Emirates introduces new laptop handling service for US flights

2017-03-24 06:32 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
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Cape Town - It seems nothing will stand in the way of good service - not even the new US and UK electronics devices ban.

The largest gulf carrier Emriates has introduced a new service to enable customers to use their laptops and tablet devices until just before they board their flights to the US.  

It says, "Emirates customers travelling to the US via Dubai will be able to utilise their laptops and tablet devices on the first part of their journeys, and also during transit in Dubai. They must then declare and hand over their laptops, tablets, and other banned electronic devices to security staff at the gate just before boarding their US-bound flight.

"The devices will be carefully packed into boxes, loaded into the aircraft hold, and returned to the customer at their US destination. There will not be any charge for this service. It added that customers should be aware that there will be a detailed search of all hand baggage on non-stop flights to the US from Dubai. They should therefore declare their devices before the search, or ensure their electronic devices are packed into their check-in luggage in the first instance.

SEE: #ElectronicsBan: How are SA travellers affected?

However, passengers are encouraged to pack their electronic devices into their check-in luggage, to avoid delays.  

Emirates is working to ensure that its operations comply with the latest restrictions on electronic devices in the cabin, for when the rules take effect on 25 March. Emirates will deploy extra staff at the airport to ease and assist passengers, especially in the first days of the new rules being implemented.

SEE: Turkey pushes back on US and UK #ElectronicsBan - offficial

From Saturday, 25 March, travellers on non-stop flights to the US from Dubai International airport (DXB) will not be allowed to carry any electronic device larger than a cell phone or smartphone, excluding medical devices, into the aircraft cabin. Travellers must pack these electronic devices in their checked-in baggage.

This new security directive, issued by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), applies to all passengers travelling on non-stop flights to the US from Dubai, including those in transit.  It does not apply to passengers travelling on Emirates’ US-bound flights via Milan and Athens, or Emirates flights to/from any other destination.  

Who needs electronics anyway

The UAE-based airline Emirates has also released a short clip poking fun at the imminent ban of electronics in flight cabins, saying that passengers on board their flights don't need electronics anyway... The Hollywood actress Jennifer Aniston even stars in their little marketing stunt! 

And if anyone has bragging rights on in-flight entertainment, it's Emirates. The airline was recently named, by passengers voting in the Skytrax Awards, as the airline with the Best Inflight Entertainment for 12 years running.

The award recognises airlines delivering the best choice and quality of inflight entertainment, and with due regard to the global nature of air travel. From the choice and currency of movies, TV programmes, music and games through to the availability and functionality of onboard wifi, this is about honouring those airlines that seek to deliver a fantastic experience to their passengers. 

Check it out Emirates' quirky video about the #ElectronicsBan - 

SEE: #ElectronicsBan makes theft, damage to property a greater risk - ASATA

Regardless of Emirates' tongue-in-cheek video, the ban of electronics in flight cabins is causing global panic for travellers. 

According to Otto de Vries, CEO of the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA), the ban will make travellers more vulnerable to theft and damage to property. 

He says that while the association "supports any initiatives to improve the safety and security of travellers and the destinations that they visit, the reasons behind these new rules have not been made clear, other than to say that they have been put in place ‘based on the current threat picture’." 

Airlines have also stated to push back against the ban. South African Airways put travellers at ease by issuing a statement saying they have not imposed a general ban on the use or carriage of electronic devices on board its flights as the airline has not received any directive from US Department of Transportation or the Federal Aviation Administration to restrict or ban usage of electronic devices on board its aircraft.

According to SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali, “Customers may continue to use and enjoy their devices in our cabins except for those electronic devices that have specifically been prohibited on board and public/customer notifications to that effect have been made." 

SEE: #ElectronicsBan: SAA US flights unaffected

Most recently also, a senior official said that Turkey is taking steps to keep Istanbul's main airport and its national carrier, Turkish Airlines, outside of the scope of new aviation restrictions imposed by the United States and Britain.

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#ElectronicsBan makes theft, damage to property a greater risk - ASATA