With the new ban on large electronic devices on United States-bound flights coming into effect on Saturday, the airlines affected are adopting various ways to help passengers comfortably part with their laptops and tablets. While Emirates Airlines has announced a new laptop and tablet handling service for passengers flying to the US through Dubai International airport, Royal Jordanian decided to makes its fliers laugh instead – suggesting “12 things you can do on a 12-hour flight with no laptop or tablet”.
The service introduced by Emirates will allow people travelling the Dubai-US sector to use their laptops and tablets until just before boarding. They will have security staff to take the devices at the gate just before boarding the flight. The devices will then be packed carefully into boxes, loaded into the aircraft hold, and returned to the passengers at their destination. The service will be free of cost, read a statement issued by the airline.
The airline has also roped in Hollywood actor Jennifer Aniston for a television commercial made to encourage people to use Emirates’ in-flight entertainment system, which has “over 2,500 channels of the latest movies, box sets, live sports and kids TV”.
“Our historical data shows that on Emirates’ US flights, 90% of passengers using our onboard mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity services do so via their smart phones,” Emirates said. “Only 6% connect via their laptops, and 4% via their tablets. That is not to say that other passengers are not using their devices offline, but perhaps the silver lining to this is that they can now justifiably give themselves a break from their devices, enjoy our onboard service and catch up on the latest movies, music, and TV box sets that we have on offer.”
Royal Jordanian, meanwhile, has released several ads on social media with wry suggestions about things people can do to kill time while travelling without a laptop or tablet. These include saying “hello to the person next to you” and “analyse the meaning of life”.
The airports in West Asia that are on the list of 10 airports identified by the Donald Trump administration for the ban are among those that are used frequently by Indians travelling to the US or UK. With the new restrictions in place, Indians can now look forward to Emirates’ services and Royal Jordanian’s sense of humour as a substitute for their electronics.
The electronic ban applies to the “last point of departure airports”. “Transport Security Administration recommends passengers transferring at one of the 10 affected airports place any large personal electronic devices in their checked bags upon check-in at their originating airport,” the directive read.
The restriction was imposed on March 21. The decision was taken to supposedly plug loopholes in aviation security and avoid future terror attacks in the sector. “We have reason to be concerned,” the agency said – but did not address any specific threat,” said the US Department of Homeland Security. “We note that disseminated propaganda from various terrorist groups is encouraging attacks on aviation, to include tactics to circumvent aviation security.”