights Qatar Airways is providing one hour of free Wi-Fi for all passengers and a special Wi-Fi package of US$5 to stay connected for the duration of the whole flight.
When most people’s smart phones will be the only device they can take on-board this generous offer will ensure passengers can stay connected and stay entertained.
Airline of the Year
Qatar Airways has long be recognized for its outstanding service in Business Class. The Doha-based air carrier was name Airline of the Year on 25 March at the 2017 Air Transport Awards, which were held at the Latrou Residence in Ekali, Greece.
"We are deeply honored to have been recognized by the readers of Air Transport News as the 2017 Airline of the Year,” Akbar Al Baker says.
“We take immense pride in driving our airline to be the best in the industry and to deliver our passengers an unprecedented on-board experience.
"To receive acknowledgement from the loyal passengers who choose to fly with Qatar Airways is the highest honor for us to achieve and pushes us to work even harder to provide them with the level of commitment, service and attention to detail that they deserve every time they travel."
The airline recently announced plans to launch double-bed suites in its Business Class cabins.
Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the center four seats allow colleagues, friends or families traveling together to transform their space into a private suite, allowing them to work, dine, and socialize together.
With a fleet of 195 airplanes, the rapidly expanding airline currently flies to 150 business and leisure travel destinations on six continents.