If you really need to work during your flight from Dubai to the US, which is a problem seeing as all electronic devices that are bigger than a cell phone are not permitted inside the cabin due to a recent order from the USA, you’d normally be out of luck. Unless you’re flying business class on Emirates airlines. In that case, the company will loan you a Microsoft Surface tablet according to a press release put out by the company:
Emirates has introduced another service to mitigate the inconvenience of the recent ban on electronic devices on board US-bound flights. Beginning today, First and Business Class passengers will be able to borrow tablets on board Emirates’ US-bound flights allowing them to continue working during their flight.
The new service is in response to the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) directive which requires all passengers travelling on non-stop flights to the US from Dubai to check-in their laptops, tablets, and other personal electronic devices larger than a smart phone.
As part of this latest service, Emirates premium customers will have Microsoft Surface tablets equipped with Microsoft Office 2016 available for loan on board. Customers can download their work on to a USB which can be brought on board and plugged into the devices to continue working seamlessly.
The service is complimentary and will be available on all non-stop flights from Dubai to Emirates’ US destinations.
And for those who are worried about what will happen to their laptop when it’s checked, they’ve got that covered too:
For customers who prefer to stow away their personal devices and simply enjoy the award winning inflight entertainment and service on board, Emirates had introduced a laptop and tablet handling service for US-bound customers. This complimentary service has been made available to passengers in all cabin classes since 25 March 2017, which was when the new TSA rules took effect.
This service allows customers to retain and utilise their personal devices until just before they board their US-bound flights. Passengers must then declare and hand over their laptops, tablets, and other banned electronic devices to security staff at the boarding gate, who will pack and tag each device to be stored in the aircraft hold and returned to the customer at their US destination.
Watch a video on how Emirates’ handling service works here.
Clearly, airlines that are affected by the electronics ban are finding ways around it so that they don’t lose customers who will fly via other other hubs such as London or Frankfurt just so that they can avoid the electronics ban, or just avoid flying to those Middle East altogether. Expect other airlines to copy this move in whole or in part.