Cape Town - International airlines affected by the US and UK's ban of electronics in flight cabins have resorted to quick, creative solutions to circumvent the inconvenience to travellers.
In the latest move, Qatar airways has announced that they are now handing out laptops and iPads for passengers to use in their business class cabins for the duration of the flight - for free!
"By providing this laptop loan service we can ensure that our passengers on flights to the US can continue to work whilst on-board," the Doha-based airline said in an official statement.
The complimentary laptops will be available to Business Class passengers travelling on all US-bound flights from next week and can be collected after boarding. Customers will have to download their work to a USB before stepping on board, and hand in the laptops at the end of the flight.
Fellow Gulf carrier Emirates is considering a similar initiative to keep business passengers working on board, despite the ban. Emirates, however, on the day of the #ElectronicsBan implementation, launched a laptop-handling service to accommodate passengers in all class cabins.
SEE: Emirates introduces new laptop handling service for US flights
Following in Emirates' footsteps, Qatar then also launched this special service at the gate for all passengers, whereby any electronic items prohibited by the new ban are collected and securely packaged.
These devices are tagged, loaded as check-in baggage and returned safely to the customer on arrival to the US.
Turkish Airlines are yet to implement an alternative rule for device check-ins, but told passengers that they can use their laptops until they board. "Laptops, tablets and other electronic devices may be used until the boarding gate where they will be handed over" to the airline's staff, Turkish Airlines said in a statement.
SEE: Turkish Airlines implements new laptop rule as #ElectronicsBan comes into effect
Following the implementation of the ban, the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) spoke out in concern saying that the ban makes theft, damage to property a greater risk.
SEE: #ElectronicsBan makes theft, damage to property a greater risk - ASATA
Some airlines, however, has used the inconvenience as a marketing stunt. The UAE-based airline Emirates, just when the ban was announced, released a short clip poking fun at the ban, saying that passengers on board their flights don't need electronics anyway... The Hollywood actress Jennifer Aniston even stars in their little marketing stunt!
Washington issued a ban on electronic devices larger than mobile phones on direct flights to the United States from 10 airports in seven Middle Eastern countries and Turkey, only allowing them to be in hold luggage. Britain followed with a similar ban from five countries from the Middle East and northern Africa as well as Turkey.
The US ban affects around 50 flights per day from nine airlines, including, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways. The British ban affects 14 airlines, including British Airways, EasyJet, Thomas Cook and Turkish Airlines.
What to read next on Traveller24:
- US #ElectronicsBan on flights: What travellers need to know
- Emirates introduces new laptop handling service for US flights
- Turkish Airlines implements new laptop rule as #ElectronicsBan comes into effect