- Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways is taking on the US government’s ban on large electronics with a rather ingenious solution: loaner laptops.
On Thursday, the Doha, Qatar-based airline announced that business-class passengers aboard its flights to the US would have access to loaner laptops beginning next week.
“By providing this laptop loan service we can ensure that our passengers on flights to the US can continue to work whilst on-board,” Qatar Airways Group’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said in a statement.
“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.'”
In addition, business-class passengers will have access to complimentary Wi-Fi.
Qatar Airways has not announced which type of laptops will be available.
The loaner program will not be available to economy-class passengers. At the same time, Qatar Airways has moved toward a two-cabin class configuration, which means the airline’s flights to the US operate without a first-class cabin.
The laptop program is the latest reaction by one of the nine airlines affected by the US laptop ban. The policy, which took effect Saturday, prohibits passengers flying to the US from some airports in the Middle East and North Africa from carrying-on electronics bigger than a smartphone. The US government has said it introduced the policy in response to fears that terrorists could hide explosives within electronics, though it has not mentioned any imminent plots.
- Qatar Airways
While all of the affected carriers have made it clear they plan to comply with the ban, they have also come up with a series of ways to work around the US government’s new policy.
On Wednesday, the Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates-based Etihad Airways announced that it would offer first- and business-class passengers free Wi-Fi and loaner iPads on US-bound flights beginning Saturday.
Earlier this week, Turkish Airlines announced on Twitter that passengers who turned in their laptops and tablets at boarding would receive free Wi-Fi on board. Last week, Emirates implemented a laptop handling program allowing passengers getting on US-bound flights to have access to their laptop until boarding. The Dubai, UAE-based carrier has also hinted that it may offer loaner laptops.
According to Emirates’ president, Tim Clark, the US government’s laptop ban has created logistical challenges for the airline and the airports that handle its flights. Thus far, the short-term effects have not been as dire as anticipated, while its long-term effects won’t be clear for some time, Clark told Business Insider. Not having access to laptops, however, is still an inconvenience to the carrier’s passengers.